Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Greek Orthodox Arch-Diocese in America Daily Scripture Readings for Wednesday, 29 February 2012

From goarch.com:

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Daily Scripture Readings and Lives of the Saints for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strict Fast

Feasts and Saints celebrated today:

    Righteous John Cassian the Confessor

Readings for today:

    Isaiah 2:3-11
    Genesis 1:24-2:3
    Proverbs 2:1-22

Righteous John Cassian the Confessor

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Note: If it is not a  leap year the hymns of Saint John are transferred to the 28th.

This Saint was born about the year 350, and was, according to some, from Rome, according to others, from Dacia Pontica (Dobrogea in present-day Romania).  He was a learned man who had first served in the military.  Later, he forsook this life and became a monk in Bethlehem with his friend and fellow-ascetic, Germanus of Dacia Pontica, whose memory is also celebrated today.  Hearing the fame of the great Fathers of Scete, they went to Egypt about the year 390; their meetings with the famous monks of Scete are recorded in Saint John's Conferences.  In the year 403 they went to Constantinople, where Cassian was ordained deacon by Saint John Chrysostom; after the exile of Saint Chrysostom, Saints Cassian and Germanus went to Rome with letters to Pope Innocent I in defence of the exiled Archbishop of Constantinople.  There Saint Cassian was ordained priest, after which he went to Marseilles, where he established the famous monastery of Saint Victor.  He reposed in peace about the 
year 433.

The last of his writings was On the Incarnation of the Lord, Against Nestorius, written in 430 at the request of Leo, the Archdeacon of Pope Celestine.  In this work he was the first to show the spiritual kinship between Pelagianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man who without the help of God had avoided sin, and that it was possible for man to overcome sin by his own efforts; and Nestorianism, which taught that Christ was a mere man used as an instrument by the Son of God, but was not God become man; and indeed, when Nestorius first became Patriarch of Constantinople in 428, he made much show of persecuting the heretics, with the exception only of the Pelagians, whom he received into communion and interceded for them to the Emperor and to Pope Celestine.

The error opposed to Pelagianism but equally ruinous was Augustine's teaching that after the fall, man was so corrupt that he could do nothing for his own salvation, and that God simply predestined some men to salvation and others to damnation.  Saint John Cassian refuted this blasphemy in the thirteenth of his Conferences, with Abbot Chairemon, which eloquently sets forth, at length and with many citations from the Holy Scriptures, the Orthodox teaching of the balance between the grace of God on one hand, and man's efforts on the other, necessary for our salvation.

Saint Benedict of Nursia, in Chapter 73 of his Rule, ranks Saint Cassian's Institutes and Conferences first among the writings of the monastic fathers, and commands that they be read in his monasteries; indeed, the Rule of Saint Benedict is greatly indebted to the Institutes of Saint John Cassian.  Saint John Climacus also praises him highly in section 105 of Step 4 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, on Obedience.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous John Cassian, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Thy words breathe forth the sweetness of heavenly cassia, dispelling the foul odour of passion and pleasures; but with the sweet fragrance of thy discretion and temperance, they make known the spiritual ascents in the Spirit, leading men on high, O righteous Father John Cassian, divinely-sent guide of monks.

This content is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved:
    Reading (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA 
    Apolytikion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA 
    Kontakion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA 

Old Testament Reading

The reading is from Isaiah 2:3-11

Thus says the Lord:  "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."  For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

For thou hast rejected thy people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of diviners from the east and of soothsayers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with foreigners.  Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots.  Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.  So man is humbled, and men are brought low -- forgive them not!  Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty.  The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

    (c) 2012 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Old Testament Reading

The reading is from Genesis 1:24-2:3

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds:  cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds."  And it was so.  And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."  And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food."  And it was so.  And God sa
w everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.

    (c) 2012 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Old Testament Reading

The reading is from Proverbs 2:1-22

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his saints.  Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you; delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing
  evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.

You will be saved from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the shades; none who go to her come back nor do they regain the paths of life.

So you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.  For the upright will inhabit the land, and men of integrity will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

    (c) 2012 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

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