Daily Readings for Thursday, October 13, 2022



Carpus, Papylus, Agathodorus, & Agathonica, the Martyrs of Pergamus, Benjamin the Deacon, Chryssi the New Martyr of Greece, Meletios of Pegas, Patriarch of Alexandria, Florentios the Martyr of Thessaloniki, Hieromartyr Jacob of Hamatoura


Brethren, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

LUKE 9:7-11

At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Jesus, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. On their return the apostles told him what they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing.

Martyrs Carpus, Papylus, Agathadorus, and Agathonica, at Pergamum

The Martyrs Carpus, Papylus, Agathodorus and Agathonike suffered at Pergamum during the persecution of Decius in the third century.

The governor of the district where the saints lived discovered that Carpus and Papylus did not celebrate the pagan festivals. He ordered that the transgressors be arrested and persuaded to accept the Roman pagan religion. The saints replied that they would never worship false gods. The judge then ordered them to be bound in iron chains and led through the city, and then to be tied to horses and dragged to the nearby city of Sardis.

Agathodorus and Agathonike voluntarily followed after Carpus and Papylus. Saint Agathonike was choked to death with ox sinews and Saints Carpus, Papylus and Agathodorus were beheaded in Sardis.

During his life Saint Papylus was known for his gift of curing the sick. Since his martyrdom, he has granted healing to all who pray to him with faith.

Venerable Benjamin of the Kiev Caves

Saint Benjamin of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves lived during the fourteenth century and before accepting monasticism was “an important merchant.” Once at the time of divine services Saint Benjamin felt deeply in his heart the words of the Savior: a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of God (Mt. 19:23). After distributing his wealth to the needy, Saint Benjamin became a monk, “pleasing the Lord by fasting and prayers even unto death.” He was buried in the Caves of Saint Theodosius. His memory is also celebrated on August 28 and the second Sunday of Great Lent.

Martyr Florentius of Thessalonica

The Martyr Florentius was a native of Thessalonica. Zealous for the glory of God, he fearlessly unmasked the darkness of idolatry and led many to the light of true knowledge of God. He taught faith in Christ and fulfilled the will of God. For this the pagans subjected him to cruel tortures, and then burned him.

Martyr Benjamin the Deacon of Persia

The Martyr Benjamin the Deacon of Persia converted many pagan Persians to Christianity, and for his zeal and evangelic preaching he suffered in Persia during the fifth century.

Saint Nikḗtas the Confessor of Paphlagonia

Saint Nikḗtas the Confessor of Paphlagonia was a patrician at the imperial court during the reigns of the empress Irene and her son Constantine. He represented the empress Irene at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, though his name does not appear in the Acts of the Council. He also assisted at the transfer of the relics of Saint Euphemia (September 16).

Renouncing all positions and honors, Nikḗtas decided to become a monk. At the request of the emperor, he did not go into the wilderness, but rather remained in a monastery in the capital. When the Iconoclast Theophilus occupied the imperial throne, the venerable Nikḗtas was banished from the monastery by the heretics for opposing the heresy. He wandered for a long time throughout the country.

Saint Nikḗtas died at the age of seventy-five about the year 838. During his life and after his death he worked many miracles.

New Martyr Zlata (Chrysḗ) of Meglena, Bulgaria

The Holy Virgin Martyr Zlata, that “golden vessel of virginity, and undefiled bride of Christ,” was born in the village of Slatena, in the Meglena diocese, on the border of Bulgaria and Serbia, when Bulgaria was under the Turkish Yoke. Her father was poor and he had four daughters. Saint Zlata was beautiful in appearance, and her soul was beautiful as well. From childhood she displayed an unusually strong character, and an unshakeable faith in Christ.

A certain Turk became obsessed with her, and kidnapped her one day as she was gathering wood with some other women. He brought her to his house, and repeatedly tried to seduce the maiden, and persuade her to convert to Islam, saying that he would make her his wife. Zlata, however, resisted and asserted: "I know only Christ as my Bridegroom, Whom I shall not deny, even if you tear me to to shreds."

Since persuasion and flattery proved unsuccessful, the Turk began to threaten her with grievous torments. The glorious martyr was not frightened by these threats, however. For six months the impious Hagarenes1 tried to make Zlata accept their religion, but she remained steadfast. Then they ordered the saint’s parents and sisters to convince her to become a Moslem. Otherwise, they would kill Zlata and torture them.

The Saint's parents and sisters wept and urged her to deny Christ “just for the sake of appearances,” so that they might be spared torture and death. Saint Zlata was unmoved by their pleas, and replied, “You who now urge me to deny Christ are no longer my parents and sisters. Instead, I have the Lord Jesus Christ as my father, the Lady Theotokos as my mother, and the Saints of our Church as my brothers and sisters!”

When the Moslems saw that they could not weaken the Saint's resolve, they tortured her for three months, beating her with clubs. Later, they peeled strips of skin from her body so that the earth was reddened by her blood. Then they heated a skewer and passed it through her ears.

Standing nearby was her Spiritual Father, Hieromonk Timothy of Stavronikḗta Monastery on Mount Athos, She sent word to him to pray that she would persevere until the end. It was he who recorded her martyrdom.

