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Saint Titus of the Seventy

titusSaint Titus was one of the Seventy who were sent out by the Lord to tell the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He was a witness of Christ’s Crucifixion.  He was baptized and later ordained Bishop of his native Crete by St. Paul the Apostle and was the recipient of pastoral epistle from Paul which is the New Testament book of Titus.  He died peacefully at the age of 97.

Holy Apostle Titus,  pray to God for us!

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Great Martyr Anastasia

Saint Anastasia was born in Rome of prosperous  parents.  Her father was a pagan but her mother was a Christian and instructed her daughter in the faith.  Anastasia was a beautiful. virtuous young woman and after her mother’s death,  her Anastasia 2father forced her to marry a pagan man named Publius Patricius. He was an abusive husband but died by drowning early in the marriage.   She then spent her time and wealth giving solace to the poor, especially those in prison.  Through her prayerful intercessions many were healed from the effects of poisons and this is why she is called “The Deliverer of Potions.”  She lived during the persecution of Emperor Diocletion and was imprisoned, tortured and eventually martyred  by fire in the year 290 for her faith in Christ.  Saint Anastasia is remembered by the Church today, December 22.

Readings

James 2: 14- 26 (But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”)

Mark 9: 42- 10:1 (“Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another.”)

The Ancestors of Christ

The Sunday before Nativity

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On the Sunday before Nativity, which is this Thursday (January 7),  we remember the Ancestors of our Lord. This morning the deacon will read the genealogy from the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

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It is said that St. Ignatius was the young child Christ used as an example when  He said that we must convert and become like children if we want to see the Kingdom of Heaven.  His letters are some of the earliest Christian writings.

St. Ignatius was an Apostolic father who lived in the first century. He was a student of the Apostle John and was the third bishop of Antioch. As he was being carried off to Rome to face martyrdom, he wrote a series of seven letters, six to local churches and one to his friend, St. Polycarp. These letters provide invaluable insight into the early church and demonstrate that the bishop – priest – deacon ecclesiology has existed from the very early days of the Church.

His icons typically  depict the Saint  with two lions, showing his manner of death. He is remembered on December 20.

A quote:

“Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid.” — Letter to the Smyrnaeans

St. Boniface, Martyr

Martyr Boniface at Tarsus in Cilicia and Righteous Aglaida of Rome

BonifatiusThis is St. Boniface of Tarsus,  not St. Boniface of Rome.  He was a slave of Aglaida, and they lived lives of debauchery until they grew weary of their sins and became interested in Christianity. They believed some holy relics would help with their repentance so Boniface was sent to Tarsus to acquire some.  Upon arrival, he discovered that Christians were being tortured for their faith in Christ and declared that he, too, was a Christian and was martyred.  It turned out that it was his own relics that Aglaida received.  She in turn built a church in his memory, distributed her wealth to the poor and took up the monastic life.  St. Boniface is remembered on December 19.

Today’s readings

James 2:1-13  (For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown not mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.)
Mark 9:33-41  (…and He said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”)