December 4th

THE ELEVENTH EOTHINON GOSPEL
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 16:1-8

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His Disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

THE EPISTLE
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. (3:23-4:5)

Brethren, before faith came, we were confined under the Law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the Law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

THE GOSPEL
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 13:10-17

At that time, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrite! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As Jesus said this, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him.

ORTHOS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE SEVEN
Thou didst shatter death by Thy Cross, Thou didst open paradise to the thief; Thou didst turn the sadness of the ointment-bearing women into joy. And didst bid Thine Apostles proclaim a warning, that Thou hast risen O Christ, granting to the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. BARBARA IN TONE FOUR
Let us honor the all-revered Saint Barbara; for she demolished the gins of the adversary, and escaped from them like a sparrow by the help and weapon of the Cross.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. JOHN OF DAMASCUS IN TONE THREE
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Ye faithful, come let us honor with songs of praise * the comely sounding and sweet-spoken nightingale, * who doth adorn and captivate the Church of Christ with his sweet songs: * John, the all-wise Damascene, * let us honor resplendently, * the divine and eloquent, * and the chief of hymnographers; * who verily was filled to the utmost * with every divine and earthly wisdom.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION IN TONE THREE
Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Thee, who art the mediatrix for the salvation of our race, we praise, O Virgin Theotokos; for in the flesh assumed from thee, after that He had suffered the passion of the Cross, thy Son and our God delivered us from corruption, because He is the Lover of mankind

At the Divine Liturgy

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE SEVEN
Thou didst shatter death by Thy Cross, Thou didst open paradise to the thief; Thou didst turn the sadness of the ointment-bearing women into joy. And didst bid Thine Apostles proclaim a warning, that Thou hast risen O Christ, granting to the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. BARBARA IN TONE FOUR
Let us honor the all-revered Saint Barbara; for she demolished the gins of the adversary, and escaped from them like a sparrow by the help and weapon of the Cross.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. JOHN OF DAMASCUS IN TONE THREE
Ye faithful, come let us honor with songs of praise * the comely sounding and sweet-spoken nightingale, * who doth adorn and captivate the Church of Christ with his sweet songs: * John, the all-wise Damascene, * let us honor resplendently, * the divine and eloquent, * and the chief of hymnographers; * who verily was filled to the utmost * with every divine and earthly wisdom.

The apolytikion of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos:
“Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and Bishops venerate Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, since for our sake she prays to the Eternal God!”

KONTAKION OF PREPARATION OF CHRIST’S NATIVITY IN TONE THREE

Today the Virgin cometh to the cave where she will give birth in an ineffable manner to the Word Who is before all the ages. Rejoice, therefore, O universe, when thou hearest it heralded: Glorify Him, with the angels and the shepherds, Who chose to be seen as a new-born babe, the God Who is before all the ages.

Twenty-seventh Sunday after Pentecost
The Healing of the Woman with a Spirit of Infirmity

Luke 13:10-17
From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke
by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

10-17. And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over, and could in no wise straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead it away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. The woman suffered from this affliction as a result of demonic assault, as the Lord Himself says, This woman, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years. Perhaps God had departed from her on account of certain sins, and as a result Satan was punishing her. For Satan is in part the cause of all the hardships which afflict our bodies, when God on high permits him. From the very beginning it was Satan who brought about our fall by which we lost the incorruptibility in which we had been created; it was Satan who caused us to be bound to diseased bodies prone to suffering, symbolized by the garments of dead skins in which Adam and Eve were wrapped (Gen. 3:22). But now the Lord, with the majestic voice of the Godhead, full of power, drives out the infirmity of this woman. He places His hands on her, so that we might learn that His holy flesh imparted both the power and the energy of the Logos. For His flesh was His own, and not that of some other human person alongside Him, separate from Him in hypostasis, as the impious Nestorius thinks. (1) So great is the goodness of the Lord, Who in this manner took mercy on His own creation. But Satan, who had bound the woman in the first place, was vexed at her deliverance because he desired her continued affliction, and so he bound the ruler of the synagogue with spite, and through the mouth of this man, Satan reviled the miracle. This is how he always attacks the good. Therefore the Lord uses the apt example of irrational animals to rebuke the man who was indignant that a healing had taken place on the Sabbath. And thus not only this man, but all the other adversaries of Jesus as well, were put to shame by Christ’s words. For it was insane to hinder the healing of a man on the Sabbath using as a pretext the commandment that the Sabbath be a day of rest. So it was, that even while the people were rejoicing at the Lord’s deeds, His adversaries were put to shame by His words. For these adversaries, instead of joining in the jubilation which followed His work of healing, burned with rage that He had healed at all. But the multitude, because they derived benefit from His signs, rejoiced and took pleasure in this healing. You must also understand these miracles to refer to the inner man. The soul is bent over in infirmity whenever it inclines to earthly thoughts alone and imagines nothing that is heavenly and divine. It can truly be said that such a soul has been infirm for eighteen years. For when a man is feeble in keeping the commandments of the divine law, which are ten in number, and is weak in his hope of the eighth age, the age to come, it can be said that he has been bent over for ten and eight years. (2) Is not that man indeed bent over who is attached to the earth, and who always sins in disregard of the commandments, and who does not look for the age to come? But the Lord heals such a soul on the Sabbath in the assembly of the synagogue. For when a man assembles together within himself thoughts of confession (Judah means “confession”) and keeps the Sabbath, that is, he rests from doing evil, then Jesus heals him, not only by word when He says to him, Thou art loosed from thine infirmity, but also by deed. For when He has placed His hands on us, He requires that we accept the energy from His divine hands to do in collaboration with Him the works of virtue. We must not be satisfied to receive only that healing which comes by word and by instruction.

1. The heretic Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431 A,D., taught that the co-unoriginate Logos was not conceived and did not take flesh in the Virgins womb, but instead was united to Christ the man at some later time. This implied that the two natures of Christ, the divine and the human, were not united in one hypostasis, that is, in one person, but in two, and therefore were not truly united. If this were so, Christ would not have accomplished the salvation of the human race. As a result Nestorius called the Virgin Mary Christokos, that is, the Birthgiver of Christ, but refused to call her the Theotokos, the Birthgiver of God. This false teaching was condemned as heresy at the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus in the year 431, and from that time Nestorius and all who follow his teaching have been outside the Church.