31ST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 6. New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, and Martyr Agathangelus (312).
Tone 6 Troparion (Resurrection)
The Angelic Powers were at Your tomb;
the guards became as dead men.
Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure body.
You captured hell, not being tempted by it.
You came to the Virgin, granting life.
O Lord, Who rose from the dead,// glory to You.
Tone 2 Troparion (Forefathers)
Through faith You justified the Forefathers,
betrothing through them the Church of the gentiles.
These saints exult in glory,
for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit:
she who bore You without seed.//
So by their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us!
Tone 4 Troparion (New Martyrs)
Today the Church of Russia forms a chorus in joy, praising her new martyrs and confessors; hierarchs and priests, royal passion-bearers, right-believing princes and princesses, venerable men and women, and all Orthodox Christians. Having laid down their life for faith in Christ during the days of godless persecution, they preserved the truth by the shedding of blood.// By their protection, O long-suffering Lord, preserve our land in Orthodoxy till the end of the age.
Tone 6 Kontakion (Resurrection)
When Christ God, the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race.// He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and the God of all.
Tone 3 Kontakion (New Martyrs) (Today the Virgin)
Today the new martyrs of Rus’ stand in white robes before the Lamb of God, and with the angels they sing to God the hymn of victory: “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and praise, and honor, and power, and strength be to our God// unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
Tone 6 Kontakion (Steadfast Protectress)
Steadfast Protectress of Christians, Constant Advocate before the Creator; Do not despise the cries of us sinners, but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
O Lord, save Your people, / and bless Your inheritance! (Ps. 27:9a)
V. To You, O Lord, will I call. O my God, be not silent to me! (Ps. 27:1a)
Tone 7 Prokeimenon (New Martyrs)
God is our refuge and strength, / a help in afflictions that severely befall us. (Ps. 45:1)
1 Timothy 1:15-17 (Epistle)
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Romans 8:28-39 (New Martyrs)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the heavenly God. (Ps. 90:1)
V. He will say to the Lord: “My Protector and my Refuge; my God, in Whom I trust.”(Ps. 90:2)
V. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them and delivered them out of all their troubles. (Ps. 33:17)
Prayer Before the Gospel
Illumine our hearts, O Master and Lover of mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Your Gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing to You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto You do we send up glory, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Luke 18:35-43 (Gospel)
Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Luke 21:8-19 (New Martyrs)
And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He, ’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. “But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. “Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; “for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 “But not a hair of your head shall be lost. “By your patience possess your souls.”
We call the Lord “God,” but in reality we have our own gods. This is why we don’t do the will of God, but submit to the will and desires of our flesh, our heart and our passions. Our gods are our flesh, entertainments, money and vanities.
— Saint John of Kronstadt
If a misunderstanding occurs among us, each nun (or Christian) involved should say to her/himself: ‘Hold on, are you so imperturbable, so without passions, so without faults, that it’s right for you to judge others? Why not forgive the other person, why not be kind to them?’. The misunderstanding’s resolved straight away. This is why it needs compassion, it requires pain.
— Abbess Macrina, Holy Monastery of the Guide, Portaria
Through constant repentance and asceticism, Christians seek to overcome the sin and egotism which riddle society. The more we’re cleansed of our passions, the more we acquire the possibility of real communion with God and with other human persons.
— Elder Georgios Kapsanis
Of course, good works are not of value when ‘they fall as crumbs from our table’. You don’t give alms from the surplus you have, but from something which will cost you a little. Alms-giving also means hardship and effort. This is why, when Christ saw the widow’s mite, he said: ‘She has put more than anyone into the treasury’. Others put in what they had to spare, but for her it was as if she put in everything she owned, since that was all she had. It’s a good thing if good works involve effort and sacrifice.
— Metropolitan Athanasios Limassol
The morning service of the Church is called Matins. It opens with the reading of six morning psalms and the intoning of the Great Litany. After this, verses of Psalm 118 are sung:
“God is the Lord and has revealed himself unto us.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The Troparion is then sung and, if it be a monastery, various groups of psalms which differ each day are read. Once again there are hymns on the theme of the particular day. On major feast days, special praises and psalms are sung, which on the Lord’s Day sing of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. On major feasts and on Sundays, the Gospel is also read.
After the Gospel there is a long intercessory prayer followed by a set of hymns and readings called the Canon. These songs are based on the Old Testamental canticles and conclude with the song of Mary, the so-called Magnificat (Lk 1.46–55). The Great Doxology is chanted followed by the morning litanies. The troparion is also repeated once again before the congregation is dismissed to begin the activities of the day.
The Matins service of the Church unites the elements of morning psalmody and prayer with meditation on the Biblical canticles, the Gospel reading, and the particular theme of the day in the given verses and hymns. The themes of God’s revelation and light are also always central to the morning service of the Church. Sometimes, particularly in churches of the Russian tradition, the Matins and the Vespers services are combined to form a long vigil service. On special feast days, the blessing of bread, wheat, wine, and oil is added to the Vespers, even when it is served separately from Matins. The faithful partake of the blessed food and are anointed with the oil as a sign of God’s mercy and grace.