6TH MONDAY OF LENT
ABSTAIN FROM MEAT, FISH, DAIRY, EGGS, WINE, OLIVE OIL
Nicetas, Abbot of the Monastery of Medicium, Joseph the Hymnographer, Theodosia and Irene the Martyrs
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.
Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!" They thirsted not when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he cleft the rock and the water gushed out. "There is no peace, " says the LORD, "for the wicked.
Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son, and said to him, "My son"; and he answered, "Here I am." He said, "Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me, and prepare for me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat; that I may bless you before I die." Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 'Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food, that I may eat it, and bless you before the LORD before I die.' Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. Go to the flock, and fetch me two good kids, that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he loves; and you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies." But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him, and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing." His mother said to him, "Upon me be your curse, my son; only obey my word, and go, fetch them to me." So he went and took them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son; and the skins of the kids she put upon his hands and upon the smooth part of his neck; and she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
So he went in to his father, and said, "My father"; and he said, "Here I am; who are you, my son?" Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your first-born. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that you may bless me." But Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?" He answered, "Because the LORD your God granted me success." Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not." So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. He said, "Are you really my son Esau?" He answered, "I am." Then he said, "Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son's game and bless you." So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come near and kiss me, my son." So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said, "See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed! May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be every one who curses you, and blessed be every one who blesses you!
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, "Let my father arise, and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." His father Isaac said to him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son, your first-born, Esau." Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? – Yes, and he shall be blessed." When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" But he said, "Your brother came with guile, and he has taken away your blessing." Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." Then he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" Isaac answered Esau, "Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?" Esau said to his father, "Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. Then Isaac his father answered him: "Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose you shall break his yoke from your neck." Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.
He who keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises the word will die. He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed. Discipline your son while there is hope; do not set your heart on his destruction. A man of great wrath will pay the penalty; for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again. Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established. What is desired in a man is loyalty, and a poor man is better than a liar. The fear of the LORD leads to life; and he who has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to his mouth. Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Venerable Nikḗtas the Confessor, Abbot of Medikion
Saint Nikḗtas the Confessor was born in Bithynian Caesarea (northwest Asia Minor) of a pious family. His mother died eight days after his birth, and his father Philaretos became a monk. The child remained in the care of his grandmother, who raised him in a true Christian spirit. From his youth Saint Nikḗtas attended church and was a disciple of the hermit Stephanos. With his blessing, Saint Nikḗtas set off to the Mydicia monastery, where Saint Nikēphóros (March 13) was the igumen.
After seven years of virtuous life at the monastery, famed for its strict monastic rule, Saint Nikḗtas was ordained presbyter. Saint Nikēphóros, knowing the holy life of the young monk, entrusted to him the guidance of the monastery when he himself became ill.
Not wanting power, Saint Nikḗtas devoted himself to the enlightenment and welfare of the monastery. He guided the brethren by his own example. Soon the fame of the lofty life of its inhabitants of the monastery attracted many seeking salvation. After several years, the number of monks had increased to one hundred.
When Saint Nikēphóros departed to the Lord in his old age, the brethren unanimously chose Saint Nikḗtas as igumen.
The Lord granted Saint Nikḗtas the gift of wonderworking. Through his prayer a deaf-mute child received the gift of speech; two demon-possessed women were healed; he restored reason to one who had lost his mind, and many of the sick were healed of their infirmities.
During these years under the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), the Iconoclast heresy resurfaced and oppression increased. Orthodox bishops were deposed and banished. At Constantinople a council of heretics was convened in 815, at which they deposed the holy Patriarch Nikēphóros (806-815), and in his place they chose the heretical layman Theodotus. They also installed heretics in place of exiled and imprisoned Orthodox bishops.
The emperor summoned all the heads of the monasteries and tried to bring them over to the Iconoclast heresy. Among those summoned was Saint Nikḗtas, who stood firmly for the Orthodox confession. Following his example, all the igumens remained faithful to the veneration of holy icons. Therefore, they threw him into prison. Saint Nikḗtas bravely underwent all the tribulations and encouraged firmness of spirit in the other prisoners.
Then the emperor and the false patriarch Theodotus attempted to trick those who remained faithful to Orthodox teaching. They promised that the emperor would give them their freedom and permit the veneration of the icons on one condition: that they take Communion from the pseudo-patriarch Theodotus.
