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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sts. Simon & Jude: Oct. 28 (Nov. 10 new style)

On Oct. 28 (Nov. 10, on the civil calendar) we celebrate the feast of the Holy Apostles Simon & Jude. This is the day their holy relics were enshrined together in a fitting church in the city of Old Rome.

On Old English calendars, this is one of those feasts marked as "Rest from labour."

Here are the first six readings at Matins for the feast, from the Sarum Book of Readings, translated here for the first time into English by hieromonk Aidan, Russian Orthodox Church.

Lesson 1: When, by revelation of the Holy Spirit, Simon of Canaan and Jude the Zealot, apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, had entered Persia, they found two warlocks there, Zaroës and Arphaxad, who had fled out of Ethiopia from before the face of the holy apostle Matthew, and had defiled all Persia with their wicked teaching. In any case, when the holy apostles entered Persia, there came to meet them a prefect of the army, Waradath, a leader of the king of the Babylonians, whose name was Xerxes. This man had undertaken a war against the Indians, who had invaded Persia’s borders. In his enclave there were those that made sacrifice, and entrails-readers, and warlocks, and enchanters, and going a-sacrificing from dwelling to dwelling, they provided deceptive oracles by means of the demons. But on that day, as they were cutting themselves and letting their blood, they were entirely unable to provide any oracle. But Thou...

Lesson 2: So they arrived at the outskirts of the next city over, and there a demon issued a roar to those consulting him, and he said, ‘The gods who accompanied you as ye went to battle cannot provide you any oracle because the apostles of God are over there. One is called Simon, and the other Jude. And these have received such power from God, that no god dare speak when they are present.’ Then Waradath the captain had them sought after. When they had been found, he began to ask of them where they were from, and who they were, and why they were come. The holy apostle Simon told him, ‘If thou wouldst know our tribe, we are Hebrews. If thou wouldst know our status, we are slaves of Jesus the Christ. If thou wouldst know the cause of our coming hither, we are come because of your salvation, so that ye may be able to know the God Who is in heaven, once ye have forsaken the error of your graven idols. In reply Waradath said to him, ‘Now I go shortly to battle with the Indians, for that they have threatened the borders of Persia, invading them, and have secured the aid of the Medes for themselves, against us. And it is not a good time for me to discuss these matters. When I shall have won and have returned in a good humour, I will grant you an audience.’ The holy apostle Jude said to him, ‘More appropriate it is for thee to know Him right now, by Whose reinforcement and relief thou wilt have power to be victor—or, rather, to find those who are rebellious entirely pacified. Waradath said to him, ‘Since I hear that our gods do not dare to give us an oracle in your presence, do ye yourselves predict the future to us, that I may know which of us will prevail in the battle.’ But Thou O Lord...

Lesson 3: The holy apostle Simon told him, ‘Today suspend your forward march, and on the morrow, at this hour, that is, the third hour, those whom thou didst send ahead of you will come to thee with legates of the Indians. And they will announce to you that the lands they invaded are restored to your dominion, and they will bring a payment over and above the tribute they had paid, and readily accepting whatsoever conditions of peace thou shalt desire, they shall enact as steadfast a very firm treaty.’ Next the captain, on advice, bade them be kept under custody until the morrow, to discover the outcome of the matter, whether their assertion would be proven true. And on the morrow it came to pass according to the apostles’ words. They that had been sent forth came in swift course upon camels, and announced that all was as the apostles had foretold. But the two apostles, invited by the king and captain, tarried in Babylon, performing mighty miracles: giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, ambulation to the halt, cleansing lepers, and chasing demons out of the bodies of the possessed. And when for one year and three months they had dwelt there, more than four hundred thousand men were baptized, not counting children and womenfolk, the king being the first baptized, with all his nobles. For all saw that diseases were healed at a word, the blind were given sight, and even the dead were raised in the name of Jesus Christ, and all the people believed, destroying the temples of the idols, and they built churches. Now, the apostles ordained in that city a bishop named Abdias, who had come with them from Judaea, who himself had seen the Lord, and that city was filled with churches. These affairs having been settled in good order, they went upon their way. And throngs of their disciples followed them, two hundred men and more. But Thou…

