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Sunday, 17th December 2017 --- 8 Kiahk 1734



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Readings for Second Sunday of Kiahk - Abstinence



Vespers

Vespers Psalm

From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 143 : 6 - 6

Chapter 143

6I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.Selah

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.

Vespers Gospel

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint Luke the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all.

Luke 7 : 36 - 50

Chapter 7

36Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat.
37And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
38and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
39Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner."
40And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it."
41"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?"
43Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."
44Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
45You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
47Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."
48Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

And Glory be to God forever.


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Matins

Matins Psalm

From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 71 : 6 - 7

Chapter 71

6By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
7I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.


Matins Gospel

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint Luke the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all.

Luke 11 : 20 - 28

Chapter 11

20But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.
22But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.
23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, "I will return to my house from which I came.'
25And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order.
26Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
27And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
28But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

And Glory be to God forever.


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Liturgy Gospel

Paulines Epistle

Paul, the servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, appointed to the Gospel of God.
A reading from the Epistle of our teacher Paul to the Romans .
May his blessings be upon us.
Amen.

Romans 3 : 1 - 4 : 3

Chapter 3

1What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?
2Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
3For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
4Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."
5But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)
6Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
7For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
8And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
9What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."
13"Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips";
14"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17And the way of peace they have not known."
18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Chapter 4

1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

The grace of God the Father be with you all.
Amen.


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Catholic Epistle

A Reading from Epistle 1 of St. John .
May his blessing be upon us.
Amen.

1 John 1 : 1 - 2 : 2

Chapter 1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--
2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--
3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
5This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Chapter 2

1My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
The world passes away, and its desires; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Amen.


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Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of our fathers the apostles, may their blessings be with us.

Acts 7 : 30 - 34

Chapter 7

30"And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.
31When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,
32saying, "I am the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and dared not look.
33"Then the LORD said to him, "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
34I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt."'

The word of the Lord shall grow, multiply, be mighty, and be confirmed, in the holy Church of God.
Amen.


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Synaxarium

Day 8 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Kiahk, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
Amen.

The Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Kiahk

Departure of St.Heraclas, the Thirteenth Pope of Alexandria

      On this day of the year 240 A.D., the holy father, Pope Heraclas, 13th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was born to pagan parents who believed and were baptized after his birth. They taught him the Greek philosophy, then the Christian wisdom. He also studied the four gospels and the epistles. St. Demetrius, 12th Pope of Alexandria, ordained him deacon, then a priest over the church of Alexandria. He was successful in the ministry and was faithful in all that was entrusted to him. When Abba Demetrius departed, St. Heraclas was chosen as Patriarch. He shepherded the flock of Christ well. He converted many pagans and baptized them. He devoted his efforts to teaching, preaching and instructing the transgressors. He assigned to St. Dionysius the work of judging between the believers, and taking care of their affairs. Pope Heraclas sat on the throne of St. Mark for 13 years and departed in peace.

May his prayers be with us. Amen.

Martyrdom of the Saints : Barbara and Juliana

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On this day also Sts. Barbara and Juliana, were martyred. Barbara was the daughter of a noble man from one of the countries in the east, called Dioscorus, during the days of Maximianus the Emperor, in the beginning of the third Christian century. Because of his strong love for her, he built her a tower to live in. The saint always raised up her eyes to the sky from the top of the tower and contemplated the beauty of the sky and what was in it: the sun, the moon and the stars. She came to the conclusion that they must have an able and wise maker and that would be none other than the Almighty God who created them. Origen, the scholar, happened to be in this area and was informed of the saint. He went to her and taught her the principles of Christianity. There were two windows in the bathroom and she ordered a third one to be opened and a cross to be placed over the water basin. When her father came to see her and saw the changes that were done, he asked her for the reason. She told him, "Don't you know, my father, that with the Holy Trinity everything is complete, and here are three windows in the name of the Holy Trinity. This sign is the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein was the salvation of the whole world. I ask you, 0 my dear father, to turn away from the wrong way that you are in and worship the God Who created you."

