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.
My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord; that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes,” be”Yes,” and your “No,” ” No,” lest you fall into judgment.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
And He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘ Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ “
Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
“But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
“but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
“And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
Then all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
Prophet Elias; The Glorious Prophet Elias (Elijah); Synaxis of the Russians who were perfected in France: Protopresbyter Alexios Mednedkov, Presbyter Dimitrii Klepinin, Mother Maria Skobtsova, her son Yuri Skobtsov, and Ilia Fondaminskii; Mother Maria Skobtsova, New-Martyr of France
Hieromartyr Stephen, Pope of Rome, and those with him
Commemorated on August 2
The Hieromartyr Stephen, Pope of Rome, suffered in the year 257 during the reign of the emperor Valerian (253-259). Saint Stephen, occupying the throne (253-257) of the holy First Bishop of Rome, zealously contended against the heresy of Novatus, which taught that it is not proper to receive back those returning from heresy.
While hiding during a persecution against Christians, Saint Stephen baptized many pagans, including the military tribune Nemesius. He converted to Christ after the saint healed his daughter Lucilla. Nemesius, who was ordained as a deacon, was beheaded along with his daughter.
Their steward Symphronius was brought by the tribune Olympius into the temple of Mars for torture. His prayer shattered the golden idol, after which the tribune with his wife Exuperia and his son Theodolus believed and were baptized. They were all burned alive, and their remains were buried by holy Pope Stephen.
Then twelve of his clergy were beheaded: Bonus, Faustus, Maurus, Primitivus, Calumniosus, John, Exuperantus, Cyril, Theodore, Basil, Castelus, Honoratus and Tertullinus, all converted by Saint Stephen. Finally, Saint Stephen himself was led before the emperor Valerian (253-259) , who condemned him to beheading with a sword in the temple of Mars.
By the prayers of the saint, a large part of the pagan temple was destroyed, and the soldiers fled. The saint concealed himself in the catacombs (the resting place of Saint Lucina or Lucy), where he was later killed by soldiers while he was teaching Christians.
Categories: Dormition Fast