December 21 (old calendar) / January 3 (new)
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December 21 (old calendar) / January 3 (new)

Nativity Fast

Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. Virgin Martyr Juliana of Nicomedia, and with her 50 men and 130 women (304). Repose of St. Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia (1326). St. Juliana, Princess of Vyaz’ma (1406). Repose of Bl. Procopii (Procopius) of Vyatka, Fool-for-Christ (1628). Martyr Themístocles of Myra in Lycia (251).

SAINT JULIANA

The Holy Virgin Martyr Juliana, daughter of an illustrious pagan named Africanus, was born in the city of Nicomedia. As a child, she was betrothed to a certain Elusius, one of the emperor’s advisors. Saint Juliana was endowed with a profound intellect and goodness of soul. She saw through the delusion and deception of the pagan faith, and secretly accepted holy Baptism.

When the time of her wedding approached, Juliana refused to be married. Her father urged her not to break her engagement, but when she refused to obey him, he began to beat her viciously. Then Africanus handed his daughter over to the Eparch, who happened to be Elusius, Juliana’s former fiancé. Elusius fervently asked Juliana to marry him, promising not to require her to abandon her faith. Saint Juliana refused and said that she’d rather be put to death.

They beat the saint both long and harshly, but after each beating she received healing and new strength from God. Her punishment took place before a large number of people. Of these, 500 men and 150 women came to confess Christ after witnessing the steadfastness and courage of the holy virgin miraculously healed from her wounds. They were all beheaded, and were baptized in their own blood.

Convinced of the futility of attempting to separate the holy virgin from her heavenly Bridegroom, Eleusius sentenced Juliana to death. She accepted the sentence with joy and glorified the Lord for permitting her to receive a martyr’s crown. The holy Martyr Juliana was executed in the year 304.

Saint Juliana is the subject of an Anglo-Saxon poem, believed to have been written by Cynewulf in the eighth century.

TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA 

Troparion of the forefeast, tone 4

Prepare, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened to all! Adorn yourself, O Ephratha, for the tree of life blossoms forth from the Virgin in the cave! Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the Divine Fruit: If we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam. Christ comes to restore the image which He made in the beginning!

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

Thy ewe-lamb Juliana crieth out to Thee with a loud voice, O Jesus: “I love Thee, O my Bridegroom, and, seeking Thee, I pass through many struggles: I am crucified and buried with Thee in Thy baptism, and suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; I die for Thee that I might live with Thee. As an unblemished sacrifice accept me, who sacrifice myself with love for Thee By her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 3

You were a beautiful virgin, wise Juliana, and as your soul was wounded with divine love, your body was also pierced with the wounds of martyrdom adorning you as a bride of Christ and His martyr. Now as you dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber, you pray for us all.

Kontakion of the forefeast, tone 3

Today the Virgin comes to the cave to give birth to the Eternal Word. Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe! Glorify with the angels and the shepherds the Eternal God, who is willing to appear as a little child!

James 4:7-5:9 (Epistle)

7

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

9

Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

11

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12

There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

13

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;

14

whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

15

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

16

But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

17

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!

2

Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

3

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.

4

Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

5

You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

6

You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

7

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

8

You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

9

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

Mark 10:17-27 (Gospel)

17

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

18

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

19

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

20

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

21

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

22

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23

Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

24

And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

25

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

26

And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”

27

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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