February 9, 2016
Saint James’ Universal Letter 3:1-10
Prokeimenon. Grave Mode. Psalm 63.11,1
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.
Brethren, let not many of you become teachers, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue – a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.
The Gospel according to Saint Mark 6:1-7
At that time, Jesus came to his own country; and his disciples followed him. And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
READING FROM THE LIFE OF NICEPHOROS THE MARTYR OF ANTIOCH
This Martyr, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienus, about the year 260. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian priest named Sapricius was turned to bitter hatred. , repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricius, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienus, Sapricius was seized as a Christian. When Saint Nicephoros learned that Sapricius had been arrested by the pagans and was enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricius, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricius would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricius was being taken to beheading, Nicephoros, hoping that Sapricius, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricius forgave him not. Wherefore, though Sapricius had passed through many sufferings, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nicephoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricius had cast away.
Apolytikion of Martyr Nicephoros in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of Martyr Nicephoros in the First Tone
Bound fast with chains of love, thou didst mightily sunder the wickedness of hatred with manifest courage, and hence, O Nicephoros, when the sword had cut off thy head, thou wast shown to be a godly Martyr of Jesus, our Incarnate Saviour; pray Him for us who honor thy glorious memory.
The content on this page is under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: – Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA – Apolytikion of Martyr Nicephoros © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA – Kontakion of Martyr Nicephoros © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA
From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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