Lesson 4: Now, the apostles went round about the twelve provinces of Persia, and their cities. But the aforementioned warlocks Zaroës and Arphaxad, committing crimes from city to city, and saying that they were of the race of the gods, and always fleeing from before the face of the apostles, stayed a long while in this or that city, until they would learn that the apostles were coming thither. But wheresoever the apostles entered, they unmasked their crimes, and showed their teaching to have been invented by the enemy of the human race. And in the city of Samur were forty high priests of the temples, whom the warlocks incited against God’s apostles, in a speech such as this: ‘Two Hebrew men will come hither,’ said they, ‘Enemies of all the gods. When they shall teach that another God should be adored, ye will be deprived of your powers and be thrown out like so much rubbish. Therefore, speak ye to the people, so that the moment they shall enter this city, they may be detained to make sacrifice. But Thou...

Lesson 5: And it chanced that after the apostles had made their way through all the provinces of Persia, they came to the great city Samur. When they had entered into it, and had tarried at the house of their disciple, a man of that city, by the name of Sennen, lo! about the first hour of the day, all the high priests together cried to Sennen, with a numberless mob, ‘Bring forth to us the enemies of our gods! If thou wilt not sacrifice to our gods with them, we shall burn thee and thy house with them.’ Meanwhile the apostles were seized and were led to the temple of the sun. As they entered the temple, the demons began to cry out through the energumens, ‘What is this happening to us and you, apostles of the living God? At your entrance we are burnt in flames.’ Now in one corner of the temple, on the east, stood a chariot of the sun, of molten gold; and in another corner a chariot of the moon, of molten silver. So the high priests began to threaten violence against the apostles of God before the people, that they ought to adore these. And so did those two warlocks who had stirred up this same violence. And Jude said to Simon, ‘Brother Simon, I see our Lord Jesus Christ calling us.’ And Simon answered, ‘For a while now, I have been seeing an appearance of the Lord in the midst of angels. For the angel of the Lord also said to me when I was praying: I shall make you to depart from the temple, and make that temple collapse upon them. And I said: Lord, may this never be; perhaps there will be some among them who will be converted to the Lord.’ When therefore they were saying these things amongst them in the Hebrew tongue, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, saying, ‘Be ye strengthened, and choose ye one of two things, either the sudden destruction of these men, or else prepare yourselves for the palm of martyrdom with the confidence of a good struggle.’ But Thou...

Lesson 6: In reply the apostles said, ‘We ought to pray for the mercy of our Master Jesus Christ, that He may have compassion also on these men, and may help us, that we be able to attain the crown.’ Only the apostles saw and heard these things. They were impelled by the high priests to adore the graven images of the sun and moon. The apostles told them, ‘Cause there to be silence, that we may give our answer with all the people listening.’ And when silence fell, the apostles said, ‘Hear ye all, and behold. We know the sun is the servant of God, and the moon likewise is subject to the command of its Creator. And yet they, existing in the firmament of heaven, are not shut up in their temples without affront, since in the heavens they are known to openly appear unto all the world. And that ye may realise that their idols are full not of the sun but of demons, we command the demons who deceive you inside the idol of the sun and of the moon, to go forth from them and shatter them.’ And as all were struck with bewilderment, Simon spake to the idol of the sun, ‘I command thee, deceiver of men, most wicked demon, go forth from the graven idol of the sun, and shatter it and its chariot.’ When Jude had said the like to the graven idol of the moon, two emerging Ethiopians were seen by all the people, black, naked, and repulsive of countenance. And smashing the idols, they let loose a great wailing in their awful voices. Then all the high priests, rushing on the apostles of Christ, slew them. And in that same hour of their passion great lightnings flashed, such that the temple was rent in three from the highest pinnacle of the roof to its lowest foundation. And the warlocks Zaroës and Arphaxad were burnt up by a bolt of flashing light, and were turned into charcoal. But after three months king Xerxes sent and translated the bodies of the holy apostles with great honours to his own city. In it he built them a wondrous basilica, and established in its midst a sarcophagus for them, of pure silver. In that spot, they that believe in our Lord Jesus Christ receive the benefactions of God, as many as are found worthy to set foot in that place. But Thou...

(c) 2008 St. John Cassian Press

Holy Apostles Simon and Jude, pray to God for us!
Sancti Apostoli Simone et Juda, ora pro nobis Deum!

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