7TH SUNDAY OF LUKE
7th Sunday of Luke, Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople, Luke the Monk of Taormina
ST. PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIANS 2:16-20
Brethren, knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
At that time, there came to Jesus a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus’ feet he besought him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As he went, the people pressed round him. And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter and those who were with him said, “Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!” But Jesus said, “Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.” And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and bewailing her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once; and he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed; but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople, was chosen to the patriarchal throne after the death of Patriarch Alexander (+ 340), when the Arian heresy had again flared up. Many of the Arians were present at the Council which selected the new Archbishop of Constantinople. They revolted in opposition to the choice of Saint Paul, but the Orthodox at the Council were in the majority.
The emperor Constantius, ruling over the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, was an Arian. He was not in Constantinople for the election of the Archbishop, and so it took place without his consent. Upon his return, he convened a council which illegally deposed Saint Paul, and the emperor banished him from the capital. In place of the saint they elevated Eusebius of Nicomedia, an impious heretic. Archbishop Paul withdrew to Rome, where other Orthodox bishops were also banished by Eusebius.
Eusebius did not rule the Church of Constantinople for long. When he died, Saint Paul returned to Constantinople, and was greeted by his flock with love. But Constantius exiled the saint a second time, and so he returned to Rome. The Western emperor Constans wrote a harsh letter to his Eastern co-ruler, which he sent to Constantinople along with the holy exiled archpastor. The threats worked, and Saint Paul was reinstated upon the archepiscopal throne.
But soon the pious emperor Constans, a defender of the Orthodox, was treacherously murdered during a palace coup. They again banished Saint Paul from Constantinople and this time sent him off in exile to Armenia, to the city of Cucusus, where he endured a martyr’s death.
When the Archbishop was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Arians rushed upon him by force and strangled him with his own omophorion. This occurred in the year 350. In 381, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great solemnly transferred the relics of Saint Paul the Confessor from Cucusus to Constantinople. In 1326, the relics of Saint Paul were transferred to Venice.
Saint Athanasius the Great, a contemporary of Saint Paul, writes briefly about his exiles, “Saint Paul the first time was sent by Constantine to Pontus, the second time he was fettered with chains by Constantius, and then he was locked up in Mesopotamian Syngara and from there moved to Emesus, and the fourth time to Cappadocian Cucusus in the Taurian wilderness.”
Saint Barlaam of Khutyn lived in the XII century, and was the son of a noble Novgorodian and spent his childhood in Novgorod. In his youth, retiring to the Lisich Monastery near the city, Barlaam was tonsured as a monk. Then he settled on a secluded hill above Volkhov, in an area called Khutyn, 10 versts from Novgorod. In his seclusion, Saint Barlaam led an austere solitary life, occupying himself with unceasing prayer, and keeping a very strict fast. He was a zealous ascetic in his labors: cutting timber in the forest, chopping firewood, and tilling the soil, fulfilling the words of the Holy Scriptures: "If anyone does not wish to work, neither let him eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Some of the inhabitants of Novgorod gathered around him, desiring to share the Saint's works and ascetical struggles. Instructing those who came to him, Saint Barlaam said, "My children, beware of all unrighteousness, and do not give in to envy or slander, don't be jealous, do not slander anyone. Refrain from anger, and do not practice usury. Beware of unjust judgment. Do not swear an oath falsely, but rather fulfill it. Do not indulge in carnal appetites. Always be meek and endure all things with love. This virtue is the beginning and the root of all goodness."
Soon a church was built in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord, and a Monastery was founded. The Lord granted him the gift of miracles and clairvoyance in order to serve his neighbors. As Saint Barlaam’s life was drawing to a close, by God's will, Hieromonk Anthony came from Constantinople. He was the contemporary and friend of Saint Barlaam. The Saint turned to him and said, “My beloved brother, God’s blessings rest upon this Monastery. Now I leave it in your hands. Watch over it and care for it. Although in the body I am leaving you, I shall always be with you in spirit.”
After giving his final counsels to the brethren, commanding them to preserve the Orthodox Faith, and to abide in humility, Saint Barlaam fell asleep in the Lord on November 6, 1192.
The Church remembers Saint Barlaam three times during the year: on the day of his blessed repose (November 6), on the first Friday of the Apostles' Fast, and on the third Sunday after Pentecost (Synaxis of the Novgorod Saints).
