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.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 42:5-16
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The LORD goes forth like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.
For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in travail, I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbage; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. And I will lead the blind in a way that they know not, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 18:20-33
Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him, and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
Old Testament Reading: Proverbs 16:17-17:17
The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; he who guards his way preserves his life. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who gives heed to the word will prosper, and happy is he who trusts in the LORD. The wise of heart is called a man of discernment, and pleasant speech increases persuasiveness. Wisdom is a fountain of life to him who has it, but folly is the chastisement of fools. The mind of the wise makes his speech judicious, and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on. A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. He who winks his eyes plans perverse things, he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass. A hoary head is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the LORD.
Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. A slave who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers. The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tries hearts. An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue. He who mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of sons is their fathers. Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince. A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of him who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers. He who forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter alienates a friend. A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him. Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly. If a man returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house. The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so quit before the quarrel breaks out. He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. Why should a fool have a price in his hand to buy wisdom, when he has no mind? A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Saints and Feasts
Titus the Wonderworker; Theodora the Virgin-martyr of Palestine; Amphianos & Aedesios the Martyrs of Lycia