TUESDAY OF PRODIGAL SON
Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus, Luke of Mount Stirion, George the New Martyr of Crete, Theopemptos the Martyr & his Companions, The Synaxis of the New Martyrs of Russia, Afterfeast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple, Richard, King of Wessex
ST. PETER’S SECOND UNIVERSAL LETTER 2:9-22
Beloved, the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them, suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
The Lord said to his disciples, “When you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel the prophet, set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if any one says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand.”
Afterfeast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple
The fifth day of the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord falls on February 7.
Saint Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus on the Hellespont
Saint Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus, was a native of the city of Melitoupolis (in northwestern Asia Minor), where his father Christopher served as deacon. The youth did not receive adequate schooling, but he learned the Holy Scripture by attending church services. He had a good heart, and distributed to the poor the money he earned working as a fisherman.
Filled with the grace of God, Saint Parthenius from age eighteen healed the sick in the name of Christ, cast out demons and worked other miracles. Learning of the young man’s virtuous life, Bishop Philetus of Melitoupolis educated him and ordained him presbyter.
In 325, during the reign of Constantine the Great, Archbishop Achilles of Cyzicus made him bishop of the city of Lampsacus (Asia Minor). In the city were many pagans, and the saint fervently began to spread the faith in Christ, confirming it through many miracles and by healing the sick.
The people began to turn from their pagan beliefs, and the saint went to the emperor Constantine the Great seeking permission to tear down the pagan temple and build a Christian church in its place. The emperor received the saint with honor, gave him a decree authorizing the destruction of the pagan temple, and provided him with the means to build a church. Returning to Lampsacus, Saint Parthenius had the pagan temple torn down, and built a beautiful church of God in the city.
In one of the razed temples, he found a large marble slab which he thought would be very suitable as an altar. The saint ordered work to begin on the stone, and to move it to the church. Through the malice of the devil, who became enraged at the removal of the stone from the pagan temple, the cart overturned and killed the driver Eutychian. Saint Parthenius restored him to life by his prayer and shamed the devil, who wanted to frustrate the work of God.
The saint was so kind that he refused healing to no one who came to him, or who chanced to meet him by the wayside, whether he suffered from bodily illnesses or was tormented by unclean spirits. People even stopped going to physicians, since Saint Parthenius healed all the sick for free. With the great power of the name of Christ, the saint banished a host of demons from people, from their homes, and from the waters of the sea.
Once, the saint prepared to cast out a devil from a certain man, who had been possessed by it since childhood. The demon began to implore the saint not to do so. Saint Parthenius promised to give the evil spirit another man in whom he could dwell. The demon asked, “Who is that man?” The saint replied, “You may dwell in me, if you wish.”
The demon fled as if stung by fire, crying out, “If the mere sight of you is a torment to me, how can I dare to enter into you?”
An unclean spirit, cast out of the house where the imperial purple dye was prepared, said that a divine fire was pursuing him with the fire of Gehenna.
Having shown people the great power of faith in Christ, the saint converted a multitude of idol-worshippers to the true God.
Saint Parthenius died peacefully and was solemnly buried beside the cathedral church of Lampsacus, which he built.
Venerable Luke of Hellas
Saint Luke of Hellas was a native of the Greek village of Kastorion. The son of poor farmers, the saint from childhood had toiled much, working in the fields and shepherding the sheep. He was very obedient to his parents and very temperate in eating. He often gave his own food and clothing to the poor, for which he suffered reproach from his parents. He once gave away almost all the seed which was needed for planting in the fields. The Lord rewarded him for his charity, and the harvest gathered was greater than ever before.
As a child, he prayed fervently and often. His mother saw him more than once standing not on the ground, but in the air while he prayed.
After the death of his father, he left his mother and went to Athens, where he entered a monastery. But through the prayers of his mother, who was very concerned about him, the Lord returned him to his parental home in a miraculous manner. He spent four months there, then with his mother’s blessing he went to a solitary place on a mountain called Ioannou (or Ioannitsa). Here there was a church dedicated to the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, where he lived an ascetical life in constant prayer and fasting. He was tonsured there by some Elders who were on pilgrimage. After this, Saint Luke redoubled his ascetic efforts, for which the Lord granted him the gift of foresight.
After a seven years on Ioannou, the saint moved to Corinth because of an invasion of the Bulgarian armies. Hearing about the exploits of a certain stylite at Patras, he went to see him, and remained for ten years to serve the ascetic with humility and obedience. Afterwards, the saint returned again to his native land and again began to pursue asceticism on Mount Ioannou.
The throngs of people flocking there disturbed his quietude, so with the blessing of his Elder Theophylactus, Saint Luke went with his disciple to a still more remote place at Kalamion. After three years, he settled on the desolate and arid island of Ampelon because of an invasion of the Turks. Steiris was another place of his ascetic efforts. Here brethren gathered to the monk, and a small monastery grew up, the church of which was dedicated to the Great Martyr Barbara. Dwelling in the monastery, the saint performed many miracles, healing sicknesses of soul and of body.
Foreseeing his end, the saint confined himself in a cell and for three months prepared for his departure. When asked where he was to be buried, the monk replied, “Throw my body into a ravine to be eaten by wild beasts.” When the brethren begged him to change these instructions, he commanded them to bury his body on the spot where he lay. Raising his eyes to heaven, he said, “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!”
Saint Luke fell asleep in the Lord on February 7, 946. Later, a church was built over his tomb. Myrrh flowed from his holy relics, and many healings occurred.
1,003 Martyrs of Nicomedia
1003 Martyrs at Nicomedia, were servants of the four dignitaries Bassos, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides, who suffered for Christ with their wives (January 5) in the year 303 during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
After the martyric death of their masters, the servants decided to follow their example, and they also confessed themselves Christians before Diocletian. Swayed neither by persuasion nor promises nor rewards, 1003 men, women, and small children were cut down by soldiers who formed a tight circle around them so that none of them remained alive.
Saint Aule suffered martyrdom in London during Diocletian’s persecution of Christians.