June 1st (old calendar) / June 14 (new)
Leavetaking of the Ascension.
Martyr Justin the Philosopher and those with him at Rome: Martyrs Justin, Chariton and his wife, Charity, Euelpistus, Hierax, Peon, Valerian, and Justus (166 A.D.). Ven. Dionysius, Abbot of Glushitsa (Vologdá—1437). Ven. Agápit, Unmercenary Physician, of the Kiev Caves (11th c.).
The Holy Martyr Justin the Philosopher was born around 114 at Sychem, an ancient city of Samaria. Justin’s parents were pagan Greeks. From his childhood the saint displayed intelligence, love for knowledge and a fervent devotion to the knowledge of Truth. When he came of age he studied the various schools of Greek philosophy: the Stoics, the Peripatetics, the Pythagoreans, the Platonists, and he concluded that none of these pagan teachings revealed the way to knowledge of the true God.
Once, when he was strolling in a solitary place beyond the city and pondering about where to seek the way to the knowledge of Truth, he met an old man. In the ensuing conversation he revealed to Justin the essential nature of the Christian teaching and advised him to seek the answers to all the questions of life in the books of Holy Scripture. “But before anything else,” said the holy Elder, “pray diligently to God, so that He might open to you the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless he is granted understanding from God Himself, Who reveals it to each one who seeks Him in prayer and in love.”
In his thirtieth year, Justin accepted holy Baptism (between the years 133 and 137). From this time Saint Justin devoted his talents and vast philosophical knowledge to preaching the Gospel among the pagans. He began to journey throughout the Roman Empire, sowing the seeds of faith. “Whosoever is able to proclaim Truth and does not proclaim it will be condemned by God,” he wrote.
Justin opened a school of Christian philosophy. Saint Justin subsequently defended the truth of Christian teaching, persuasively confuting pagan sophistry (in a debate with the Cynic philosopher Crescentius) and heretical distortions of Christianity. He also spoke out against the teachings of the Gnostic Marcian.
In the year 155, when the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) started a persecution against Christians, Saint Justin personally gave him an Apology in defense of two Christians innocently condemned to execution, Ptolemy and Lucias. The name of the third remains unknown.
In the Apology he demonstrated the falseness of the slander against Christians accused unjustly for merely having the name of Christians. The Apology had such a favorable effect upon the emperor that he ceased the persecution. Saint Justin journeyed, by decision of the emperor, to Asia Minor where they were persecuting Christians with particular severity. He proclaimed the joyous message of the imperial edict throughout the surrounding cities and countryside.
The debate of Saint Justin with the Rabbi Trypho took place at Ephesus. The Orthodox philosopher demonstrated the truth of the Christian teaching of faith on the basis of the Old Testament prophetic writings. Saint Justin gave an account of this debate in his work Dialogue with Trypho the Jew.
A second Apology of Saint Justin was addressed to the Roman Senate. It was written in the year 161, soon after Marcus Aurelius (161-180) ascended the throne.
When he returned to Italy, Saint Justin, like the Apostles, preached the Gospel everywhere, converting many to the Christian Faith. When the saint arrived at Rome, the envious Crescentius, whom Justin always defeated in debate, brought many false accusations against him before the Roman court. Saint Justin was put under guard, subjected to torture and suffered martyrdom in 165. The relics of Saint Justin the Philosopher rest in Rome.
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
O Justin, teacher of divine knowledge, / You shone with the radiance of true philosophy. / You were wisely armed against the enemy. / Confessing the truth you contended alongside the martyrs, / With them, ever entreat Christ our God to save our souls!
Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
The whole Church of God is adorned with the wisdom of your divine words, O Justin; / the world is enlightened by the radiance of your life. / By the shedding of your blood, you have received a crown. / As you stand before Christ with the angels, pray unceasingly 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 27:1-44 (Epistle)
- And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.
- So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.
- And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.
- When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
- And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
- There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.
- When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.
- Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
- Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,
- saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
- Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
- And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.
- When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.
- But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.
- So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.
- And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.
- When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.
- And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
- On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.
- Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
- But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
- And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
- For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
- saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
- Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
- However, we must run aground on a certain island.”
- Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.
- And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms.
- Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.
- And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,
- Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”
- Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.
- And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.
- Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”
- And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.
- Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.
- And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.
- So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.
- When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible.
- And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.
- But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.
- And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.
- But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,
- and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
John 17:18-26 (Gospel)
- As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
- And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
- I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
- that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
- And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
- I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
- Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
- O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.
- And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”