Finally, the Moslems fell into a rage at having been defeated by a woman, so they tied her to a tree and cut her virginal body to pieces with their knives. Her pure soul was received by Christ, Who bestowed on her the double crowns of virginity and martyrdom. Certain Christians gathered her relics secretly and buried them with great reverence. Saint Zlata suffered for Christ on October 13, 1795.

1 The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of the Old Testament Patriarch Abraham.

Translation of the Ivḗron Icon of the Mother of God to Moscow

The Ivḗron Icon of the Mother of God, located on Mount Athos, has been glorified by many miracles. Accounts of the wonderworking image were spread throughout Russia by pilgrims. His Holiness Patriarch Nikon (then still Abbot of the Novospasky monastery) asked Abbot Pachomius of the Ivḗron Monastery on Mt Athos, (who was in Moscow collecting alms for the Athonite monasteries) to supply a copy of the wonderworking Ivḗron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Athonite monk Iamblichos painted the copy of the Ivḗron Icon, and after a year the icon was taken to Moscow, accompanied by monks of Athos. On October 13, 1648 it was solemnly greeted by a multitude of the people. The Ivḗron Icon of the Russian Orthodox Church was also glorified by the Lord with many miracles (February 12).

The Ivḗron Icon is also commemorated on February 12, March 31, and Bright Tuesday.

“Seven Lakes” Icon of the Mother of God

The Seven Lakes Icon of the Mother of God was brought from Ustiug near Kazan on October 13, 1615 by the monk Euthymius, founder of the Seven Lakes Mother of God monastery. He blessed the place of the future monastery with this icon.

Feastdays of the Seven Lakes Icon were established in memory of its transfer from Ustiug, in memory of the deliverance of Kazan from a plague epidemic in 1654 and 1655 (June 26), and again from pestilence in 1771 (July 28).

Saint Anthony, Metropolitan of Chqondidi, and Saint Jacob, Elder of Chqondidi

Saint Anthony of Chqondidi was born to the family of Otia Dadiani, the prince of Egrisi (now Samegrelo). Anthony’s mother, Gulkan, was the daughter of the prince Shoshita III of Racha. There were six children in the family: five boys and one girl. Anthony’s sister, Mariam, later married King Solomon the Great of Imereti.

The children received their primary education from their mother, who was raised in the Christian Faith and transmitted the Faith to her children. Her vibrant faith and valorous labors were an example for all who surrounded her. After his father’s death, young Anthony was raised by his older brother Katsia. His family was preparing Anthony for a diplomatic career, and therefore they devoted special attention to his study of philosophy, literature, the fundamentals of poetry and art, and foreign languages (particularly Turkish and Persian).

From the beginning of the 17th century, the rulers of Egrisi appointed only their own relatives to the Chqondidi diocese. Nicholas, one of Anthony’s older brothers, was prepared for the bishopric, but he was too attached to the world to commit to the heavy yoke of asceticism. The young Anthony, however, was zealous for the monastic life, and soon he was tonsured.

The new monk Anthony sensed the imperfection of his spiritual education and asked the monks of Martvili Monastery in Egrisi to help him make up for his insufficient knowledge. A group of French missionaries arrived to instruct him in the foundations of Scholastic philosophy, which was very fashionable in Europe at that time. Anthony, however, recognized that his foreign tutors had tainted Orthodox doctrine with the poison of heresy. Once, during a meal, Anthony turned to a certain Frenchman and asked, “Can you pour wine into this water-filled cup and keep it from mixing with the water?”

The Catholic priest answered that it was impossible, and Anthony replied, “As it is impossible to pour water and wine into a single vessel and keep them from mixing, so it is impossible to accommodate both Orthodox doctrine and heresy!” From that day Anthony parted with the French missionaries.

The thirst for learning would not give the young monk any rest. To deepen his knowledge, Saint Anthony traveled to Tbilisi, to the court of King Erekle II. The king’s wife, Queen Darejan, was Anthony’s cousin—a child of his uncle, Katsia Dadiani.

In 1761 Saint Anthony was consecrated bishop of Tsageri (in lower Svaneti). He soon became famous for his eloquent sermons, which inspired even the Catholicos of Georgia himself.

Grown weary from fasting, Saint Anthony’s face began to resemble that of an angel. In accordance with his orders, a daily meal was prepared for the poor at the Chqondidi residence. Every subsequent bishop of Chqondidi has continued this practice.

In the 18th century many feudal lords in western Georgia (in Egrisi especially) began to trade slaves for profit. Bishop Anthony boldly opposed this immoral activity, and in the years 1792 to 1794 he convened a series of Church councils to publicly condemn the slave traders.

In 1788 Anthony approved vast land grants to the monasteries of Martvili, Nakharebou, and Sairme. He persuaded the Dadianis to exempt these lands from taxation.

In 1789 Anthony, now a metropolitan, left Chqondidi for Nakharebou Monastery, which he had built. He enriched the monastery with sacred objects, ancient icons and lands. There he spent the remainder of his days.

Saint Anthony of Chqondidi reposed in 1815 at a very old age and was buried at Nakharebou Monastery.

Saint Anthony’s spiritual son, devoted friend, and helper, Hieromonk Jacob, also dwelt as a saint in this world and was received into the Heavenly Kingdom.