      When her father heard these words, he became angry, drew his sword and ran after her. She fled, and he ran after her. There was a rock in front of her that split into two halves and she went through. The rock then returned to its earlier state. Her father went around the rock and found her hidden in a cave. He jumped over her like a wolf, seized her and took her to Marcianus, the governor. The Governor talked to her kindly, promising her many things. Then he threatened her, but could not take away her love for the Lord Christ. Thereupon, he ordered her to be tortured with different kinds of torture. There was a damsel called Juliana, who watched St. Barbara while she was being tortured and wept for her. Juliana saw the Lord Christ strengthening and comforting St. Barbara; she was enlightened and believed in the Lord Christ. They cut off her head and that of St. Barbara and they both received the crown of martyrdom. St. Barbara's father perished shortly after and so did the Governor who tortured her. The water of the basin that had the cross over it in the tower had the power to heal everyone who washed with it. They placed the bodies of these two saints in a church outside of the city of Galatia. Years later, they relocated the body of St. Barbara to the church in Cairo which is named after her to this day.

May Their prayers be with us. Amen.

Martyrdom of the Saints : Esi and His Sister Thecla

      On this day also was the martyrdom of St. Esi and his sister Thecla. They were from the city of Abu-Sair, west of El-Ashmunein. St. Esi was a very rich man. He gave the money which he earned from the shearing of his sheep to the needy. When Esi knew that his friend Paul, whom he visited often for trading, was seriously ill in the city of Alexandria, he went to visit him and remained with him until he recovered from his illness. They both agreed to visit the saints who were in prison because of the persecution. Some of the saints in prison prophesied that they would receive the crown of martyrdom. That was during the time when St. Victor, the son of Romanus (Ebn-Romanus) came to Alexandria. When Esi and Paul knew of his good strife and of his renouncing of the world, they wished to follow his example. Esi went to the Governor and confessed the Lord Christ. The Governor ordered him to be tortured with the most severe kinds of torture such as making him take off his clothes, binding and squeezing him, then placing burning torches on his sides. They also ordered him to be cast on the ground and beaten with whips, and to dismember parts of his body. Through it all he was patient, and the Angel of the Lord strengthened him and healed his wounds. Paul, his friend, was crying and praying along with his servants for Esi's sake. The Angel of the Lord appeared to his sister Thecla and ordered her to go to her brother. She went to the seashore and embarked on one of the ships. Therein, the Virgin, the Mother of God, and Elizabeth, her kinswoman, appeared to her and comforted her because of her brother. Elizabeth told her, "I have a son; they beheaded him unjustly," and St. Mary told her, "I have a Son whom they crucified with envy." Thecla did not recognize them at that time. When she met her brother, they agreed together and went to the Governor confessing the Lord Christ. He tortured them severely on the squeezing wheel (Hinbazeen), burned them with fire, nailed them, and flayed the skin of their heads. But the Lord healed, strengthened, and comforted them. When the Governor became weary of torturing them, he handed them to his son, the Governor of the city of Antione (Ansena) in Upper Egypt. When they had sailed for a short while, the wind died down so the boat stopped. The Governor ordered the heads of Esi and Thecla, his sister, to be cut off and cast into the weeds and the wild plants on the banks. They did so and thus they received the crown of martyrdom. The Lord commanded a priest called Abba Ori (Ari) from Shatanouf to go and take their holy bodies. As for Paul, Esi's friend, and Ablanius, the son of Thecla, they were martyred later on.

May Their intercession be with us. Amen.

