April 21/May 4
Hieromartyrs Januarius, bishop of Benevento, and
his companions: Festus, Proclus, and Sosius, deacons; Martyrs Desiderius,
reader; and Gantiol, Eutychius, and Acutius, at Pozzuoli
(305). Martyrs Theodore of Perge in Pamphylia, his mother Philippa,
and Dioscorus, Socrates, and Dionysius (2nd c.). Martyr Alexandra
the Empress, wife of Diocletian (303) (same as April 23). Martyrs
Isaacius, Apollo, and Codratus, of Nicomedia (303). St. Maximus
(Maximian), archbishop of Constantinople (434). St. Beuno, abbot,
of Clynnog Fawr, Wales (642). St. Maelruba of Apur Crossan, Ireland
(722). Uncovering of the relics (1999) of St. Theodore, abbot of
Sanaxar Monastery (1791). St. Alexis, priest of, Bortsumany, Nizhni-
Novgorod (1848). New Hieromartyr Protopresbyter Basil Martysz of
Teratyn (Chelm and Podlasie, Poland) (1945).
Repose of Schemamonk
Nicetas (1907) and Hieroschemamonk Antipas II (1912), of Valaam,
Elder Dometian of Tula (1908), and Nun Stefanida of Kosovo (Serbia)
3rd Sunday of Pascha
Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women: Mary Magdalen; Mary, the wife of Cleopas; Joanna; Salome, the mother of the sons
of Zebedee; Susanna; Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus;
Mary, Mother of Apostle James;
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
Matins: (III) Mark 16:9-20
Liturgy: Acts 6:1-7
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women. [Acts 6:1–7; Mark
The tireless women! They would not give
sleep to their eyes nor slumber to their eyelids (cf. Ps.
132) until they found their Beloved! But the men as if
dragged their feet: they went to the tomb, saw it empty,
and remained in confusion about what it could mean because
they did not see Him. But does this mean that they had
less love than the women? No, here was a reasoning love
which feared making a mistake due to the high price of
this love and its object. When they too saw and touched
Him, then each of them, not with his tongue, like Thomas,
but with his heart confessed: my Lord and my God
(John 20:28), and already nothing could separate them from
the Lord. The myrrh-bearers and the Apostles are an image
of the two sides of our life: feeling and reasoning.
Without feeling life is not life; without reasoning life
is blind, offers little sound fruit and much is wasted. We
must combine both. Let feeling go forward and arouse; let
reason determine the time, place, method and generally the
practical arrangement of what the heart suggests for us to
do. Within, the heart comes first, but in practical
application, reason comes first. When the feelings become
educated in discerning good and evil, then perhaps it will
be possible to rely on the heart alone. Just as shoots,
flowers and fruits grow naturally from a living tree, so
does goodness alone emerge from the heart, rationally
mingling into the course our life.
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