For a long time the saint had doubts about entering into communion with a heretic, but other prisoners begged him to go along with them. Acceding to their entreaties, Saint Nikḗtas went into the church, where icons were put out to deceive the confessors, and he accepted Communion.
But when he returned to his monastery and saw that the persecution against icons was continuing, he then repented of his deed, returned to Constantinople and fearlessly denounced the Iconoclast heresy. He ignored all the emperor’s threats.
Saint Nikḗtas was again locked up in prison for six years until the death of the emperor Leo the Armenian. Enduring hunger and travail, Saint Nikḗtas worked miracles by the power of his prayers: through his prayer the Phrygian ruler released two captives without ransom; three shipwrecked men for whom Saint Nikḗtas prayed, were thrown up on shore by the waves.
Saint Nikḗtas reposed in the Lord in 824. The saint’s body was buried at the monastery with reverence. Later, his relics became a source of healing for those coming to venerate the holy confessor.
Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre
Saint Theodosίa of Tyre lived during the III and IV centuries. Once, during a persecution against Christians, which had already lasted for five years, the seventeen-year-old Theodosίa visited some condemned Christian prisoners in the Praetorium at Caesarea in Palestine. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the Martyrs were speaking about the Kingdom of God. Saint Theodosίa asked them to remember her when they appeared before the Lord.
When the soldiers saw that the girl had bowed to the prisoners, they seized her and led her before the governor, Urban. The governor urged the Saint to offer sacrifice to the idols, but she refused, professing her faith in Christ. Then she was subjected to cruel tortures; her sides and breasts were raked with iron claws until her bones were exposed. She endured this in silence with astonishing courage. Again Urban told her to sacrifice, but she mocked him saying: “Foolish man, why do you persist? Can you not see that I have received everything I prayed for, and that I am honored to share the fate of these Martyrs for Christ?"
After saying this, she was tormented even more severely than before. The holy virgin was cast into the sea with a stone tied around her neck, but Angels rescued her from the depths. Then they tossed her into the arena to be eaten by wild animals. Seeing that the beasts would not touch her, the soldiers beheaded her.
That night Saint Theodosίa appeared to her parents, who had tried to persuade their daughter not to let herself be tortured. She wore radiant garments, a crown upon her head, and held a luminous gold cross in her hand. She said to them, “Behold the great glory of which you wished to deprive me!”
The Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre suffered for Christ on April 3 in the year 307 or 308. She is also commemorated on May 29 (the transfer of her relics to Constantinople, and later to Venice).
No information available at this time.
Saint Illyricus of Mount Myrsinon in the Peloponnesus
Saint Illyricus the Wonderworker devoted himself to ascetic struggles on Mount Myrsinon in the Peloponnesus. The dates of his birth and death are unknown.
Martyrs Elpidephorus, Dius, Bithonius, and Galycus
The Holy Martyrs Elpidephorus, Dius, Bithonius, and Galycus suffered for their faith in Jesus Christ. They cut off the head of Saint Elpidephorus with a sword, Saint Dius was executed by stoning, Saint Bithonius was drowned in the sea, and Saint Galycus was condemned to be eaten by wild beasts.
“Unfading Flower” Icon of the Mother of God
The "Unfading Flower" Icon depicts the Theotokos holding her Divine Son on her right arm, and in her left hand is a bouquet of white lilies. The lilies symbolize the unfading flower of virginity and purity of the Mother of God, to whom the Church sings: “You are the root of virginity and the Unfading Flower of purity.”
In Moscow there are two churches with Icons with this name: the church of the Dormition at Mogil'tsy (December 31), and the Alexeyev Monastery. Other icons of this name are in Kungur (Perm Gubernia); in the former town of Kadome of Tambov Province, namely, in the Merciful Theotokos womens' monastery; and in the Nativity of the Theotokos church of Voronezh.
There is a similar Icon in the church of Saint Nicholas in the village of Budishch (Poltava Gubernia). It resembles a number of very old icons which are also revered in that place. Every year on April 3, many people gather in the village of Budishch to venerate this Icon, along with a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. Several miraculous healings of the sick have occurred before this Icon.