Today’s Scripture Readings
6th Hour Reading: Isaiah 14:24-32
The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand: That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died. “Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper, and its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. The firstborn of the poor will feed, and the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, and it will slay your remnant. Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; for smoke will come from the north, and no one will be alone in his appointed times.” What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord has founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
Vespers, 1st Reading: Genesis 8:21-9:7
And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it.”
Vespers, 2nd Reading: Proverbs 11:19-12:6
As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil. He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner. Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them.
Vespers, 3rd, Saint Reading: Composite 2
The memory of the righteous is with praise and the blessing of the Lord is upon his head. Blessed is the man who has found wisdom and the mortal who has understanding. For it is better to purchase her than treasuries of gold and silver. She is more precious than precious stones and all that is precious is unworthy of her. For length of days and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are riches and glory. Out of her mouth proceeds righteousness and she bears law and mercy upon her tongue. Hear me, O child, for I will speak noble things. Blessed is the man who keeps my ways, for my ways are the ways of life, and in them is prepared favor from the Lord. Therefore, I pray thee, and utter my voice to the sons of men: For I, wisdom, have dwelt with counsel and knowledge and I have called upon understanding. Counsel and safety are mine, understanding and strength are mine. I love those who love me and those seeking me shall find grace. Understand craftiness, O you who are simple, and imbibe knowledge, you who are untaught. Hear me again, for I will speak noble things: I will open my mouth and from my lips shall come what is right. For my throat shall meditate truth; false lips are an abomination before me. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing in them that is twisted or perverse. They are all straight to him who understands and right to those who find knowledge. I shall instruct you in truth, so that your hope will be in the Lord and you shall be filled with the Spirit.
Vespers, 4th, Saint Reading: Composite 3
The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. The righteous man who has died will judge the ungodly who are living. For they will see the end of the righteous, and will not understand what was said about him; for the Lord will cast down the ungodly speechless to the ground and shake them from the foundations; they shall become desolate to the end; they will be in sorrows, and their memory will perish. For they will come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them. Then the righteous man will stand with great boldness before those who have afflicted him, and those who have made of no account his labors. Having seen it, they shall be troubled with much fear and they will be amazed at his most-glorious salvation. They will say within themselves in repentance, in anguish of spirit they will groan and say: “This was he whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach – we fools! We accounted his life as madness, and his end to be without honor. How is he numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot among the Saints? “Therefore, we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not illumine us, nor did the sun shine on us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we walked impassable pathways, but the way of the Lord we have not known.”
Vespers, 5th, Saint Reading: Composite 4
The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom; the lips of the wise man know grace. The mouth of the wise speaketh wisdom, and the truth delivereth them from death. If a righteous man dies, hope doth not, for the son of the righteous is born to life, and in his own good things he acquireth the fruit of righteousness. There is always light for the righteous and they obtain grace and glory from the Lord. The tongue of the wise is a good sister-in-law, and in their hearts resteth wisdom. The Lord loveth the hearts of the holy, and acceptable to Him are all the undefiled in the way. The wisdom of the Lord illumineth the faces of the wise. For she takes hold of those desiring her by making herself first known to them. She is easily seen by those who love her. He who rises early to seek her shall have no difficulty, and those keeping vigil for the sake of her shall quickly be without sorrows. For she goeth about seeking those worthy of her, and graciously revealeth herself in the pathways. Against wisdom evil doth not prevail. Therefore I was a lover of her beauty; I loved her and sought her out from my youth. I desired to make her my bride, and even the Master of All loved her. For she is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and a discoverer of His works. Her labors are virtues, for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more necessary for men than these. And if anyone desireth much knowledge, she knoweth the things of old, and beholdeth things to come; she understandeth turns of speech and the solution of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and the outcome of times and seasons. She is a mediator of good things for all, for immortality is in her, and glory in the company of her words. Therefore I appealed to the Lord and prayed to Him, and said to Him with all my heart: “O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, Who hast made all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom hast fashioned man that he should have dominion over the creatures made by Thee, that he should rule the world in holiness and righteousness: Give me wisdom that sits by Thy throne, and cast me not away from among Thy children, for I am Thy servant and the son of Thy handmaid. Send her forth from the heavens, from Thy holy abode, and from the throne of Thy glory, that she may be with me, and instruct me in what is pleasing to Thee. And she shall guide me in understanding, and preserve me in her glory. For the thoughts of mortals are miserable, and their intentions likely to fail.”
Matins Gospel, St. Innocent Reading: John 10:1-9
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Epistle, St. Innocent Reading: Hebrews 7:26-8:2
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
Gospel, St. Innocent Reading: John 10:9-16
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
- Venerable Mary of Egypt
- Venerable Euthymius of Suzdal
- Martyr Abraham of Bulgaria
- Venerable Gerontius the Canonarch of the Kiev Far Caves
- Venerable Macarius the Abbot of Pelecete
- Martyr Gerontius
- Martyr Basilides
- Righteous Achaz (Ahaz)
- St. John Shavteli of Salosi, Bishop of Gaenati, Georgia
- St. Eulogius of Salosi, the Prophet and Fool-for-Christ
- Venerable Barsanuphius of Optina
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Refrain from meat, fish, oil, wine, dairy, and eggs