May 3 (old calendar) / May 16 (new)
Ven. Theodosius, Abbot of the Kiev Caves Monastery and Founder of Cœnobitic Monasticism in Russia (1074). Martyrs Timothy the Reader and his wife Maura of Antinoë in Egypt (ca. 286). St. Peter the Wonderworker, Bishop of Argolis (10th c.). The “SVENSKAYA” Icon of the Most-holy Theotokos (1288).
Saints Timothy and Maura
Saints Timothy and Maura suffered for the faith during the persecution under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Saint Timothy came from the village of Perapa (Egyptian Thebaid), and was the son of a priest named Pikolpossos. He was made a reader among the church clergy, and also a keeper and copyist of divine service books. Saint Timothy was denounced as a keeper of Christian books, which the emperor ordered to be confiscated and burned. They brought Saint Timothy before the governor Arian, who demanded that he hand over the sacred books. They subjected the saint to horrible tortures for his refusal to obey the command. They shoved two red-hot iron rods into his ears, from which the sufferer lost his eyesight and became blind.
Saint Timothy bravely endured the pain and he gave thanks to God, for granting him to suffer for Him. The torturers hung the saint head downwards, putting a piece of wood in his mouth, and they tied a heavy stone to his neck. Saint Timothy’s suffering was so extreme, that even those who tortured him implored the governor to ease up on the torture.
About this time they informed Arian that Timothy had a young wife named Maura, whom he had married only twenty days before. Arian ordered Maura to be brought, hoping that with her present, they could break Saint Timothy’s will. Saint Timothy urged his wife not to fear the tortures, but to follow his path. Saint Maura answered, “I am prepared to die with you,” and she boldly confessed herself a Christian. Arian commanded that the hair be torn from her head, and to cut the fingers off her hands.
Saint Maura underwent the torment with joy and even thanked the governor for the torture, which she endured so that her sins might be forgiven. Then Arian gave orders to throw Saint Maura into a boiling cauldron, but she did not feel any pain, and she remained unharmed. Suspecting that the servants had filled the cauldron with cold water out of sympathy for the martyr, Arian went up and ordered the saint to splash him on the hand with water from the cauldron. When the martyr did this, Arian screamed with pain and drew back his scalded hand. Then, momentarily admitting the power of the miracle, Arian confessed God in Whom Maura believed as the True God, and he ordered her to be released. But the devil still held great power over the governor, and soon he again began to urge Saint Maura to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Having gotten nowhere, Arian was overcome all the more by a satanic rage and he came up with new tortures. Then the people began to murmur and demand a stop to the abuse of this innocent woman. But Saint Maura, turning to the people, said, “Let no one defend me. I have one Defender, God, in Whom I trust.”
Finally, after torturing them for a long time, Arian ordered the martyrs to be crucified. For ten days they hung on crosses facing each other.
On the tenth day of martyrdom the saints offered up their souls to the Lord. This occurred in the year 286. Later, a solemn celebration of the holy martyrs Timothy and Maura was instituted at Constantinople, and a church was built in their honor.
Troparion of the saints, tone 4
Your holy martyrs Timothy and Maura, O Lord, / Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Kontakion of the saints, tone 4
You accepted many humiliations, / And deserved to be crowned by God. / Great and praiseworthy Timothy and Maura, / Intercede with the Lord for us / That we may celebrate your most pure memory; / That He may grant peace to our land and people, / For He is a powerful stronghold for the faithful!
Acts 8:26-39 (Epistle)
- Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.
- So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,
- was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.
- Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
- So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
- And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
- The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
- In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
- So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
- Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
- Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
- Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
- So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
- Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
John 6:40-44 (Gospel)
- And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
- The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
- And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
- Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.
- No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.