5TH SUNDAY OF LUKE
5th Sunday of Luke, The Holy Martyrs Zenobius and His Sister Zenobia, Cleopas and Artemas of the 70 Apostles, Joseph, Patriarch of Constantinople
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIANS 1:11-19
Brethren, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.
The Lord said, "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazaros, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazaros in his bosom. And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazaros to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazaros in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses, and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to them, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'
The Hieromartyr Zenobius, Bishop of Aegea, and his sister Zenobia suffered a martyr’s death in the year 285 in Cilicia. From childhood they were raised in the holy Christian Faith by their parents, and they led pious and chaste lives. In their mature years, shunning the love of money, they distributed away their inherited wealth giving it to the poor. For his beneficence and holy life the Lord rewarded Zenobius with the gift of healing various maladies. He was also chosen bishop of a Christian community in Cilicia.
As bishop, Saint Zenobius zealously spread the Christian Faith among the pagans. When the emperor Diocletian (284-305) began a persecution against Christians, Bishop Zenobius was the first one arrested and brought to trial to the governor Licius. “I shall only speak briefly with you,” said Licius to the saint, “for I propose to grant you life if you worship our gods, or death, if you do not.” The saint answered, “This present life without Christ is death. It is better that I prepare to endure the present torment for my Creator, and then with Him live eternally, than to renounce Him for the sake of the present life, and then be tormented eternally in Hades.”
By order of Licius, they nailed him to a cross and began the torture. The bishop’s sister, seeing him suffering, wanted to stop it. She bravely confessed her own faith in Christ before the governor, therefore, she also was tortured.
By the power of the Lord they remained alive after being placed on a red-hot iron bed, and then in a boiling kettle. The saints were then beheaded. The priest Hermogenes secretly buried the bodies of the martyrs in a single grave.
Saint Zenobius is invoked by those suffering from breast cancer.
Saint Tertius was the second bishop (after Saint Sosipater) in Iconium, where he converted many pagans to Christ, and ended his life as a martyr. The Apostle Paul mentions him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:22).
Saint Mark, also called John, (Acts 12:12), was a nephew of Saint Barnabas, and was Bishop of Apollonia (Col. 4:10). It was in the house of his mother Maria that the persecuted disciples found shelter after the Ascension of the Lord.
Saint Justus, called Barsaba, a son of Saint Joseph the Betrothed, was chosen with Matthias to replace Judas. He was a bishop and died a martyr’s death at Eleutheropolis.
Saint Artemas was bishop of Lystra, Lycia. He died in peace.
The Holy Hieromartyr Marcian, Bishop of Syracuse, a disciple of the Apostle Peter, was sent to Sicily. Here he settled in a cave near the city of Syracuse and successfully spread the faith in Christ. He died a martyr. His relics are in the Italian city of Gaeta. The Hieromartyr Marcian is the same person as Saint Marcellus, Bishop of Sicily, commemorated on February 9.
The Martyr Eutropia suffered for Christ in Alexandria in about the year 250. Often visiting Christians locked up in prison, she encouraged them to endure suffering with patience. For this, the saint was arrested. At her trial she firmly confessed her faith in Christ. As she was being burned with candles, a man appeared beside her and soothed her sufferings. He bedewed her so that she did not feel the heat of the flames. She died after these grievous tortures.
Saint Anastasia lived in the second half of the third century during the persecutions of Decius, Gallus, Valerian, and Diocletian. She was executed in Rome between 256-259 after enduring many tortures.
Saint Stephen was the younger son of King Stephen Urosh I, and grandson of First-Crowned King Saint Stephen (September 24). He ruled Serbia from 1275 to 1320. Stephen Milutin received the throne from his elder brother Saint Dragutin who, after a short reign, transferred power over to Stephen.
Saint Stephen Milutin, after he became king, bravely defended, by both word and by deed, the Orthodox Serbs and other Orthodox peoples from their enemies. Saint Stephen did not forget to thank the Lord for His beneficence. He built more than forty churches, and also many monasteries and hostels for travelers. The saint particularly concerned himself with the Athonite monasteries.
When the Serbian kingdom fell, the monasteries remained centers of national culture and Orthodoxy for the Serbian nation. Saint Stephen died on October 29, 1320 and was buried at the Bansk monastery. After two years his incorrupt relics were uncovered.
Saint Dragutin was the brother of Saint Stephen Milutin, the son of King Stephen Urosh I, and the grandson of First-Crowned King Saint Stephen (September 24). Dragutin, a true Christian, after a short reign, abdicated in favor of his brother Stephen. He withdrew to Srem, secretly living as an ascetic in a grave which he dug with his own hands. During his righteous life, Saint Dragutin toiled much over converting the Bogomil heretics to the true Faith. He surrendered his soul to God on March 2, 1316.
Saint Helen, a pious mother to her sons Stephen Milutin and Dragutin, devoted her whole life to pious deeds after the death of her husband. She built a shelter for the poor, and a monastery for those who wished to live in purity and virginity. Near the city of Spich, she built the Rechesk monastery and endowed it with the necessities.
Before her death, Saint Helen received monastic tonsure and departed to the Lord on February 8, 1306.
The Ozeryanka Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is from an area near Kharkov, and is of the Hodēgḗtria type.
In 1446 George VIII was crowned ruler of a united Georgian kingdom. Filled with every virtue, the valiant warrior and God-fearing king dedicated the twenty years of his reign to a ceaseless struggle for the reunification of his country. He was constantly warding off foreign invaders, surmounting internal strife, and suffering the betrayal of his fellow countrymen.
One of the separatists was the ruler of Samtskhe, the atabeg Qvarqvare Jakeli II (1451-1498). In 1465 King George led his troops toward southern Georgia to attack the rebellious atabeg.
Near Lake Paravani the traitors dispatched assassins to the king’s camp.
Among those who served in the royal court was a certain Jotham Zedgenidze, a man deeply devoted to his king. He heard about the dreadful conspiracy and warned the king, but the noble and fearless George did not believe that such a loathsome betrayal could ever take place.
Desperate to convince the king of the very real and imminent danger, the devoted Jotham told him, “Allow me to spend this night in your bed and prove the truth of my words!”
Certain that his beloved courtier was mistaken and that his unmeasured love and dedication were the reasons for his suspicions, King George permitted him to spend the night in the royal bed.
The next morning King George entered his tent and found his beloved Jotham lying in a pool of blood. Immediately he began weeping bitterly over his error. He arrested and executed the conspirators and buried his faithful servant with great honor.
The Georgian Church numbers Jotham Zedgenidze among the saints for his devotion to God’s anointed king.