11th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 2. Afterfeast of the Dormition. Prophet Samuel (11th c. B.C.)
Tone 2 Troparion (Resurrection)
When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, You slew hell with the splendor of Your Godhead. And when from the depths You raised the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out:// “O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory to You!”
Tone 1 Troparion (Feast)
In giving birth you preserved your virginity. In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated to life O Mother of Life,// and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.
Tone 4 Troparion (St. Nicholas)
The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of meekness and a teacher of self-control; your humility exalted you; y0our poverty enriched you.// O Father Bishop Nicholas, pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Tone 2 Troparion (Prophet Samuel)
We celebrate the memory of Your prophet Samuel, O Lord; through him we beseech You://“Save our souls!”
Tone 2 Kontakion (Resurrection)
Hell became afraid, O almighty Savior, seeing the miracle of Your Resurrection from the tomb! The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with You,// and the world, my Savior, praises You forever.
Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Nicholas)
You proved yourself to be be a holy priest, O Nicholas. You served God in Myra and lived the gospel of Christ. You offered your life for your people, And rescued the innocent from death. Therefore God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 8 Kontakion (Prophet Samuel)
You were a precious gift given to God before your conception. You served Him like an angel from your infancy, O blessed one. You were granted the charism to announce beforehand future things.// Therefore, we cry to you: “Rejoice, Samuel, Prophet of God and great high priest.”
Tone 2 Kontakion (Feast)
Neither the tomb, nor death, could hold the Theotokos, who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions. For being the Mother of Life,// she was translated to life by the One Who dwelt in her virginal womb.
Tone 2 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
The Lord is my strength and my song; / He has become my salvation. (Ps. 117:14)
V. The Lord has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death. (Ps. 117:18)
Tone 3 Prokeimenon (Song of the Theotokos)
My soul magnifies the Lord, / and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. (Lk. 1:46-47)
1 Corinthians 9:2-12 (Epistle)
If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! (Ps. 19:1)
V. Save the King, O Lord, and hear us on the day we call! (Ps. 19:9)
V. Arise, O Lord, into Your rest, You and the Ark of Your sanctification! (Ps. 131:8)
V. The mouth of the righteous shall proclaim wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment. (Ps. 36:31)
Matthew 18:23-35 (Gospel)
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
The Prophet Samuel was the fifteenth and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophim of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought from the Lord through the prayers of his mother Hannah (therefore he received the name Samuel, which means “besought from God”). Even before birth, he was dedicated to God. Her song, “My heart exults in the Lord,” is the third Old Testament ode of the Canon (1 Sam/1 Kings 2:1-10).
When the boy reached the age of three, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow dedicated him to the worship of God. She gave him into the care of the High Priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over Israel. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and at twelve years of age he had a revelation that God would punish the house of the High Priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons. Eli’s whole family was wiped out in a single day.
The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them Hophni and Phinees, the sons of Eli the High Priest), gained victory and captured the Ark of the Covenant. Hearing this, the High Priest Eli fell backwards from his seat at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 4: 22).
Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative. After returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities that the Philistines had taken. In his old age, the Prophet Samuel made his sons Joel and Abiah judges over Israel, but they did not follow the integrity and righteous judgment of their father, since they were motivated by greed.
Then the elders of Israel, wanting the nation of God to be “like other nations” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that they have a king. The Prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king, but saw in this a downfall of the people, whom God Himself had governed until this time, announcing His will through “judges,” His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people if they consented to his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him.
After denouncing the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed David as king. He had offered David asylum, saving him from the pursuit of King Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam/1 Kgs; Sirach 46:13-20).
In the year 406 A.D. the relics of the Prophet Samuel were transferred from Judea to Constantinople.
Prof. George Mantzaridis
In the hymnography of the Orthodox Church, the Mother of God is called “god after God, holding the second position to the Trinity.” Some people may feel that these terms are excessive and dogmatically unfounded. This is certainly not the case, since they convey the quintessence of Orthodox theology and anthropology.
The Mother of God isn’t merely the first but also the only person who effectively collaborated in the execution of the redemptive plan of the divine economy. She’s the only “agent of blessings beyond nature.” Her response to the Archangel Gabriel’s salutation was the beginning of the ontological process for the salvation and renewal of the human race and the whole of creation.
Human “collaboration” which is, in essence, the starting-point for Orthodox dogmatic teaching, isn’t just a moral but also an ontological requirement for our salvation. God doesn’t save us without our “collaboration”, that is, our cooperation. Our free consent to and participation in this task are a requirement, and this is fulfilled with the collaboration of the Mother of God in the plan of the divine economy. Without the presence of the Mother of God and her overall participation in the plan of the divine economy, the salvation and renewal of the world would have remained up in the air. As Saint Nicholas Cabasilas observes, just as it was Christ’s will to become man, so it was necessary for the Virgin to become his mother with her freely-given consent.