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"Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits."

—Saint Isaac the Syrian

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Mon 3rd Aug 2015

Today's readings
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
1 Corinthians 15:12-19

The Risen Christ, Our Hope

12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.

14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise.

16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.

17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Gospel: Matthew 21:18-22
Matthew 21:18-22

The Fig Tree Withered

18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.

19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered away.

The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree

20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?"

21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.

22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Saint of the Day

Isaacius Faustus Theocleto 3rd Aug
Sts Isaacius, Dalmatus, and Faustus, Ascetics of the Dalmation Monastery

Sts Isaacius, Dalmatus, and Faustus were Abbots of the Dalmation monastery. St Isaacius, who is also commemorated on May 30, became a monk at an early age and was a worker of every virtue; a zealot for the Orthodox Faith, he was also deemed worthy of the gift of prophecy. The Saint dwelt in a small hut near Constantinople. When Valens the Arian marched against the Goths, who were at the Danube River, this righteous one went out himself to meet the Emperor and, taking in hand the reins of the Emperor's horse, said to him with boldness that God had incited the barbarians to come against him. The reason was because the Emperor incited many to speak against God in blasphemy, and had driven God's true worshippers out of the divine houses of prayer. Furthermore, he told him, if he ceased fighting against God by means of heresy and returned the good shepherds (that is, the Orthodox Bishops) to the flock of Christ, he would easily gain the victory over his enemies.

However, if he did not desist from these things, or have God as his ally, at the very outset of the battle both he and his army would certainly be destroyed. "Learn from experience", he said, "that it is hard to kick against the pricks. You shall not return, and this expedition will be destroyed", But the Emperor became angry and had the righteous one locked in prison that he might punish him and put him to death on his return after he conquered the barbarians. But he was utterly defeated and was burned alive in a certain village in the year 378 AD. When his surviving soldiers returned from the war, wishing to tempt the Saint, they came to him and said, "Prepare to make your defence before the Emperor, who is coming to fulfil what he spoke against you". However, the Saint answered, "It has already been seven days that I smelled the stink of his bones, which were burned in the fire".

Thus the righteous one was released from prison. All marvelled because of his prophecy, and he became even more wondrous by means of the zeal he displayed in behalf of Orthodoxy in 381 AD, when the Second Ecumenical Council was convoked. After this, a monastery was built in Constantinople for him, and he piously shepherded those struggling with him in asceticism. Having served as an example of the monastic life for them, he reposed in peace about the end of the fourth century, leaving Dalmatus as his successor.

Saint Dalmatus was at first a soldier in the second division of the soldiers known as the Scholarii. Later, however, he forsook all things and taking his son Faustus, went to the above-mentioned monastery of Saint Isaacius, where he donned the monastic habit. Through his virtue, he became venerable in the sight of all. He was present at the Third Ecumenical Council that was convoked in Ephesus in 431, and there displayed his zeal for Orthodoxy against Nestorius. The Council elected him Archimandrite of the monasteries in Constantinople. Having lived for more than eighty years, he reposed in the Lord.

St Faustus, like his father, was a great ascetic and particularly excelled at fasting. After the death of his father, Faustus became Abbot of the monastery.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Your mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion (Second Tone)

With hymns let us extol Isaacius, Dalmatus, and Faustus as Christ's servants, who shone forth brilliantly in asceticism in the world, and overturned the heresies by faith; for they cry out in behalf of us all. (read more)

Also celebrating:

Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer

Theoctistus the Wonderworker

His Eminence

On the occasion of the New Year, I wish to share with you certain simple thoughts. … (read more)


The Greek Australian Vema — available now online in Greek and English.
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