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December 13/26

Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes, at Sebaste (284-305) (Vespers: (1) Is. 43:9-14; (2) Wis. 3:1-9; (3) Wis. 5:15-6:3. Matins: Matt. 10:16-22. Liturgy: Eph. 6:10-17; Luke 21:12-19). St. Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska (1836). (His service may be sung on December 12.) Synaxis of the First Martyrs of the American land: Hieromartyr Juvenaly (1796) and Peter the Aleut (ca. 1815). Virgin-martyr Lucy (Lucia) of Syracuse (304). St. Columba of Terryglass and Holy Island on Lough Derg (Ireland) (549). St. Odilia, virgin and abbess, of Alsace (Gaul) (720). St. Arsenius of Mt. Latros (11th c.). St. Arcadius, monk, of Novotorzhok (1077). St. Mardarius, recluse, of the Kiev Caves (13th c.). St. Gabriel, patriarch of Serbia (1659).
Repose of Schemamonk Panteleimon “the Resurrected,” of Glinsk Hermitage (1895), Blessed Maximus of Ustiug (1906), Bishop Theodore, wonderworker of Trolov Convent in Kiev (1924), and Hieromonk Joel of Valaam (1937).
Heb. 10:1-18
Mark 8:30-34
Nativity Fast
Wine and oil allowed

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God
By St. Theophan the Recluse

Wednesday. [Heb. 10:1-18; Mark 8:30-34]

   Having invited people to follow Him with the cross, the Lord shows also shows this path, eliminating the main obstacles to it, which are not outer, but inner, rooted in the human heart. It is as though He is saying, “If you want to follow Me, first of all do not pity yourself, for he who pities himself will destroy himself; second, do not have anything to do with self-interest, for, What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mark 8:38)? Third, do not be embarrassed by what people will say or how they will look at you: Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Self-pity, self-interest, and embarrassment are the main chains by which a person is held in a life not pleasing to God, on the path of passions and sin. They are the main obstacles to a sinner’s conversion; they are the main object of spiritual struggle in a person who repents and who already has begun to bring forth fruits of repentance. As long as these threads are not cut, the Christian life in us is unreliable, full of stumbles and falls, if not always outer, then inner. Let everyone look attentively at himself; if there is anything in you of what is said above, take care to give it up: otherwise you can not hope to rise to perfection in Christ, although you may outwardly be very proper.

Russian version

SAINT THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE (1815–1894) was one of the most prolific and beloved spiritual writers of nineteenth-century Russia. His works, which comprise over twenty volumes, include such classics as The Path to Salvation and A Commentary on Psalm 118, as well as many volumes of letters. Although he lived the last twenty-eight years of his life as a hermit, his impact on his homeland was immense. His articles appeared in the popular spiritual journals of his time, his books were in great demand, and he personally replied to an average of thirty letters daily.
In the present book, Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, St. Theophan takes us through the yearly cycle of Gospel and Epistle readings, humbly and reverently offering us brief but powerful daily meditations on the word of God. He also addresses the problems of his day—lack of faith, coldness of heart, trust in the rational mind rather than in the revealed Truth of God—which are problems of our day as well.
Contemplating the sacred texts together with St. Theophan, the reader will learn to penetrate more deeply into Holy Scripture, and will receive answers to many dogmatic, moral, and spiritual questions which touch upon our salvation. Thoughts for Each Day of the Year can help us to more closely connect our lives with the life of Christ in His Holy Church, and to gain a better knowledge of how to fulfill His commandments. By reading St. Theophan's daily exhortations and taking them to heart, one can be changed by the grace-filled power of our Savior, in accordance with the teaching of the Apostle Paul: Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 11:2).
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year is published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and Sretensky Monastery.
It is available at stherman.com/Catalog/Spiritual_Counsels/Daily_Thoughts_Book.html.

For further information on the Saint Herman Calendar contact St. Herman Press:
St. Herman Press, P.O. Box 70, Platina, CA 96076