In Slavonic practice, Saint Barlaam is commemorated during the Proskomedia along with the venerable God-bearing Fathers who have shone forth in asceticism (sixth particle).
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Saint Herman, Archbishop of Kazan, lived during the sixteenth century. He was born in the city of Staritsa, and was descended from the old boyar nobility of the Polevi. In his youth Gregory (his baptismal name) was tonsured at the Joseph-Volokolamsk monastery under Igumen Gurias, who later became Archbishop of Kazan (December 5). (Saint Gurias was head of the monastery from 1542 to 1551).
At the monastery Saint Herman occupied himself with copying books, and he was a close friend of Saint Maximus the Greek (January 21), who was living there in confinement. In 1551 the brethren of the Staritsa Dormition monastery, seeing his piety, chose him as their archimandrite.
Taking up the governance of this monastery with a pastoral zeal, Saint Herman concerned himself with its internal and external order, for he himself was a model of humility and meekness. He exhorted all to observe their monastic commitment strictly, and he introduced into his monastery the Rule of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk (October 18).
But after two and a half years Archimandrite Herman left the Staritsa monastery, leaving its direction to the hieromonk Job (June 19), who afterwards was to become the first Patriarch of Moscow, and was an ascetic and sufferer for the Russian Land.
Saint Herman’s love for solitary struggles brought him to return to his original Volokolamsk monastery, where he strove toward salvation as a simple monk. However, when the new heretic Matthew Bashkin (who refused to acknowledge the Holy Mysteries and denied faith in the Holy Trinity) appeared at Moscow, Saint Herman and his own father (who had received tonsure at the Volokolamsk monastery with the name Philotheus) were summoned to the Moscow Council of 1553. The Council censured the heretic Bashkin and resolved to send him for correction to Saint Herman at the Volokolamsk monastery, since Saint Herman was known for his holy life and zeal for the faith in Christ.
In 1555, after the taking of Kazan, an archepiscopal See was established there. Saint Gurias, the former igumen of Volokolamsk monastery, was chosen as archbishop. He was entrusted with building the Dormition monastery in the city of Sviyazhsk for missionary purposes. By decree of Saint Gurias, Saint Herman was appointed as head of this new monastery in Sviyazhsk. A stone cathedral was built with a belltower and monastic cells. The igumen of the monastery lived very frugally in a cramped cell beneath the cathedral belltower. Saint Herman particularly concerned himself with acquiring a library for the monastery.
Soon his monastery became famous for its good works, and it became a center of enlightenment for the Kazan region.
On March 12, 1564, after the repose of Saint Gurias, Saint Herman was consecrated Bishop of Kazan. The short duration of his tenure there was marked nonetheless by his efforts to build churches and to enlighten the people of the region with the light of Christ.
In 1566, Ivan the Terrible summoned Saint Herman to Moscow and ordered that he be elected to the Metropolitan cathedra. At first, Saint Herman refused to have this burden imposed upon him. The Tsar would not tolerate any objection, however, and the saint was obliged to settle into the Metropolitan’s quarters until his elevation to the position of Metropolitan.
Seeing injustice among those of the Tsar’s inner circle, Saint Herman, true to his pastoral duty, attempted to admonish the Tsar. “You are not yet elevated to Metropolitan, and already you place constraints upon my freedom,” the Tsar told him through his aides. He ordered Saint Herman expelled from the Metropolitan’s quarters and that he be kept under surveillance.
The saint lived in disgrace for about two years, and died on November 6, 1567. They buried him in the church of Saint Nicholas the Hospitable. In 1595, at the request of the inhabitants of Sviyazhsk, the relics of the saint were transferred from Moscow to the Sviyazhsk Dormition monastery. Saint Hermogenes, then Metropolitan of Kazan, visited his grave.
Saint Herman is also commemorated on September 25 (first translation of his relics in 1595) and June 23 (second translation of his relics in 1714).
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Saint Luke of Sicily was a native of the Sicilian city of Tauromenium. In his youth he left his parents and fiancée and went into the wilderness, where he spent many years in fasting and prayer. He lived the ascetic life at Mount Aetna.
Towards the end of his life Saint Luke, because of a revelation to him, founded a monastery. In order to become familiar with the rule and life of other monasteries, he visited many other cities. He died at Corinth in 820.