July 19 (old calendar)  / August 1st (new)
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July 19 (old calendar)  / August 1st (new)

Fast day

Uncovering of the Relics of Ven. Seraphim of Sarov (1903). Ven. Macrina, sister of St. Basil the Great (380). Ven. Dius, Abbot, of Antioch (ca. 430). Rt. Blv. Román, Prince of Riazan’ (1270). Ven. Paísii of the Kiev Caves (Far Caves—14th c.). Bl. Stephen (1427), King of Serbia, and his mother, St. Militsa (1405). 

SAINT MACRINA

Saint Macrina was the sister of the holy hierarchs Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, and was born in Cappadocia at the beginning of the fourth century. Her mother, Emilia, saw an angel in a dream, naming her unborn child Thekla, in honor of the holy Protomartyr Thekla. Saint Emilia (January 1) fulfilled the will of God and named her daughter Thekla. Another daughter was named Macrina, in honor of a grandmother, who suffered during the time of persecution under the emperor Maximian Galerius.

Besides Macrina, there were nine other children. Saint Emila herself guided the upbringing and education of her elder daughter. She taught her reading and writing in the Scriptural books and Psalms of David, selecting examples from the sacred books which spoke of a pious and God-pleasing life. Saint Emilia taught her daughter to pray and to attend church services. Macrina was also taught the proper knowledge of domestic governance and various handicrafts. She was never left idle and did not participate in childish games or amusements.

When Macrina grew up, her parents betrothed her to a certain pious youth, but the bridegroom soon died. Many young men sought marriage with her, but Macrina refused them all, having chosen the life of a virgin and not wanting to be unfaithful to the memory of her dead fiancé. Saint Macrina lived in the home of her parents, helping them fulfill the household tasks as an overseer together with the servants, and she helped with the upbringing of her younger brothers and sisters. After the death of her father she became the chief support for the family.

When all the children grew up and left the parental home, Saint Macrina convinced her mother, Saint Emilia, to leave the world, to set their slaves free, and to settle in a women’s monastery. Several of their servants followed their example. Having taken monastic vows, they lived together as one family, they prayed together, they worked together, they possessed everything in common, and in this manner of life nothing distinguished one from another.

After the death of her mother, Saint Macrina guided the sisters of the monastery. She enjoyed the deep respect of all who knew her. Strictness towards herself and temperance in everything were characteristic of the saint all her life. She slept on boards and had no possessions. Saint Macrina was granted the gift of wonderworking. There was an instance (told by the sisters of the monastery to Saint Gregory of Nyssa after the death of Saint Macrina), when she healed a girl of an eye-affliction. Through the prayers of the saint, there was no shortage of wheat at her monastery in times of famine.

Saint Macrina died in the year 380, after a final prayer of thanks to the Lord for having received His blessings over all the course of her life. She was buried in the same grave with her parents.

TROPARION AND KONTAKION

Troparion of saint Macrina, tone 8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother, For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away, But to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. Therefore your spirit, O Holy Mother Macrina, rejoices with the Angels!

Toparion of saint Seraphim, tone 4

From thy youth didst thou love Christ, O blessed one; and, aflame with the desire to serve Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness in unceasing prayer and labor; and with compunction of heart acquiring the love of Christ, thou wast shown to be the beloved favorite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry unto thee: Save us by thy prayers, O our venerable father Seraphim.

Kontakion of the saint Macrina, tone 4
Thou didst love the good God with all thy heart, O venerable Macrina, and, taking His precious Cross upon thy shoulder, thou didst zealously follow after Him. Wherefore, thou hast found forgiveness of offenses. 

Kontakion of saint Seraphim, tone 2

Having forsaken the beauty of the world and the corruption therein, thou didst take up thine abode in the Monastery of Sarov. And having lived there as an angel, thou didst become a path for many to salvation. Wherefore, Christ hath glorified thee, O father Seraphim, and enriched thee with the gift of healings and miracles. Therefore, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, O our venerable father Seraphim!

EPISTLE

1 Corinthians 16:4-12

4
But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
5
Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia).
6
And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go.
7
For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.
8
But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.
9
For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
10
And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do.
11
Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
12
Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.

GOSPEL

Matthew 21:28-32

28
But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’
29
He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.
30
Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.
31
Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
32
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.

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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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