Daily Readings for Monday, November 29, 2021

MONDAY OF THE 11TH WEEK

ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL

Paramonus, Philumenus, and their 370 Companion Martyrs in Bithynia, Our Righteous Father Nicholas, Archbishop of Thessolonica, Dionysios, Bishop of Corinth, Phaedrus the Martyr

ST. PAUL’S FIRST LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS 2:20-3:8

Brethren, you are our glory and joy. Therefore, when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you, that no one be moved by these afflictions. You yourselves know that this is to be our lot. For when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affIiction; just as it has come to pass, and as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent that I might know your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you – for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith; for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.

LUKE 19:37-44

At that time, as Jesus was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Martyr Paramon and 370 Martyrs in Bithynia

The Holy Martyr Paramon and the 370 Martyrs with him suffered for their faith in Christ in the year 250 during the rule of the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of the Eastern regions, Aquianus, had locked up 370 Christians in prison, urging them to abjure Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols.

They subjected the captives to beatings, hoping by torture and the threat of death to persuade them to renounce Christ and worship the pagan gods. One of the local inhabitants, Paramon by name, openly denounced the cruel governor and confessed his faith in the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. They beheaded Saint Paramon after fierce tortures, together with the other 370 martyrs.

Martyr Philoumenus of Ancyra

The Holy Martyr Philoumenus suffered for Christ in the year 274, during the persecution against Christians by the emperor Aurelian (270-275). Saint Philoumenus was a bread merchant in Ancyra. Envious persons reported to the governor Felix that Philoumenus was a Christian, and so he came before a judge.

Saint Philoumenus did not renounce Christ. For this they hammered nails into his hands, feet and head, and they forced him to walk. The holy martyr bravely endured the torments and he died from loss of blood, giving up his soul to God.

Martyr Valerian

No information available at this time.

Martyr Phaedrus

No information available at this time.

Venerable Acacius of Sinai, who is mentioned in the Ladder

Saint Acacius of Sinai lived during the sixth century and was a novice at a certain monastery in Asia. The humble monk distinguished himself by his patient and unquestioning obedience to his Elder, a harsh and dissolute man. He forced his disciple to toil excessively, starved him with hunger, and beat him without mercy. Despite such treatment, Saint Acacius meekly endured the affliction and thanked God for everything. Saint Acacius died after suffering these torments for nine years.

Five days after Acacius was buried, his Elder told another Elder about the death of his disciple. The second Elder did not believe that the young monk was dead. They went to the grave of Acacius and the second Elder called out: “Brother Acacius, are you dead?” From the grave a voice replied, “No, Father, how is it possible for an obedient man to die?” The startled Elder of Saint Acacius fell down with tears before the grave, asking forgiveness of his disciple.

After this he repented, constantly saying to the Fathers, “I have committed murder.” He lived in a cell near the grave of Saint Acacius, and he ended his life in prayer and in meekness. Saint John Climacus (March 30) mentions Saint Acacius in The Ladder (Step 4:110) as an example of endurance and obedience, and of the rewards for these virtues.

Saint Acacius is also commemorated on July 7.

Venerable Nectarius the Obedient of the Kiev Near Caves

The Venerable Nektarios struggled in the Kiev Caves Monastery during the XII century. Because of his unquestioning obedience to the older brethren, and for the diligence he showed in his labors, Saint Nektarios was called "the Obedient." He reposed peacefully after a life of much toil and many spiritual struggles. He was buried in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony.

Saint Nektarios is also commemorated on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

Hieromartyr Abibus, Bishop of Nekresi in Georgia

Saint Abibus of Nekresi was one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers who arrived in Georgia in the 6th century under the leadership of Saint John of Zedazeni.

With the blessing of his instructor, Saint Abibus began his apostolic activity in Nekresi, a village set among the hills in the eastern region of Kakheti. For his virtuous deeds, Saint Abibus was soon consecrated bishop of his diocese.

According to the chronicle Life of Kartli, Saint Abibus converted not only Georgians but also most of the mountain tribes—including the Dagestani/Didoians—to the Christian Faith. Abounding with apostolic zeal, Saint Abibus journeyed throughout the villages of his diocese, preaching the Truth and calling upon all to strengthen the true Faith.

The time that Saint Abibus was serving as bishop coincided with a dark period of Persian rule in eastern Georgia. The Persians exerted every effort to implant their faith—the worship of fire—and everywhere erected altars where the fire burned without ceasing.

Once in the village of Rekhi the holy hierarch, finding a group of fire-worshipers forcing the Georgian faithful to worship the flame, poured water on their fire to extinguish it. The enraged pagan priests bound Saint Abibus, beat him cruelly, locked him up, and reported the incident to the marzban. The marzban ordered that the bishop be brought to him at once.

Saint Abibus was a friend of the holy wonderworker Simeon the Stylite of the Wonderful Mountain. Saint Simeon received a sign from God of the imminent martyrdom of Saint Abibus and, in order to console him, sent him a letter, an evlogia (a blessing—probably a piece of prosphoron or some other holy object) and a staff. While Abibus was being escorted to the marzban, in the village of Ialdo he met a messenger from Antioch who presented him with Saint Simeon’s gifts. The letter and gifts gladdened the holy hierarch and strengthened him for his martyrdom. Then Saint Abibus was approached by a group of Christians who offered to help him escape, but he graciously declined.

Having arrived in Mtskheta, the saint prayed at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, then requested that the guards permit him to meet with Saint Shio of Mgvime. The Persians granted his request, and the spiritual brothers greeted one another with love and prayed together to the Lord.

Saint Abibus was brought before the dread marzban and asked how he could dare raise his hand against the Persian god. He replied with complete composure, saying, “I did not kill any god; rather I extinguished a fire. Fire is not a god, but a part of nature, which is created by God. Your fire was burning wood, and a little water was enough to extinguish it. The water turned out to be stronger. Your fury amazes me. Isn’t it humiliating to call something a god which has no soul?”

Furious at this response, the marzban ordered the holy hierarch’s execution.

The executioners mercilessly beat the blessed Abibus and shattered his skull with stones. Then they dragged his body through the city, cast it to the beasts, and assigned a guard to ensure that the Christians did not come to steal it. Nevertheless, that night the priests and monks of Rekhi came, took the body of the holy martyr, and buried it with great honor at Samtavisi Monastery (located midway between Mtskheta and Gori).

Many miraculous healings have taken place over the grave of Saint Abibus. During the rule of Prince Stepanoz of Kartli, the incorrupt relics of Saint Abibus were translated from Samtavisi to Samtavro Monastery in Mtskheta, according to the decree of Catholicos Tabori. They were buried under the holy altar at Samtavro Church.