4th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 3.
Fathers of the 1st Six Ecumenical Councils.
Apostle Aquila of the Seventy (1st c.). Ven. Stephen, Abbot of Mákhrishche (Vologdá—1406). Martyr Justus at Rome (1st c.). Ven. Ellius (Hellius), of Egypt (4th c.). Ven. Onesimus of Magnesia (4th c.). Repose of Ven. Nicodemos the Hagiorite (1809).
SAINT APOSTLE AQUILA
Saint Aquila, Apostle of the 70: It is possible that he was a disciple of the Apostle Paul, a native of Pontus and a Jew, living in the city of Rome with his wife Priscilla (they are commemorated on February 13 on the Greek Calendar). During the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-54) all the Jews were banished from Rome, so Saint Aquilla and his wife were compelled to leave. They settled in Corinth. A short while later, the holy Apostle Paul arrived there from Athens preaching the Gospel. Having made the acquaintance of Aquila, he began to live at his house and labored together with him, making tents.
Having received Baptism from the Apostle Paul, Aquila and Priscilla bacame his devoted and zealous disciples. They accompanied the apostle to Ephesus. The Apostle Paul instructed them to continue the preaching of the Gospel at Ephesus, and he himself went to Jerusalem, in order to be present for the feast of Pentecost. At Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla heard the bold preaching of a newcomer from Alexandria, the Jew Apollos. He had been instructed in the fundamentals of the Faith, but knew only the baptism of John the Forerunner. They called him over and explained more precisely about the way of the Lord.
After the death of the emperor Claudius, Jews were permitted to return to Italy, and Aquila and Priscilla then returned to Rome. The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans recalls his faithful disciples, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who put forth their heads for my soul, whom I do not alone thank, but also all the Church of the Gentiles and the church of their household” (Rom. 16: 3-4). Saint Aquila did not long dwell in Rome: the Apostle Paul made him a bishop in Asia. Saint Aquila zealously labored at preaching the Gospel in Asia, Achaia and Heraklia. He converted pagans to Christ, he confirmed newly-converted Christians in the faith, he established presbyters and destroyed idols. Saint Priscilla constantly assisted him in the apostolic work. Saint Aquila ended his life a martyr: pagans murdered him. According to the Tradition of the Church, Saint Priscilla was killed together with him.
Troparion of the Sunday, tone 3
Let the heavens rejoice, / let the earth be glad! / For the Lord has shown might with His arm,/ He has trampled down death by death. / He has become the first-born of the dead. / He has delivered us from the depths of hell, / and has granted the world great mercy!
Troparion of the Fathers of the first six councils, tone 8
You are most glorious, O Christ our God! / You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth! / Through them you have guided us to the true faith! / O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!
Kontakion of the Fathers of the first six councils, tone 8
The Apostles’ preaching and the Fathers’ doctrines have established one faith for the Church. / Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology, / It defines and glorifies the great mystery of Orthodoxy!
Kontakion of the Sunday, tone 3
On this day Thou didst rise from the tomb, O Merciful One, / leading us from the gates of death. / On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; / with the prophets and patriarchs they unceasingly praise / the divine majesty of Thy power!
Romans 6:18-23 (Epistle)
- And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
- I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
- For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
- What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
- But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 8:5-13 (Gospel)
- Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
- saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
- And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
- The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
- For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
- When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
- And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
- But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.