Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907

Scripture Readings for Today

All Scripture Readings
Feasts and Saints Commemorated Today

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord
Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord

On the first day of the Afterfeast of the Transfiguration, the hymns of Vespers speak of the amazement of the Apostles when they saw Christ transfigured before them. The Savior’s equality with the Father is also stressed, for He who covers Himself with light as with a garment is now…

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Martyr Dometius of Persia and his two disciples
Martyr Dometius of Persia and his two disciples

Saint Dometius lived in Persia during the fourth century. In his youth he was converted to the Faith by a Christian named Uaros. Forsaking Persia, he withdrew to the frontier city of Nisibis (in Mesopotamia), where he was baptized in one of the monasteries, and also received the monastic tonsure.…

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First finding of the relics of Saint Metrophanes, first Bishop of Voronezh
First finding of the relics of Saint Metrophanes, first Bishop of Voronezh

The Uncovering of the Relics of Saint Metrophanes, Bishop of Voronezh (1832): The memory of the deep piety and pastoral virtues of Saint Metrophanes (Macarius, in the schema) was revered at Voronezh from the time of his death (November 23, 1703). His successors, the Voronezh hierarchs, considered…

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Venerable Pimen the Much-Ailing of the Kiev Near Caves
Venerable Pimen the Much-Ailing of the Kiev Near Caves

Saint Pimen the Much-ailing attained the Kingdom of Heaven by enduring grievous illness. This Russian ascetic was both born and grew up sickly, but his illness preserved him from illness of the soul. For a long time he besought his parents to send him to the Kiev Caves monastery. When they brought…

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Venerable Pimen the Faster of the Kiev Caves
Venerable Pimen the Faster of the Kiev Caves

Saint Pimen, Faster of the Caves, labored in the Far Caves. His abstinence was such that he ate food only once a day, and only in the most necessary quantity. His outward fasting corresponded to an inward abstemiousness from any actions, thoughts or feelings, displeasing to God. Saint Pimen was…

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Saint Mercurius, Bishop of Smolensk, Kiev Near Caves

Saint Mercurius of Kiev Caves Lavra was an ascetic in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosios during the XIV century, and was a strict observer of the Church's fasts. He probably succeeded Bishop Lazarus as the Bishop of Smolensk, and with his flock, he experienced the horrors of Batu's invasion in…

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Martyr Marinus the Soldier at Caesarea in Palestine
Martyr Marinus the Soldier at Caesarea in Palestine

The Holy Martyr Marinus (December 16) was a soldier during the reign of the pagan emperors Valerian (253-259) and his son Gallienus (260-268). When he was about to be promoted to centurion, Marinus refused to swear the customary oath invoking the pagan gods, or to offer sacrifice to idols. Saint…

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Martyr Asterius the Senator at Caesarea, in Palestine
Martyr Asterius the Senator at Caesarea, in Palestine

The Holy Martyr Asterius the Senator lived during the reign of the pagan emperors Valerian (253-259) and his son Gallienus (260-268). Although he was a Roman senator, Asterius nonetheless held firmly to the Christian Faith, in spite of the persecutions occurring during those times. Once, while in…

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Venerable Horus of the Thebaid, Egypt

Saint Horus in his youth withdrew into the Thebaid desert and struggled in complete solitude for many years, leading the life of a strict hermit. Having advanced in years, Saint Horus was granted to see an angel, who announced that the Lord had destined him for the salvation of the many people who…

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Virgin Martyr Potamia the Wonderworker

The Holy Martyr Potamia the Wonderworker died under the sword. Sometimes the saint is incorrectly listed as Saint Potamius the Wonderworker.

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Venerable Dometius of Philotheou, Mount Athos

Saint Dometius was an Athonite Elder. He pursued silence at the Philotheou monastery together with the Hieromartyr Damian of Philotheou (February 23), who suffered under cruel tortures by the Turks in the year 1568.

