Prologue entry for 01/22/23 (read on 02/04/23 on the Old Calendar)
1. The Holy Apostle Timothy
Timothy was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was born in Lystra in Lycaonia of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. The Apostle Paul praised his mother and grandmother because of their sincere faith: I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, as I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and that, I am confident, lives also in you (Ii Timothy 1:4-5). Timothy first met with the great Apostle in Lystra, and was himself a witness when Paul healed the one lame from birth. Later, Timothy was an almost constant traveling companion of Paul, going with him to Achaia, Macedonia, Italy and Spain. Sweet in soul, he was a great zealot for the Faith and a superb preacher. Timothy contributed much to the spreading and establishing of the Christian Faith. Paul calls him my own son in the faith (I Timothy 1:1-2). After Paul’s martyrdom, St. John the Evangelist was Timothy’s teacher. When the Emperor Domentian banished John from Ephesus to the island of Patmos, Timothy remained in Ephesus to serve as bishop. During an idolatrous feast called Katagogium, the pagans, resentful of the Christians, disguised themselves and treacherously attacked Timothy, killing him in about the year 93 A.D. His honorable relics were translated to Constantinople and were interred in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, beside the graves of St. Luke the Evangelist and St. Andrew the First-called.
2. The Venerable Martyr Anastasius
Anastasius was a Persian by birth. His pagan name was Magundat. When Emperor Heraclius fought against the Persians, Magundat deserted to the Christians and went to Jerusalem, where he was baptized and received the name Anastasius. It was not enough for him to be baptized, but in order to give himself completely to serving the Lord, he was also tonsured a monk. Among his other ascetic labors, Anastasius joyfully read the hagiography of the holy martyrs, and in reading them, he moistened the book with his tears and ardently yearned for martyrdom. The Lord finally crowned him with a martyr’s wreath. In prison for a long time, he was cruelly tortured, until Emperor Chozroes pronounced the death sentence. Anastasius was then drowned, and, after removing him from the water, the executioner beheaded him and sent his head to the emperor. He suffered on January 22, 628 A.D., in the town of Bethsaloe near Nineveh.
Hymn Of Praise
Holy Apostles warmed by the Spirit,
Spiritual athletes illumined by the Spirit.
By the victory of Christ they conquered the world;
They conquered the world and established the Church.
As great eagles, they flew mightily;
In torment and in death, they raced bravely.
From the world, they so easily departed,
But from Christ, they could never be separated.
Their love for Christ separated them from everything;
Their love for Christ glorified them for all ages.
Once they were mocked by earthly tyrants;
Now they are crowned with the radiance of eternal day.
Once they were ridiculed by earthly sages;
Now they are brothers of the angels and leaders of the saints!
Pray for us, O eagles of Christ,
That Christ may renew us sinners through the Spirit.
St. Timothy, star among stars,
Help even us by your prayers.
The Orthodox Church possesses an inexhaustible treasury of proofs of life after death. One of the numerous proofs is cited here: an example that simultaneously witnesses that the souls of men live after physical death, and that voluntary obedience leads to blessed eternity. When St. Theodosius the Great founded a monastery, he had only seven monks in the beginning. In order to confirm in these monks the remembrance of death, he ordered them to dig a grave. When the grave was finished, Theodosius stood above the grave, surrounded by the seven monks, and said: “Behold, my children, the grave is ready! Are there any among you who are ready for death, in order to be buried in this grave?” One of them, Basil by name and a priest by rank, fell to his knees and sought a blessing from Theodosius to die. Theodosius ordered that a memorial service be held for the soul of Basil on the third, the ninth and the fortieth day, as is the custom for the deceased. When the fortieth memorial service was completed, Basil, in full health, laid down and died. He was buried in the new grave. On the fortieth day after his burial, Basil appeared among the brethren in the church in the morning, and chanted with them. In the beginning, only Theodosius saw him, and he prayed to God that He would open the eyes of the others. Then the entire brotherhood looked and saw Basil among them. One brother, Letius, joyfully spread his arms and wanted to embrace Basil–but the latter vanished, and Letius heard Basil’s voice saying: “Save yourselves, fathers and brothers, save yourselves.”
Contemplate the lack of concern of the Lord Jesus with regard to food and clothing:
- His lack of concern about Himself, which He showed in His works;
- His lack of concern about food and clothing which He preached to others: So do not worry and say, ‘what are we to eat?’ or ‘what are we to drink?’ or ‘what are we to wear?’ (Matthew 6:31).
on God’s omniscience and providence
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Brethren, the very hairs of your head are all numbered–even more so are the days of your life! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will die before your appointed time, or yet hope that you will somehow be able to extend your life for one day beyond the will of Him Who counts and measures. Let this knowledge teach you meekness and fear of God. The very hairs of your head are all numbered–even more so are your sufferings on earth! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will suffer beyond measure. Fear even less that your sufferings will remain forgotten and unaccounted for by Him Who sees all. This knowledge will teach you patience and confidence toward your Creator and Provider. The very hairs of your head are all numbered- -even more so are your friends and enemies on earth! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will have either too many friends or too many enemies. Neither be afraid that your enemies will overcome you, nor be assured that your friends will defend you. Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend, and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He Who loves you unalterably is your only friend. O Good Lord, Wise Provider, Who knows the number, measure and time of all, banish from us every fear–except the fear of Thee–that through fear of Thee, we may arrive at the pure and holy love for Thee, our Creator and Benefactor. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.