WEDNESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
The Holy Martyrs Acindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidophoros, and Anempodistos, Domnina, Domna, & Kyriaki, the Martyrs
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS 1:18-23
Brethren, Christ is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the fight, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
The Lord said to the Jews who had come to him, "Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. Woe to you! For you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it." One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also." And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Saint Acindynus suffered martyrdom in Persia along with Saints Pegasias, Aphthonius, Elpidephorus, Anempodistus, and 7,000 other Christians at the time of King Sapor II (310-381). These saints were Sapor’s courtiers, and were secret Christians. When the king began his persecution against Christians, envious pagans denounced them to him. Summoned to Sapor’s presence for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The king ordered them to be beaten with whips.
Sapor told the people that Saints Acindynus, Pegasias, Anempodistus and Elpidephorus would have their heads cut off, and that he would not permit the Christians to bury their bodies.
A tremendous crowd accompanied these saints as they were led outside the city walls for execution, glorifying Christ. On Sapor’s orders, soldiers massacred all the Christians in the procession (about 7,000), including Saint Elpidephorus.
Acindynus, Pegasias, and Anempodistus were burned on the following day with the mother of the emperor. Christians came secretly by night to the place of execution, found the bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by the fire, and they buried them with reverence.
Saint Marcian of Cyrrhus lived during the fourth century. He went into the desert, where he lived for many years in solitude, unceasing prayer, and strict fasting. He built a small cell, and settled in it. The saint never lit candles for reading at night when he fulfilled his Rule of prayer, for the cell was filled with a divine light.
After several years the monk accepted two disciples, settling them beside him, but he continued to live as a hermit. The Patriarch Flavian of Antioch (February 18) and other bishops entreated the monk to abandon his strict solitude for the benefit of Christians, but he would not agree.
However, while not quitting his cell, he taught those coming to him for instruction and he turned many away from heresy and led them to the Orthodox Faith. Before his end, Saint Marcian instructed his disciple Eusebius to bury him secretly far from his cell, in order to shun posthumous glory and avoid contention among those wanting his relics for nearby churches. Saint Marcian died in the year 388.
The Shuiu-Smolensk Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God was painted in the years 1654-1655 in the Resurrection parish of the city of Shuiu, where an unrelenting pestilence raged. Trusting in the mercy of God and the intercession of the Mother of God, the parishioners of the Resurrection church commissioned a certain pious monk to paint the icon of the Smolensk Mother of God, an icon long attributed with being a rescuer of the Russian people from enemies and misfortune.
The parishioners spent the whole week in prayer and fasting while the image was being painted. When the icon was finished, the priest and the people took it to the church and set it in a specially built place. From that time the pestilence began to ease, at first in the area of the Resurrection parish, and then also in all the city.
From the Icon of the Mother of God many miracles of healing took place, especially of eye diseases. The icon is also celebrated on July 11, July 28, and Bright Tuesday.