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Valaam Icon of the Mother of God
Valaam Icon of the Mother of God

One of the greatest treasures in the possession of the Monastery of New Valamo in Heinävesi, Finland is the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God of Valaam. Painted on lime wood, the 132 x 79.5 cm icon depicts the Virgin Mary as a full-length figure standing on a cloud with lowered gaze,…

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Venerable Anthony of Optina

Saint Anthony (Putilov) was born on March 9, 1795 in the town of Romanov in the Yaroslavl province, and was baptized with the name Alexander. His siblings were called Timothy, Jonah, Basil, Cyril, and Anysia. John Putilov named all his children after the saint commemorated on the eighth day after…

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Saint Theodora of Sihla
Saint Theodora of Sihla

Saint Theodora of Sihla, who is one of the greatest of Romania’s women ascetics, was born in the village of Vânatori in Neamts County in the first half of the seventeenth century, and was one of the two daughters of Stephen Joldea and his wife. In her youth, Saint Theodora experienced…

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Saint Nicanor, Wonderworker of Mount Calistratus
Saint Nicanor, Wonderworker of Mount Calistratus

No information available at this time.

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Saint Theodosius the New, Healer of Peloponnesus
Saint Theodosius the New, Healer of Peloponnesus

No information available at this time.

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Holy Мartyr Mercurius of Smolensk

When the hordes of Batu Khan approached Smolensk in 1238, in the service of the Prince of Smolensk was a Roman soldier from a noble Orthodox family, who was Orthodox himself. His name was Mercurius. He was tall, courageous, and strong. It saddened him to see the destruction of so many churches, and…

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Saint Nárcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem

Saint Nárcissus was the thirtieth (or thirty-first) Bishop of Jerusalem after Saint James the Brother of the Lord (October 23). He was a temperate, philanthropic, instructive, and uncompromising man in the performance of his duties, without being hindered by his enemies. The Church historian…

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The Prologue of Ochrid

The Prologue of Ohrid: August 7

1. THE VENERABLE MARTYR DOMETIUS

Dometius was born in Persia as a pagan during the reign of Emperor Constantine. He became acquainted with the Faith of Christ as a young man, abandoned paganism and was baptized. So much did Dometius love the True Faith that he left everything worldly and was tonsured a monk in a monastery near the town of Nisibis. He lived for some time among the brethren and then withdrew to a life of silence to be with an a certain elder Archmandrite Urbel, about whom it is said that he did not eat anything cooked for sixty years. The elder Urbel ordained Dometius a deacon and when he wanted to compel him to receive the rank of a priest, Dometius withdrew to an isolated mountain and settled in a cave. He attained such a high degree of perfection through fasting, prayer, all night vigils and godly-thoughts that he cured the sick. When Julian the Apostate came to those regions, he heard of Dometius and sent men, who sealed him alive in the cave along with two of his disciples. Thus, this saint of God died and took up habitation in the Kingdom of God in the year 363 A.D.

2. THE VENERABLE OR, HERMIT OF THEBAID

Or attained great perfection through the greatest mortification. When he firmly established himself and attained holiness in solitude, he then gradually established several monasteries and was a superb spiritual leader and teacher of many monks. Rufinus, who visited him describes Or in the following way: "In his dress [habit], he resembled an angel of God; a ninety-year old elder with a long beard, as white as snow; externally was very pleasant. His gaze shone with something super human." Often times, he saw the angels of God. He especially endeavored never to speak an untruth. He had great temptations from the demons but overpowered them all soberly and courageously. He received Holy Communion daily. On one occasion, one of his disciples reminded him that the Feast of the Resurrection had come and that it should be celebrated. Hearing this, Or came out, raised his hands to heaven and spent three days in prayer without rest. He explained to his disciple: "For the monk, this is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ: to elevate his mind and to unite it with God." He rested in deep old age about the year 390 A.D.

3. THE HOLY MARTYRS MARINUS AND ASTERIUS

Marinus was a soldier and Asterius was a Roman senator. At the time of Emperor Gallienus, St. Marinus served as a soldier in Caesarea in Palestine. Marinus was beheaded for the sake of the Faith of Christ. Asterius, the senator, also a Christian, was present at his martyrdom. He removed his dolman and, with it, wrapped the body of the martyr, placed it on his shoulders, took it and honorably buried it. Seeing this, the pagans beheaded him also. They both died honorably for Christ about the year 260 A.D.

4. THE VENERABLE PIMEN, [POEMEN] THE GREATLY AFFLICTED ONE

Pimen was sickly from his youth and from his youth desired the monastic life. Brought to the Lavra of the Caves in Kiev for healing, he remained there until his death. Pimen prayed to God, more for sickness, than for health. At night, angels appeared to him and tonsured him a monk. On that occasion, the angels informed him that he will be ill until his death and, just before his death, will become healthy. And so, it was. Pimen was bedridden for twenty years. He worked miracles during his lifetime and was unusually discerning. Just prior to his death, he rose from the bed completely whole and immediately prepared a grave for himself. He rested in the Lord in the year 1110 A.D.

5. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR NARCISSUS, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM

Narcissus was beheaded at the time of Antoninus in the year 213 A.D. being one hundred sixteen years of age.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT OR, HERMIT OF THEBAID

To the monks, honor; to the monk's glory,

Head of the monks, Or, the all-wise Abba,

With great labor, with many sighs,

Of a true monk, reached perfection.

Teach us a lesson, they once pleaded to him!

Never tell a lie, speak the truth.

I know a man, who never swore,

Never lied, never wished evil to another.

Then the elder after his reply, remained silent.

Then holy Sisoes asked of Or:

Tell me father some instruction.

"Live," Or said to him, "as you see me!"

Tell me more clearly, how should I see you.

Everyman, a secret within himself conceals?

Again Or said to him: Behold, to you I am speaking:

Of all God's things, myself I consider the worse.

Paul, the disciple, Or taught thusly:

For from every sin you will easily flee

But only from evil conversation, if you flee,

For from this evil, every other sin sprouts

To the soul of a man, evil conversation is death,

Every good seed in the heart, it smothers.

One more thing will I say and let it be enough,

The thoughts of vanity, drive away; insane desires, drive away,

From that which is material, distance yourself,

And son, the spiritual you will attain.

REFLECTION

Neither concern yourself about the righteous nor envy the sinner. Remember always that the Lord Christ, by His resurrection, conquered a shameful death and that Herod, Judas, Nero, Julian the Apostate, Valerian, Leo the Armenian and other opponents of Christ, by a shameful death mortalized forever their temporary successes and victories. Envious ones slandered St. Narcissus the Patriarch for violating his chastity. The innocent Narcissus withdrew into the wilderness and spent many years in silence and patiently waited for God to do His will. Three patriarchs followed him [on the patriarchal throne] and only then did men come forward and clearly prove his innocence. Then everyone forced him to return from the wilderness to his throne. Thus, God justifies the righteous. The bloody Emperor Valerian, with satanic passion, murdered Christians throughout the entire world [Roman Empire]. How did he end up? In battle with the Persians, he was defeated and enslaved by King Sapor. Sapor did not desire to kill him immediately but used him as a mounting block whenever he wanted to mount a horse. Every day, King Sapor's servants brought Valerian along with a horse and Sapor enjoyed placing his foot on the neck of the Roman Emperor in order to make it easier for him to mount the horse. He who sows an evil seed reaps an evil harvest.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the mercy of God toward the barren Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 1 1 Kings 1):

1. How Hannah was barren and in her sorrow implored God that she give birth to a son, promising to dedicate him to God;

2. How God heard the prayers of Hannah and she gave birth to a son and called him Samuel (besought from God);

3. How Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple and dedicated him to God.

HOMILY

About the new law from Zion

"For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).

The prophet speaks of a new law and of a new word. The old law was given on Sinai and the new law will come from Zion. The old law was given through Moses and the new law, the Lord Christ Himself will bring. That [the old law] was intended in the beginning only for the Jews, and this one [the new law], will be directed to all peoples and all of mankind. Even though these words of the prophet are clear, however, the Jews could not understand them nor do they understand them today. The meaning of these words is closed to them because of their stony hearts. To whom do they [the Jews] apply these words? To no one. How do they [the Jews] interpret these words? They do not. They pass by these words as a blind man passes by an open door. If they were able to comprehend these words, would they have then acted in such a manner as they acted with the prophet and the prophesied One [Christ]? Would they have sawn Isaiah and crucified Christ on the Cross?

The Jews considered the law of Moses to be the only and final law of God. That is why they were unable to comprehend the meaning of the prophecy of the new law from Zion, i.e., from the House of David, for David glorified Zion. But if the Jews did not know to comprehend the new law through the old law, we Christians know that through the new law we comprehend the old law. The Jews only had a tree without fruit but we have the tree and the fruit. They only had an image without reality, but we have both reality and the image. They adhered only to promises and that, incorrectly understood, but we have the promises and the fulfillment.

O All-rich Lord, Who has enriched us with Your spiritual law and Your life-giving words, You only do we worship and to You only do we pray; grant us wisdom and power to live according to Your law and to uphold Your holy word, so that we may not become poor before You, Who has made us rich!

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.