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Schedule of Services for June

Upcoming Feastday:

Sunday, April 29/May 12: Saint Thomas Sunday, Apostles Jason and Sosipater of the Seventy

Synaxarion

1-SAINT THOMAS SUNDAY

On this Sunday, the second Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the Antipascha, that is to say the re-dedication of the Resurrection of Christ, and also commemorate the event of the Holy Apostle Thomas’ touching the wounds of Christ. This commemoration is due to the ancient custom of rededicating important events. As a year would pass and the date of such an event would arrive, a commemoration was made so that such great events would not be forgotten. This is why the Israelites celebrated the Passover at Gilgal, to commemorate the passing through the Red Sea. They also commemorated the consecration of the Tabernacle of Witness that was in the wilderness and many other holy events. Since the Resurrection of the Lord is the greatest and most important event and beyond all thought, it is rededicated not only once a year, but also on every “eighth” day. The first rededication of the Resurrection is this present Sunday, for it is truly both the “eighth” day and the “first.” It is the eighth day after Pascha, and the first day, because it is the beginning of the other days. Again, it is called the “eighth” day because it prefigures the unending day of the future age to come, which will be truly the “first” day and a day that is not divided by a single night. This is why this Sunday is called the Antipascha, which interpreted means “in the place of Pascha.”

 

We should also know that due to the honor given Sunday by the Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Apostles transferred the weekly day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) to this most honored day. It is also called Thomas Sunday, the reason being as follows: On the day of the Resurrection, when Christ showed himself to the Disciples in the evening, Thomas was not present, because he had not yet joined the other Disciples for fear of the Jews. When he rejoined the others, not only did he not believe what they told him about the Resurrection of Christ and the fact that they had seen Him, but he absolutely refused to believe that Christ had risen, even though he himself was one of the Twelve. God the good Master, in His true economy, waited eight days to make His love more perfect, firmly willing to truthfully verify the Resurrection and also the events that had occurred after the Resurrection. Thus, Thomas did not believe so that he could more truthfully proclaim to all the belief in the Resurrection.

 

Therefore, the Lord came to the Apostles again while Thomas was among them. Though the doors were shut as before, He entered and granted them peace according to the custom. He then turned toward Thomas and said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). Then Thomas intentionally scrutinized the Lord’s side more attentively, and receiving faith through the examination, he cried, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). He said “Lord” in witnessing to the bodily form of Christ and “God” in witnessing to His Divinity. Then Christ said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). This was the second appearance of Christ. Thomas was called “The Twain” - or Twin, for one of several possible reasons: either he was born a twin - one of two children born at the same time; or because he was born doubtful of the Resurrection; or because by nature the middle finger and the index finger of his right hand were joined together.

 

Since by Divine Providence he was allowed to doubt, it was with these certain two fingers that he would probe Christ’s side. Yet, others say that it is more likely and more truthful that Thomas, being interpreted, means “twin.” The third appearance of Christ was at the Sea of Tiberias during the catching of the fish where He even ate a meal of broiled fish and honeycomb; this particular food, as He alone knew, was consumed by the Divine Fire. This event gave further proof of the Resurrection of the body - not only His, but ours in the Age to come. After this, He revealed himself on the road to Emmaus. The fifth time He appeared was in Galilee to the eleven, as it is written. From the Resurrection until His Ascension, He worked before His Disciples many signs that surpassed all nature. However, He did not reveal all these signs to very many, for it was impossible for men yet living in this world to hear such inexpressible wonders. Through the prayers of Your Holy Apostle Thomas, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

2- JASON AND SOSIPATER

The Apostle Jason was from Tarsus (Asia Minor). He was the first Christian in the city. The Apostle Sosipater was a native of Patra, Achaia. He is thought to be the same Sosipater mentioned in Acts 20:4. They both became disciples of Saint Paul, who even called them his kinsmen (Rom 16:21). Saint John Chrysostom (Homily 32 on Romans) says that this is the same Jason who is mentioned in Acts 17:5-9. Saint Jason was made bishop in his native city of Tarsus, and Saint Sosipater in Iconium. They traveled west preaching the Gospel, and in 63 they reached the island of Kerkyra [Korfu] in the Ionian Sea near Greece.  There they built a church in the name of the Protomartyr Stephen and they baptized many. The governor of the island learned of this and locked them up in prison, where they met seven thieves: Saturninus, Iakischolus, Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The Apostles converted them to Christ. For their confession of Christ, the seven prisoners died as martyrs in a cauldron of molten tar, wax and sulfur. 

 

The prison guard, after witnessing their martyrdom, declared himself a Christian. For this they cut off his left hand, then both feet and finally his head. The governor ordered the Apostles Jason and Sosipater to be whipped and again locked up in prison.  When the daughter of the governor of Kerkyra (Korfu), the maiden Kerkyra, learned how Christians were suffering for Christ, she declared herself a Christian and gave away all her finery to the poor. The infuriated governor attempted to persuade his daughter to deny Christ, but Saint Kerkyra stood firm against both persuasion and threats. Then the enraged father devised a terrible punishment for his daughter: he gave orders that she be placed in a prison cell with the robber and murderer Murinus, so that he might defile the betrothed of Christ

 

But when the robber approached the door of the prison cell, a bear attacked him. Saint Kerkyra heard the noise and she drove off the beast in the name of Christ. Then, by her prayers, she healed the wounds of Murinus. Then Saint Kerkyra enlightened him with the faith of Christ, and Saint Murinus declared himself a Christian and was executed.  The governor gave orders to burn down the prison, but the holy virgin remained alive. Then on her enraged father’s order, she was suspended upon a tree, choked with bitter smoke and shot with arrows. After her death, the governor decided to execute all the Christians on the island of Kerkyra. The Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon and Vitalis, after being enlightened by Saints Jason and Sosipater, were burned alive. 

 

The inhabitants of Kerkyra, escaping from the persecution, crossed to an adjoining island. The governor set sail with a detachment of soldiers, but was swallowed up by the waves. The governor succeeding him gave orders to throw the Apostles Jason and Sosipater into a cauldron of boiling tar. When he beheld them unharmed, he cried out with tears, “O God of Jason and Sosipater, have mercy on me!” Having been set free, the Apostles baptized the governor and gave him the name Sebastian. With his help, the Apostles Jason and Sosipater built several churches on the island, and increased the flock of Christ by their fervent preaching. They lived there until they reached old age.

Troparion

From the sealed tomb, You did shine forth O Life! / Through closed doors You did come to Your disciples, O Christ God! / Renew in us, through them, an upright spirit, / by the greatness of Your mercy, O Resurrection of all!

Kontakion

Thomas touched Your life-giving side with an eager hand, O Christ God, / when You did come to Your apostles through closed doors. / He cried out with all: You are my Lord and my God!

Service

The vespers and matins service for the feast can be viewed and downloaded here, courtesy of st-sergius.org.

Epistle Reading

From the Acts of the Apostles:

 

"And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." (5:12-20)

Gospel Reading

From the Holy Gospel According to Saint John:

"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

 

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:19-31)

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