April 18 
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April 18

Great Lent
Ven. John, disciple of Ven. Gregory of Decapolis (9th c.). Martyrs Victor, Zoticus, Zeno, Acindynus, and Severian, of Nicomedia (303). St. Cosmas, Bishop of Chalcedon, and his fellow ascetic, St. Auxentius (815-820). New Martyr John the New of Epirus (1526). Ven. Evfimii (Euthymius), Enlightener of Karelia.

Saint John of Decapolis

18 avril

Saint John was born at the end of the eighth century. At a young age he became a disciple of Saint Gregory of Decapolis (November 20) and accepted monastic tonsure from him at a monastery in Thessalonica. Under the guidance of this experienced teacher, Saint John attained great spiritual perfection.

When the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820) renewed the persecution against Orthodox Christians because they venerated the holy icons, Saint Gregory of Decapolis and Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (April 4) and his disciple Saint John went from Thessalonica to Constantinople, to raise opposition to the Iconoclast heresy.

In spite of persecution, Saints Gregory and John fearlessly defended Orthodoxy for several years, and preached the veneration of icons. After many hardships Saint Gregory died (around 820), and soon after, his faithful disciple John also departed to the Lord. Saint Joseph the Hymnographer transferred the relics of Saints Gregory and John and placed them in the church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.

Troparion of the saint, tone 8

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, venerable John, rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 1

Blessed John, with the Lord’s Cross upon your shoulder, / you climbed to the summit of virtues. / In place of passing pleasures / you attained the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Isaiah 65:8-16 (6th Hour)

8
Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,’ so will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all.
9
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.
10
Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me.
11
“But you are those who forsake the Lord, who forget My holy mountain, who prepare a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for Meni.
12
Therefore I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.”
13
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; Behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed;
14
Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit.
15
You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; for the Lord God will slay you, and call His servants by another name;
16
so that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes.

Genesis 46:1-7 (Vespers, 1st reading)

1
So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2
Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!” And he said, “Here I am.”
3
So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.
4
“I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”
5
Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6
So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him.
7
His sons and his sons’ sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

Proverbs 23:15-24:5 (Vespers, 2nd reading)

15
My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice – indeed, I myself;
16
yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things.
17
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
18
for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.
19
Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way.
20
Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
22
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.
25
Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.
26
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
27
For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well.
28
She also lies in wait as for a victim, and increases the unfaithful among men.
29
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30
Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine.
31
Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;
32
at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.
33
Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.
34
Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35
“They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
1
Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them;
2
For their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.
3
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
4
By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5
A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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