10TH SATURDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Samuel the Prophet, Holy Martyr Luke of Bouleutos, Stephen, First King of Hungary, Hierotheos, Bishop of Hungary, Oswin the Martyr, King of Deira, Afterfeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS 15:30-33
Brethren, I appeal to you, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
MATTHEW 17:24-27; 18:1-4
At that time, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?" And when he said, "From others, " Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself." At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The Church continues to honor the passage of the Most Holy Theotokos from death to life. Just as Christ once dwelt in the virginal womb of His Mother, now He takes Her “to dwell in His courts.”
The Prophet Samuel was the fifteenth and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophim of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought from the Lord through the prayers of his mother Hannah (therefore he received the name Samuel, which means “besought from God”). Even before birth, he was dedicated to God. Her song, “My heart exults in the Lord,” is the third Old Testament ode of the Canon (1 Sam/1 Kings 2:1-10).
When the boy reached the age of three, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow dedicated him to the worship of God. She gave him into the care of the High Priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over Israel. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and at twelve years of age he had a revelation that God would punish the house of the High Priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons. Eli’s whole family was wiped out in a single day.
The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them Hophni and Phinees, the sons of Eli the High Priest), gained victory and captured the Ark of the Covenant. Hearing this, the High Priest Eli fell backwards from his seat at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 4: 22).
Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative. After returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities that the Philistines had taken. In his old age, the Prophet Samuel made his sons Joel and Abiah judges over Israel, but they did not follow the integrity and righteous judgment of their father, since they were motivated by greed.
Then the elders of Israel, wanting the nation of God to be “like other nations” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that they have a king. The Prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king, but saw in this a downfall of the people, whom God Himself had governed until this time, announcing His will through “judges,” His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people if they consented to his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him.
After denouncing the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed David as king. He had offered David asylum, saving him from the pursuit of King Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam/1 Kgs; Sirach 46:13-20).
In the year 406 A.D. the relics of the Prophet Samuel were transferred from Judea to Constantinople.
Saint Philip was Bishop of Heraclea, and suffered martyrdom with Saints Severus, Memnon, and thirty-seven others in Thrace during the third century. They all suffered in Philippopolis, Thrace under the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
When the governor learned that the Saint Severus had converted the centurion Memnon to Christ, he ordered that Memnon be tortured. They cut three strips of skin from Saint Memnon’s back.
Saint Severus was raked with iron hooks. Then they put red-hot rings on his fingers and girded him with a red-hot iron belt. After these tortures, he was blinded.
Bishop Philip and the others had their hands and feet cut off and were thrown into a fiery oven. Their names are Orion, Antilinus, Molias, Eudemon, Silvanus, Sabinus, Eustathius, Straton, Bosua of Byzantium, Timothy, Palmatus, Mestus, Nikon, Difilus, Dometian, Maximus, Neophytus, Victor, Rinus, Satorninus, Epaphroditus, Cercanus, Gaius, Zoticus, Cronion, Anthony, Horus, Zoilus, Tyrannus, Agathon, Panstenus [Parthenias], Achilles, Panthyrias, Chrysanthus, Athenodorus, Pantoleon, Theosebius, Genephlius of Philippopolis.
The Martyrs Heliodorus and Dosa suffered for Christ in Persia under the emperor Sapor II, in the year 380.
The Martyr Lucius, a senator, was beheaded by the sword on the island of Crete in the year 310 for confessing his faith in Christ.
In the year 1740 Sultan Ahmed and Ibrahim Pasha, the governor of Asia Minor, a decree was issued that Christian boys should be placed in concentration camps. The orphan Theocharis was among them. On a certain day, however, the judge of Neapolis (Nevsehir) in Cappadocia, saw Theocharis in the camp, he liked him, and brought him home to care for his animals.
Theocharis’s piety and comeliness prompted the judge to suggest that he become his son-in-law, after first becoming a Moslem. Theocharis answered courageously, “My master, I was born a Christian, and I cannot deny the faith of my Savior and of my fathers.” The Ottoman judge considered the answer to be offensive and threatened him with torture, and then he sentenced him to death by starvation. Theocharis went to church to confess and to partake of the spotless Mysteries, and then returned to his master. When he repeated his refusal and confessed his faith, they threw him into prison without food for many days. He was nourished by prayer, however and did not feel hunger; he was satisfied with a little water once in a while. When the judge repeated his offer to let him marry his daughter, Theocharis firmly refused. Then, after frightful torture, they took him an hour’s journey from the city of Neapolis, where he was stoned and then hanged at noon on a white poplar tree on August 20, 1740.
In 1923, the right hand of St. Theocharis was brought to Thessaloniki and was placed in the Church of St. Katherine, where it remains today.