WEDNESDAY OF THE 12TH WEEK
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Forefeast of the Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos, Patapius the Righteous of Thebes, Apollo, Tychikos, Sosthenes, Cephas, Epaphroditos, Caesar, & Onesiphoros, Apostles of the 70
ST. PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS 2:1-12
Brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
LUKE 21:5-8, 10-11, 20-24
At that time, as some spoke to Jesus of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, "As for these things, which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.
Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Saint Patapius was born at Thebes into a pious Christian family. Reaching the age of maturity, he scorned the vanities of the world and so went into the Egyptian desert where he became known for his ascetic deeds. Though he wished to dwell in silence, people began to come to him for advice.
He went eventually to Constantinople, where he obtained a cell at the city wall, near the Blachernae church. But here, too, he quickly became known. The sick began to throng about, and he having been vouchsafed the gift of healing, began to help all the needy.
After a life adorned with virtue and miracles, Saint Patapius fell asleep in the Lord and was buried in the church of Saint John the Baptist.
Saint Cyril of Chelma Hill, Enlightener of the Chudian People, was born in the city of White Lake. He was tonsured at the monastery of Saint Anthony the Roman, where for six years he passed through various obediences. Then, after wandering through the wilderness for three years, he settled in a wild region of Kargopolsk. And here, by a command from on high, he chose Chelma Hill for his constant abode. Many of the afflicted from the Chud people came to see Saint Cyril, whose luminous ascetic life and kindly preaching moved many to accept holy Baptism.
Toward the end of his life, Saint Cyril established a monastery and church in honor of the Theophany of the Lord. The monk dwelt upon Chelma Hill for fifty-two years, and died at the advanced age of 82.
Saints Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Caesar, Onesiphorus, Apostles of the 70 were chosen and sent by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to preach. They were chosen some time after the selection of the Twelve Apostles (Luke 10:1-24).
Saint Sosthenes, before accepting Christianity, was head of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth. During a riot against the Apostle Paul, he too suffered a beating. He was converted by Paul to faith in Christ and afterwards became bishop at Caesarea.
Saint Apollos (September 10) was a native of Alexandria and was a man of erudition. The chief place of his service was at Corinth. He toiled there for a long time and converted many to Christ. Towards the end of his life he preached on the island of Crete and was Bishop of Caesarea.
Saint Cephas was bishop at Colophon, Pamphylia.
Saint Tychicus, a native of Asia Minor, was a disciple and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. During Saint Paul’s first imprisonment, he delivered the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. He replaced Saint Sosthenes on the episcopal throne at Caesarea.
Saint Epaphroditus, one of the Apostle Paul’s closest assistants and companions, was bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca.
Saint Caesar preached at and was bishop of Dyrrhachium, a district of the Peloponnesos in Greece.
Saint Onesiphorus was bishop at Colophon (Asia Minor), and later at Corinth. He died a martyr in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) on the shores of the Hellespont, where he had gone to proclaim Christ among the local pagans.
All of these saints are also commemorated on March 30. The Church also remembers Saint Onesiphorus (September 7) with them.
The Holy Martyr Anthusa, the wife of a Roman official, was baptized by Saint Ambrose of Milan (December 7). When the city prefect’s wife Sunilda suggested that Saint Anthusa be baptized by an Arian, she refused. So she was committed to the fire, and received the crown of martyrdom.
These faithful servants of Christ suffered martyrdom during the reign of Emperor Zeno (474-491). Guneric, the ruler of the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, began a savage persecution of the Orthodox, at the instigation of the Arian bishops Cyril and Balinardēs.
The faithful had gathered secretly in one of the churches for the Divine Liturgy, when suddenly barbarian soldiers burst into the church. Some of the worshippers fled, but 300 remained voluntarily, and so they were tortured and beheaded. Of the 62 clergy, two were burnt alive, and sixty had their tongues cut out. By the miraculous power of God, they continued to preach and to refute the Arian heresy. Among them were old men, young men, and heads of families, but all of them remained faithful to Christ and His Holy Church. They were beheaded in the year 477.
In Slavic usage, these holy martyrs are commemorated on December 8; while in Greek usage, they are commemorated on December 7.