Saturday, March 10, 2012

Greek Orthodox Arch-Diocese of America Daily Scripture and Synaxarion Readings for Friday, 9 March 2012


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Daily Scripture Readings and Lives of the Saints for Friday, March 9, 2012

Fast Day (Wine and Oil Allowed)

Feasts and Saints celebrated today:

    40 Martyrs at Lake Sebaste
    Caesarios the Righteous

Readings for today:

    St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-10
    Matthew 20:1-16

40 Martyrs at Lake Sebaste

Reading from the Synaxarion:

The martyrdom of the Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebasteiaia is a powerful lesson in Christian faith, perseverance, sacrifice, and friendship. The story of this martyrdom begins in the early part of the 4th century when the persecution of Christians was still active. There were 40 soldiers of the Roman army who possessed sincere faith in Jesus Christ. When it was realized that they would not deny their belief in the Lord, they were brought to trial before their commander who threatened to have them discharged from the military dishonorably. One of the soldiers responded: "Do not take only our military status, but also our bodies; nothing is dearer or of greater honor to us than Christ our God." Following a number of failed attempts to torture them, they were finally stripped, tied, and thrown into a lake. It happened to be wintertime and the temperature was extremely cold. To tempt the soldiers to deny Christ, the torturers lit fires near the lake to entice them to deny Christ. One so
ldier actually did come out of the water and headed for the fire, but before he could get there, he died. During the night, a light from heaven came down and heated the lake and warmed these Christian witnesses. At the same time, thirty-nine crowns were sent from heaven and rested upon each of them. One of the soldiers torturing them saw this and, moved by this event, confessed the Christ as Lord and Savior and joined the others in the lake. A fortieth crown appeared and descended upon him at that very moment. In the morning, the commander was furious when he learned of the events and ordered that their legs be broken and they be thrown back into the lake. On the third day following their drowning, the martyrs appeared to the local bishop and told him to search beneath the water and recover their relics. In the middle of the night, the bishop, along with his priests, went to the lake where they found the relics glowing in the water and, gathering them together, they gave them
  a proper burial.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Be Thou entreated for the sake of the sufferings of Thy Saints which they endured for Thee, O Lord, and do Thou heal all our pains, we pray, O Friend of man.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
O Forty Champions of the Lord, you abandoned the armies of the world and attached yourselves to the Master in heaven. Having gone through fire and water, O Blessed Ones, you worthily won glory from heaven and a multitude of crowns.

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) Narthex Press 

Epistle Reading

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-10

BRETHREN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not disc
ipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father.

    (c) 2012 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Gospel Reading

The reading is from Matthew 20:1-16

The Lord said this parable, "The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when the first came, they t
hought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

    (c) 2012 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

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