In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
By the intercessions of Thine All-immaculate Mother and of all Thy Saints, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen
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Hebrews 12:25-26; 13:22-25
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. Grace be with you all. Amen.
And the Pharisees came to Him, and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?" tempting Him. And He answered and said unto them, "What did Moses command you?" And they said, "Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away." And Jesus answered and said unto them, "For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter. And He saith unto them, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."
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HIEROMARTYR ELEUTHERIUS, BISHOP OF ILLYRICUM, AND HIS MOTHER THE HOLY MARTYR ANTHIA
ST STEPHEN THE CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF SOUROZH
Troparion of Hieromartyr Eleutherius Tone 5
Adorned with the robe of priest/ and stained with streams of blood,/ O wise and blessed Eleutherius,/ thou didst hasten to Christ thy Master,/ O overthrower of Satan./ Unceasingly pray for those who faithfully honour thy contest.
Troparion of St Stephen of Sourozh Tone 4
Solitary dweller with the Bodiless Hosts,/ thou didst take the Cross as thy weapon and stand firm against the iconoclasts and Macedonians;/ they would not worship the icon of Christ our God,/ but thou didst cut out all wicked heresies./ Then as one who had received the martyr's crown/ thou didst deliver thy city, Sourozh, from all enemies./ And now we implore you, O Stephen, that we may be delivered from temptations and eternal torments.
Kontakion of Hieromartyr Eleutherius Tone 2
We all praise and entreat thee, Hieromartyr Eleutherius,/ adornment of priests, encouragement of martyrs:/ free from danger those who lovingly celebrate thy memory;/ and pray unceasingly for us all.
Kontakion of St Stephen of Sourozh Tone 3
Strengthened by the power of the Most High God,/ thou didst overcome the iconoclasts of the royal house./ Today the glory of thy relics belong to Sourozh and to us faithful,/ and the Angelic Orders bear them triumphantly./ With songs and hymns they glorify thee, O great Saint Stephen.
SUNDAY OF THE HOLY FOREFATHERS
Troparion Tone 2
Thou didst justify the Forefathers by faith,/ when of old through them Thou didst betroth Thyself to the Church of the nations./ The Saints rejoice in the glorious fruit of their seed,/ even in her who bore Thee seedlessly./ By their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Kontakion Tone 2
An image made with hands you would not worship, O thrice blessed three;/ but protected by the ineffable Essence you were glorified in your ordeal by fire./ From the midst of the devouring flames you called upon God, crying:/ Hasten, O compassionate One,/ in Thy mercy come to our aid,/ for if Thou willest Thou canst.
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The Hieromartyr Eleutherius
A good fruit of a good tree, this wonderful saint had noble and eminent parents. He was born in Rome, where his father was in imperial service. His mother, Anthea, heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul himself, and was baptised by him. Being early left a widow, she entrusted her only son to the education and service of the Bishop of Rome, Anacietus. Seeing how greatly Eleutherius was gifted and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him deacon at the age of fifteen, priest at eighteen and bishop at twenty. Endowed by God with wisdom, he made up for what he lacked in years. This godly man was made bishop in Illyria, with his seat at Valona in Albania. He kept his flock like a good shepherd, adding to their number from day to day. The Emperor Hadrian, a persecutor of Christians, sent a commander, Felix, with soldiers, to seize Eleutherius and take him to Rome. When the furious Felix arrived in Valona and went into the church, and heard and saw God's holy hierarch, his heart was suddenly changed and he became a Christian. Eleutherius baptised him and set off with him for Rome, as merrily as though he were going to a feast, not to trial and torture. The Emperor put the gently-born Eleutherius to harsh torture, flogging him, burning him on an iron grid, boiling him in pitch and burning him in a fiery furnace. But, by God's power, Eleutherius was delivered from all these deadly torments. Seeing all this, Choribus the governor proclaimed that he himself was a Christian. Choribus was tortured and then beheaded, and so also blessed Felix. Finally, the imperial executioners cut off the honoured head of St Eleutherius. When his mother, holy Anthea, came and stood over the dead body of her son, she was also beheaded. Their bodies were taken to Valona, where St Eleutherius glorifies the name of Christ to this day by many wonders. He suffered in the time of Hadrian, in the year 120.
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St Stephen the Confessor of Sourozh
Born in Cappadocia and educated under the care of the Patriarch, St Germanus, he went off into solitude and lived hidden from the world. An angel appeared to St Germanus and told him to make Stephen bishop of the town of Sourozh (now Sudak in the Crimea), and this the Patriarch did. Stephen brought many to the Christian faith by his zeal, and suffered much at the hands of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian because of his, Stephen's, struggle against the iconoclasts, prophesying to the Emperor his imminent decease. After the evil death of this evil ruler, Stephen returned to his diocese and was pastor to his flock as a true man of God, departing this life peacefully at the end of the eighth century.
The Prologue From Ochrid
of St. Nikolai (Velimirovic) Bishop of Zhicha