Afterfeast of Ascension.
Martyr Aquilina of Byblos in Syria (293). St. Triphyllius, Bishop of Leucosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus (ca. 370). Ven. Andronicus (1395), disciple of Ven. Sergius of Rádonezh, and Ven. Savva (Sabbas), Abbots, of Moscow (15th c.). Martyr Antonina of Nicæa (3rd-4th c.). St. Anna and her son, St. John, of Constantinople (9th c.).
The Holy Martyr Aquilina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was only twelve years old, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian accused her of teaching others not to follow the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ before the governor and said that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried to influence the young confessor through persuasion and by flattery, but seeing her confidence, he ordered her to be tortured.
They struck her upon the face, then they stripped her and beat her with whips. The torturer asked, “Where then is your God? Let Him come and take you out of my hands”.
The saint answered, “The Lord is here with me invisibly, and the more I suffer, the more strength and endurance will He give me.”
They drilled through the martyr’s ears with heated metal rods. The holy virgin fell down as if dead. The torturer thought that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw her body outside the city to be eaten by dogs.
By night a holy angel appeared to Saint Aquilina, roused her and said, “Arise and be healed. Go and denounce Volusian, so that he and his plans may come to nothing.”
The martyr went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing Saint Aquilina, he called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning.
In the morning he sentenced Saint Aquilina to death, saying that she was a sorceress who did not obey the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God for allowing her to suffer for His Holy Name.
A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the heavenly Kingdom. Before the executioner could carry out the sentence, the martyr gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the governor’s orders, so he cut off her head although she was already dead.
Christians piously buried the martyr’s body. Later, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed in a church named for her.
Troparion of the Ascension, tone 4
O Christ God, You have ascended in Glory, / Granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. / Through the blessing they were assured / That You are the Son of God, / The Redeemer of the world!
Troparion of the saint, tone 4
Your lamb Aquilina, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love.” / Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 3
You ascended to the heights through martyrdom, all-honorable Aquilina, / having purified your soul through the virtues of your virginity. / You were wounded with love for Christ your bridegroom, / before whom you stand rejoicing with the angels; / together with them unceasingly pray for us all.
Kontakion of the Ascension, tone 6
When You had fulfilled the dispensation for our sake, / and united earth to heaven: / You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, / not being parted from those who love You, / but remaining with them and crying: / “I am with you and no one will be against you!”
Acts 25:13-19 (Epistle)
- And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
- When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix,
- about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.
- To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’
- Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in.
- When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed,
- but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
John 16:23-33 (Gospel)
- And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
- Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
- These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.
- In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
- for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
- I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
- His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!
- Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
- Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?
- Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
- These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”