July 9 (old calendar) / July 22 (new)
Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina in Sicily (1st c.). Hieromartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna in Crete (3rd-4th c.). Martyrs Patermuthius, Coprius, and Alexander the Soldier, in Egypt (4th c.). St. Theodore, Bishop of Edessa (9th c.). Ven. Dionysius the Orator of St. Anne Skete (Mt. Athos—1606). Ven. Metrophanes, disciple of Ven. Dionysius.
The Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina, was born when our Lord Jesus Christ yet lived upon the earth.
The parents of Pancratius were natives of Antioch. Hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, Pancratius’ father took his young son with him and went to Jerusalem in order to see the great Teacher for himself. The miracles astonished him, and when he heard the divine teaching, he then believed in Christ as the Son of God. He became close with the disciples of the Lord, especially with the holy Apostle Peter. It was during this period that young Pancratius got to know the holy Apostle Peter.
After the Ascension of the Savior, one of the Apostles came to Antioch and baptized the parents of Pancratius together with all their household. When the parents of Pancratius died, he left behind his inherited possessions and went to Pontus and began to live in a cave, spendng his days in prayer and deep spiritual contemplation. The holy Apostle Peter, while passing through those parts, visited Pancratius at Pontus. He took him along to Antioch, and then to Sicily, where the holy Apostle Paul then was. There the holy Apostles Peter and Paul made Saint Pancratius Bishop of Taormina in Sicily.
Saint Pancratius toiled zealously for the Christian enlightenment of the people. In a single month he built a church where he celebrated divine services. The number of believers quickly grew, and soon almost all the people of Taormina and the surrounding cities accepted the Christian Faith.
Saint Pancratius governed his flock peacefully for many years. However, pagans plotted against the saint, and seizing an appropriate moment, they fell upon him and stoned him. Thus, Saint Pancratius ended his life as a martyr.
The saint’s relics are in the church named for him in Rome. He is also commemorated on February 9.
Troparion of the saint, tone 8
As a flaming arrow You were sent from on high / To the throne of Taormina to wound godless impiety / And to illumine the hearts of the faithful, / Confirming them in the faith through the word of God. / And having completed your course You did suffer unto bloodshed. / O Hieromartyr Pancratius, pray for all who praise your memory.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 8
You were a brilliant star in Taormina, O blessed Pancratius, / And You became a hieromartyr for Christ. / Standing before Him now, pray for those who honor you.
Romans 16:17-24 (Epistle)
- Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
- For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
- For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
- And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
- Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.
- I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.
- Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Matthew 13:10-23 (Gospel)
- And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
- He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
- For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
- Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
- And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;
- for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’
- But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
- for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
- Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
- When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
- But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
- yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
- Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
- But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”