Fast day – wine and olive oil allowed
Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture
O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
Epistle Reading: Hebrews 4:14-5:6
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
For every priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also beset by weakness.
Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”;
Gospel Reading: Mark 8:34-9:1
And when He had called the people to Him, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
“Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
Saints and Feasts
The Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastia; Caesarios the Righteous