THE HOLY MARTYR ATHANASIUS

January 7

From the Prologue

This martyr of Christ was a simple and poor man but rich in faith and wise through the Spirit of God. Once, unintentionally, Athanasius entered into a debate about the Faith with a certain Turk. The Turk was educated and adroit with words, but Athanasius endeavored with all his strength to emphasize and to establish the truth of and preference for the Christian Faith over Islam. After that, they departed. The next day Athanasius was summoned before the judge. This Turk stood there as his accuser. When the judge called upon Athanasius to deny the Faith of Christ, as he allegedly made known to his companions a day earlier and to embrace Islam, Athanasius cried out: "I would rather die a thousand deaths before I would renounce the Faith of Christ." For that he was condemned to death and beheaded in the year 1700 A.D. in Smyrna. His body was buried in the Church of St. Parasceve in the same city.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT JOHN THE FORERUNNER AND BAPTIST

Thirty years of fasting and silence!

This, not even the mountain beasts can endure.

The lion alleviates his hunger with the music of roaring,

And the tree rustles when the wind approaches

And, you do not rustle neither roar nor moan,

Neither your lament nor your song through the wilderness echoed!

Tell me, are you a man? What is your name?

Will you ever want to speak with someone?

Voice, voice, voice, I am the voice; but the Word of God, He is,

To the children of Israel, I was sent to cry out:

Repent, O people, behold, He comes,

Bring forth good fruit, each according to your strength.

Behold, behold He comes; O Wonder of Wonders,

In the midst of the water, from heaven, a hidden fire!

Behold, the Lamb of God, among the wolves, walks;

Wolves, your lupine temper, in the water, cleanse!

Thirty years of silence and fasting,

Of your body, what remains; except your voice?

Your withered body is but a shadow of your voice,

Which proclaims the news: Behold, God comes to us!

Your withered body, a reed; that Herod broke

But the voice continues, continues; no one to silence it.

Whose voice is that? From whom even the centuries tremble?

A hungry lion! No, No - a man of faith.

RELFECTION

St. Basil the Great said, "Man is not something visible." Just as a house resembles a house, so the outward man resembles the outward appearance of a man. To the house is given honor according to the one who dwells in the house; so it is to man according to the spirit that dwells in him. In the physical sense it is obvious that the house is not the master but just a house in which the master dwells, but in the spiritual sense it is obvious that the body is not the man but only the house in which the man dwells.





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