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.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith.
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is He who came by water and blood; Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.
All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Gospel Reading: Mark 15:1-15
Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.
Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.”
And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing.
Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!”
But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested.
And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow insurrectionists; they had committed murder in the insurrection.
Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.
But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.
And Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!”
Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” And they cried out more exceedingly, “Crucify Him!”
So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
Blaise the Hieromartyr of Sebastia; Theodora the Empress; Finding of the relics of Zachariah the Prophet, Father of the Holy Forerunner; George the Serbian