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"Each of us must bear the weaknesses of others. Who is perfect? Who can boast that he has kept himself undefiled? Hence, we are all sick, and whoever condemns his brother does not realize that he himself is sick, because a sick person does not condemn another sick person."

—Geronta Ephraim of Philotheou

News & Events

Sat 2nd Aug 2014

Today's readings
Epistle: Acts 6:8-7:60
Acts 6:8-7:60

Stephen Accused of Blasphemy

8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.

10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

11 Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."

12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.

13 They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law;

14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."

15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.

Acts 7

Stephen's Address: The Call of Abraham

1 Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

2 And he said, "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

3 and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'

4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.

5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

7 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.'

8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

The Patriarchs in Egypt

9 "And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him

10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.

12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to the Pharaoh.

14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people.

15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers.

16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

God Delivers Israel by Moses

17 "But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt

18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph.

19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live.

20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months.

21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son.

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

23 "Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian.

25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.

26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?'

27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?

28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?'

29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.

30 "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.

31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,

32 saying, 'I am the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and dared not look.

33 'Then the LORD said to him, "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.

34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt."'

35 "This Moses whom they rejected, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?' is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.

36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

Israel Rebels Against God

37 "This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.'

38 "This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,

39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,

40 saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'

41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

      ' Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
      O house of Israel?

43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
      And the star of your god Remphan,
      Images which you made to worship;
      And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.'

God's True Tabernacle

44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,

45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David,

46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.

47 But Solomon built Him a house.

48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

49 ' Heaven is My throne,
      And earth is My footstool.
      What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,
      Or what is the place of My rest?

50 Has My hand not made all these things?'

Israel Resists the Holy Spirit

51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."

Stephen the Martyr

54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;

58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Gospel: Mark 12:1-12
Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.

2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers.

3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.

4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.

5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some.

6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, 'They will respect my son.'

7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'

8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 "Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.

10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

      ' The stone which the builders rejected
      Has become the chief cornerstone.

11 This was the LORD's doing,
      And it is marvelous in our eyes'?"

12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.


Saint of the Day

Translation of the Relics of Stephen the Protomartyr 2nd Aug
Translation of the Relics of St Stephen the Protomartyr

After the First Martyr had been stoned to death (commemorated December 27), Gamaliel, his teacher, encouraged certain of the Christians to go by night and take up the Saint's body and bury it in his field, which was at a distance of some 30 kilometres from Jerusalem and was called by his name, "Kaphar-gamala", that is, "the field of Gamala," where Gamaliel himself was later buried.

About the year 427 AD, a certain pious man called Lucian, who was the parish priest of a church near to that field, received from God a revelation in a dream concerning the place where the First Martyr was buried. He immediately made this known to John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Thus, coming to the place indicated, and digging there, they found a box with the word "Stephen" in Aramaic letters. On opening it, they took these most sacred relics and transferred them to Jerusalem with great honour and in the company of a very great multitude of the faithful.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

For the struggles you endured for Christ God, a royal diadem crowns your head, O First Champion of Martyrs. For you refuted the folly of the Jews and beheld your Saviour on the right of the Father. Ever beseech Him, therefore, for our souls.

Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

You were the first to be sown upon earth by the Heavenly Husbandman, O all-famed Stephen; you were the first to shed your blood upon the earth for Christ, O blessed one; you were the first to be honoured by Him with the crown of victory in Heaven, as the spearhead of the athletes, O first crowned champion of the Martyrs. (read more)

Also celebrating:

Holy Glorious New Martyr Theodore of Dardanelles

Phocas the Martyr

His Eminence

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

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Calendar

28 Mon

Our Righteous Father Paul of Xiropotamos

Irene the Righteous of Chrysovalantou

Prochoros,Nicanor,Timon & Parmenas the Apostles of the 70

29 Tue

Martyr Kallinikos of Asia Minor

Seraphima the Virgin-martyr of Antioch

Theodote and her Children

Constantine III, Patriarch of Constantinople

30 WedStrict Fast

Silas & Silvanos the Apostles of the 70

Julitta of Caesaria

31 Thu

Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea

Eudokimos the Righteous of Cappadocia

1 FriStrict Fast

The Holy Seven Maccabees

St Elessa the Martyr

Timothy the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Priconissus

2 Sat

Translation of the Relics of St Stephen the Protomartyr

Holy Glorious New Martyr Theodore of Dardanelles

Phocas the Martyr

3 Sun

Sts Isaacius, Dalmatus, and Faustus, Ascetics of the Dalmation Monastery

Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer

Theoctistus the Wonderworker