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.
Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘ It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;
“and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
And when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Macrina the Righteous, sister of St. Basil; Dius, Abbot of Antioch; Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa; Translation of the Holy Relics of Righteous Seraphim of Sarov
“Foreteller” Icon of the Mother of God
Commemorated on August 1
The “Foreteller”1 Icon of the Mother of God is located in the katholikon (cathedral church) of Konstamonitou Monastery on Mount Athos, and it became famous in the following way.
On August 1, 1020, the eve of the monastery’s Feast Day (The Transfer of the Relics of the Protomartyr Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople), the Ecclesiarch Father Agathon, (Zacharias in the Schema) was overcome with great sorrow. The Monastery’s Altar Feast was approaching, and its supplies were so depleted that there was not enough oil to light the church lamps for the solemn celebration.
That night, Father Agathon prayed before the Icon of the Mother of God with fervent tears. So earnestly did he beg her to help the monastery that he became exhausted. Sitting down before the Icon, he fell asleep at once. In a dream he heard a voice coming from the holy Icon telling him not to grieve, because the church vessels were now filled with oil, and the pantries contained everything that was necessary for the monastery’s continued existence.
When Father Agathon awoke, he wondered if what he had been told in his dream was true. Hastening to the vessel where the oil was stored, he was overjoyed when he saw that it was filled to the brim. At once, he reported his vision to Igoumen Hilarion, the Superior of Konstamonitou Monastery, and to all the brethren.
Everyone went to inspect the pantries and discovered that all the necessary supplies were there in abundance. They rejoiced because now, unexpectedly, they could light the church lamps for the service. Led by Igoumen Hilarion, they served the Vigil and sang praises to the Queen of Heaven for the miracle she had performed.
After this event, the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, before which Father Agathon had prayed, was known as the “Foreteller.” Now she is placed in the Monastery’s katholikon, on the wall, on the right hand side. Ever since this miracle took place, an “unsleeping” oil lamp remains lit before the Icon.
In his most informative book Bogomater (an account of the earthly life of the Mother of God, and of her wonderworking Icons), Eugene Poselyanin (+ February 13, 1931) states that there are two other Icons of the Theotokos on the Holy Mountain which are also called “Foreteller” – the “Paramythia,” or “Consolation” Icon of Vatopaidi Monastery (January 21), and the Zographou Icon “Of the Akathist” (October 10).
1 In Greek: Παναγία η Αντιφωνήτρια. In Russian: Предвозвестительница