March 12 (old calendar) / March 25 (new)
Ven. Theophanes the Confessor, of Sigriane (818). Righteous Phineas, grandson of Aaron (ca. 1500 B.C.). St. Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome (604). Ven. Simeon the New Theologian (1021).
SAINT THEOPHANES THE CONFESSOR
Saint Theophanes the Confessor was born in 759 at Constantinople into a pious and renowned family. His father was a relative of the Byzantine emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741). Three years after Theophanes was born, his father died, leaving his family under the care of the emperor himself.
Theophanes grew up at the court and became a dignitary under the emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780). His position obliged him to enter into marriage, but he persuaded his bride to live with him in virginity.
After the death of his parents, Theophanes and his wife visited monasteries in the Sygrian district (Asia Minor). Theophanes met the Elder Gregory Stratitios, who predicted to Theophanes’ wife that her husband would earn the crown of martyrdom.
Later the wife of Theophanes was tonsured a nun in one of the monasteries in Bithynia, and Theophanes went to a monastery in the Cyzicus region. With the blessing of his Elder, Theophanes founded the Kalonymon monastery on an island in the Sea of Marmara and secluded himself in his cell, transcribing books. Theophanes attained a high degree of skill in this occupation.
Later, Saint Theophanes founded another monastery in Sygria, at a place called the “Big Settlement”, and became its igumen. He participated in all the work of the monastery, and was an example to all in his love for work and ascetical effort. He received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking, healing the sick, and casting out demons.
The Seventh Ecumenical Council met in Nicea in 787, which condemned the heresy of Iconoclasm. Saint Theophanes was also invited to the Council. He arrived dressed in his tattered garments, but he revealed his wisdom in affirming the veneration of the holy icons.
At the age of fifty, Saint Theophanes fell grievously ill and he suffered terribly until the day he died. Even on his deathbed, the saint continued to work. He wrote his CHRONOGRAPHIA, a history of the Christian Church covering the years 285-813. This work has remained an invaluable source for the history of the Church.
During the reign of the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), when the saint was advanced in age, the Iconoclast heresy returned. They demanded that Saint Theophanes accept the heresy, but he firmly refused and was locked up in prison. His “Big Settlement” monastery was put to the torch. The holy confessor died in 818 after twenty-three days in prison.
After the death of the impious emperor Leo the Armenian, the “Big Settlement” monastery was restored and the relics of the holy confessor were transferred there.
Troparion of the saint, tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile / And by your longing for God you brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illuminated the whole universe. / O our holy Father Theophanes, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
Receiving from God a revelation from the heights, thou swiftly didst leave the turmoil of the world, O Saint; and thou as a monk didst receive the power to perform miracles and the grace of true prophecy, depriving thyself of riches and thy spouse.
Isaiah 8:13-9:7 (6th Hour)
The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.
He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, Be snared and taken.”
Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples.
And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.
Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.
And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentile
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Genesis 6:9-22 (Vespers, 1st Reading)
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
“Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
“And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
“You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
“And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.
“And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
“Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.
“And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”
Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Proverbs 8:1-21 (Vespers, 1st Reading)
Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice?
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet.
She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors:
“To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.
O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.
Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold;
For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength.
By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice.
By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth.
I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness.
My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver.
I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.