Daily Readings for Wednesday, March 15, 2023



Agapius the Martyr & His Companions, Manuel the New Martyr of Crete, Holy Apostle Aristobulos of the Seventy, Bishop of Britain

ISAIAH 10:12-20

When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I have removed the boundaries of peoples, and have plundered their treasures; like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones. My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as men gather eggs that have been forsaken so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing, or opened the mouth, or chirped.” Shall the axe vaunt itself over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land the LORD will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down. In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean upon him that smote them, but will lean upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.


Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.

PROVERBS 9:12-18

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it. A foolish woman is noisy; she is wanton and knows no shame. She sits at the door of her house, she takes a seat on the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who is without sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

Martyrs Agapius, Publius, Timolaus, Romulus, two named Dionysius, and two named Alexander, at Caesarea in Palestine

The Holy Martyrs Agapius, Publius (Pausis), Timolaus, Romulus, Alexander, Alexander, Dionysius and Dionysius suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) in the city of Palestinian Caesarea. During one of the pagan festivals they began to torture and execute Christians who refused to offer sacrifice to idols.

The Martyr Timolaus (August 19) was sentenced to burning, and the Martyrs Agapius and Thekla (August 19) were sentenced to be torn apart by wild beasts. A group of young Christians: Publius, Timolaus, Alexander, another Alexander, Dionysius, and Romulus, the subdeacon of the Diospolis church decided to confess their faith and suffer for Christ.

As a sign of their voluntary deed they tied their own hands behind their backs and appeared before the governor Urbanus. Seeing their youth, the governor tried to persuade them to reconsider their decision, but in vain. He then threw them in prison, where there were already two Christians, Agapius and his servant Dionysius. All these saints were subjected to terrible tortures and beheaded.

Hieromartyr Alexander of Sίdē, in Pamphylia

The Hieromartyr Alexander was a priest from Sίdē in Pamphylia. He suffered for Christ during a time of persecution in the reign of Emperor Aurelian (270-275). When the ruler Antoninus arrived at Sίdē he ordered Father Alexander to be brought before him for interrogation. He began by asking him, "Who are you?"

The Saint replied, "I am a Christian, a priest, a shepherd of Christ's rational flock."

Antoninus continued, "Where is this flock of Christ?"

The Saint replied, "Christ God created all the people who live in the world; those who believe in Him are the sheep of His flock. Those who have fallen away from their Creator, those such as yourself, who worship idols, which are fashioned by human hands, may not belong to His holy flock. At the Last Judgment, they will be placed on His left side, along with the goats."

The ruler said to him, "Now I am going to torture you for two reasons; first, so that you will show me where to find those who believe in Christ and secondly, so that you can offer sacrifices to our gods."

Again, Antoninus asked Father Alexander, "Who was Christ?"

The Saint replied, "Christ is the Savior of the world, He is Life and Light for those who believe in Him."

Antoninus said: "How can this man who died on a cross be a Savior?"

Saint Alexander declared, "It is indeed marvelous and surprising that He took upon Himself the Cross and death in the flesh of His own will, His Divinity shattered the power of Hades, and released those who were held captive there. He put Death to death, and rose from the dead. Not only did He arise from the dead Himself, He also raised many of the dead with Himself: 'the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many' (Matthew 27:52-53). With Himself, Christ has resurrected the entire human race."

Antoninus exclaimed, "Are you mad? How could a tormented Jew, who was unable to help Himself, possibly help others?"

The Saint replied, "It is not I, but you yourself who are mad. You are spiritually blind, therefore you do not understand the mystery of our salvation, accomplished by Christ the Lord."

Then the ruler ordered that Saint Alexander be tortured. He was beaten, tormented on a wheel, and plunged into a vessel of boiling resin and oil, then he was placed in a fiery furnace. By the grace of God, the Saint was preserved unharmed. When he was thrown into the furnace, the wicked tormentors saw in the flames two young men with handsome faces, praising God along with the Holy Martyr. These were Angels, who cooled the flames of the furnace. The people marveled, for they knew that only one man had entered the furnace, and now there were three.

Antoninus, and those who were with him, regarded all these glorious miracles as magic, because they did not believe in the omnipotent power of Christ God. One of the ruler's servants believed in Christ and fell to the ground before the Saint, begging him to take him along with him to be with Christ. Immediately, the tyrant killed his servant with his sword.

When Saint Alexander emerged from the furnace unscathed, Antoninus ordered that he be hanged, and stabbed with sharp iron needles. The Saint was tortured until his body became one large wound. Those who tortured the Saint marveled at his steadfastness, saying, "How can this man endure such torment? His bones have already been exposed."

Afterward, the Saint was tormented in the fire for a second time, but did not suffer any harm from it. Then his body was stabbed with iron needles and his intestines fell out. Then Saint Alexander was thrown to the wild animals to be devoured, but the beasts did not touch him. This sufferer for Christ endured many other bitter torments, but he remained firm and courageous through all of them. Those who witnessed his suffering were astonished by the power of his patience, which surpassed all human understanding. Finally, the Hieromartyr Alexander was beheaded with a sword.

Just as Antoninus left his judgment seat, he was attacked by the demons he had served. His servants carried him to his home, weeping and sobbing all the way. They did not have time to bring him into the house, however, for he had breathed forth his vile soul.

Saint Alexander was taken to the heavenly abodes to dwell with Christ, His Saints, and His Holy Angels. As for Antoninus, he was cast "into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

After the beheading of Saint Alexander, Eustáthios, an honest man, and a Christian, took the much-suffering body of the Holy Martyr and buried him with honor, glorifyng and praising Christ God.

Martyr Nicander of Egypt

The Holy Martyr Nicander suffered in Egypt under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). He was a physician and during a time of persecution he visited Christians in prison. He assisted them, brought them food, and buried the dead.

Once, he came to the place where the bodies of the martyrs were thrown to be eaten by wild beasts. Fearing to bury them by day, he waited for night and buried the bodies under cover of darkness. They discovered Saint Nicander and subjected him to terrible tortures: they skinned him alive and then beheaded him in 302.