Forefeast of the Theophany.
Holy Prophet Malachi (400 B.C.). Martyr Gordius at Cæsarea in Cappadocia (4th c.). Ven. Genevieve of Paris (5th c.).
Saint Genevieve was born of wealthy parents in Gaul (modern France) in the village of Nanterre, near Paris, around 422. Her father’s name was Severus, and her mother was called Gerontia. According to the custom of the time, she often tended her father’s flocks on Mt. Valerien.
When she was about seven years old, Saint Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) noticed her as he was passing through Nanterre. The bishop kissed her on the head and told her parents that she would become great in the sight of God, and would lead many to salvation. After Genevieve told him that she wished to dedicate herself to Christ, he gave her a brass medal with the image of the Cross upon it. She promised to wear it around her neck, and to avoid wearing any other ornaments around her neck or on her fingers.
When it was reported that Attila the Hun was approaching Paris, Genevieve and the other nuns prayed and fasted, entreating God to spare the city. Suddenly, the barbarians turned away from Paris and went off in another direction.
Years later, when she was fifteen, Genevieve was taken to Paris to enter the monastic life. Through fasting, vigil and prayer, she progressed in monasticism, and received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and of working miracles. Gradually, the people of Paris and the surrounding area regarded Genevieve as a holy vessel (2 Tim. 2:21).
Saint Genevieve considered the Saturday night Vigil service to be very important, since it symbolizes how our whole life should be. “We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes,” she said. She was on her way to church with her nuns one stormy Saturday night when the wind blew out her lantern. The nuns could not find their way without a light, since it was dark and stormy, and the road was rough and muddy. Saint Genevieve made the Sign of the Cross over the lantern, and the candle within was lit with a bright flame. In this manner they were able to make their way to the church for the service.
There is a tradition that the church which Saint Genevieve suggested that King Clovis build in honor of Saints Peter and Paul became her own resting place when she fell asleep in the Lord around 512 at the age of eighty-nine. Her holy relics were later transferred to the church of Saint Etienne du Mont in Paris. Most of her relics, and those of other saints, were destroyed during the French Revolution.
In the Middle Ages, Saint Genevieve was regarded as the patron saint of wine makers.
TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA
Troparion of the forefeast, tone 4
Prepare, O Zebulon, and adorn yourself, O Naphtali; River Jordan, cease flowing and receive with joy the Master coming to be baptized. Adam, rejoice with our First Mother and do not hide yourself as you did of old in Paradise; for having seen you naked, He has appeared to clothe you with the first garment. Christ has appeared to renew all creation.
Troparion of the saint, tone 1
O Shepherdess who guardest the sheep at Nanterre against the horde of wolves and the Scourge of God, thou dost protect the city of the Parisians. O St Genevieve, do not forget to guard thy spiritual sheep even now, from heaven where thou livest after death.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
Out of love for the Lord thou didst suppress the desire to rest, O venerable Geneviève, making thy spirit radiant through abstinence. Wherefore, thou didst tame wild beasts by thy power, and by thy supplications thou didst put down the uprisings of the enemy.
Kontakion of the forefeast, tone 4
Today the Lord enters the Jordan and cries out to John: “Do not be afraid to baptize me. For I have come to save Adam, the first-formed man.”
James 4:7-5:9 (Epistle)
- Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
- Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
- Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
- 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.
- There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
- 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”;
- 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.
- Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
- But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
- Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
- Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!
- Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
- 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.
- 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.
- You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
- You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
- 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.
- You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
- Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
Mark 12:38-44 (Gospel)
- Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces,
- the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,
- who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
- Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
- Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.
- So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
- for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”