Departure of St.Samuel the Abbot of the Qualamon Monastery (Abba Samuel the Confessor)

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Also on this day the saint Abba Samuel, the head of El-Qualamon Monastery, departed. He was born in the city of Dakluba, diocese of Masil, from holy parents and he was their only child. Arselaos, his father, who was a priest, saw in a vision at night, a resplendent man telling him, "Your son must be entrusted with a large congregation, for he is chosen by the Lord to be His all the days of his life." Samuel was pure from his youth, like Samuel the prophet, and he was always harboring thoughts in his heart about the monastic life. One day he found a means to go to the desert of Scete, but he did not know the way. The Angel of the Lord, in the form of a monk, appeared to him and accompanied him as he was himself going to the monastery, until they came to the desert of Scete. There, the Angel delivered him to a holy man called Abba Agathon who accepted him as the Angel of the Lord instructed. Abba Samuel lived with Abba Agathon for three years in total obedience in every way. Later on, the holy old man Abba Agathon departed. Abba Samuel devoted himself to many prayers and fasting. He fasted a week at a time. He was ordained a priest over the church of St. Macarius in Scete.

      An envoy came to the desert carrying Leo's Tome and when the envoy read it to the elders, Abba Samuel became zealous, with the zeal of the Lord. He jumped up in the middle of the gathered monks and seized the letter and rent it into pieces saying, "Excommunicated is this tome and everyone who believes in it and cursed is everyone who might change the Orthodox faith of our Holy Fathers." When the envoy saw this, he became furious and angry. He ordered him to be beaten with pins and to be hanged up by his arms, and that his face be smitten. One of these strikes enucleated one of St. Samuel's eyes. Then he was driven away from the monastery. The Angel of the Lord appeared to St. Samuel and commanded him to depart and to dwell in El-Qualamon. He went there and built a monastery, lived in it for a while teaching those gathered around him and confirming them in the Orthodox faith. When El-Moquakas heard about Abba Samuel, he came to him and asked him to recognize the Council of Chalcedon. When he did not listen to him, he smote him and expelled him out of the monastery. He went and lived in one of the churches and after a while he returned to the monastery.

      When the Barbers raided the monastery, they took him with them on their way back to their country. He prayed to the Lord Christ to rescue him from them. Whenever they set him on a camel, the camel was unable to stand up with him on it, so they left him and he went back to his monastery. When the Barbers raided the wilderness again, they took St. Samuel with them to their country. They had captured before Abba Yoannis the heagomen (Archpriest) of Scete. So they were joined together and comforted each other. The captive of Abba Samuel tried to persuade him to worship the sun. When he failed, he tied the leg of Abba Samuel to the leg of one of his maidens and sent them to attend to the camels. He intended for Abba Samuel to fall into sin with her and then he would submit to him, according to Satan's advice. Through it all, the saint was gaining more courage and became stout-hearted. He remained in these circumstances until the master's son fell ill and was close to death; Abba Samuel prayed for him and the boy was healed of his sickness. The news was spread all over this country and whosoever was sick came to him; he prayed over him and anointed him with oil and the sick were healed. His master loved him exceedingly, he apologized and asked for Abba Samuel's forgiveness. He told him to ask for anything he wished. Abba Samuel asked to go back to his monastery. His master allowed him to return. When Abba Samuel returned, many of his sons gathered around him and they increased in number until they became thousands. The Virgin, St. Mary, appeared to him and told him, "This place shall be my abode forever," and from that day the Barbarians never attacked this monastery again. Abba Samuel wrote many discourses and articles. He prophesied concerning the coming of Islam to Egypt. When the time of his departure drew near, he gathered together his sons and commanded them to be strong in the fear of God, to walk according to His commandments and to fight for the sake of the Orthodox faith till their last breath. Then he departed in peace.

May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen. On this day also is the departure of St. Yustus, the monk of St. Anthony's monastery.


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Divine Psalm

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint John the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all. Amen.
From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet, and the Good King.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 44 : 9 - 10

Chapter 44

9But You have cast us off and put us to shame, And You do not go out with our armies.
10You make us turn back from the enemy, And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.


Hallelujah.


Divine Gospel

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.

Luke 1 : 26 - 38

Chapter 1

26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


And Glory be to God forever.


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