Sunday Before Theophany of Christ, Which Falls on the Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Nativity of Christ
Venerable Melania the Younger of Rome; Hieromartyr Zotikos of Rome, the friend of orphans; Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid
December 31, 2017
Troparion of the Resurrection – Tone 5
Let us believers praise and worship the Word; coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.
Troparion of the Nativity of Christ – Tone 4
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! For by it those who worshiped the stars, were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee the Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to Thee.
Troparion of Sunday After the Nativity – Tone 2
Proclaim, O Joseph, to David, the grandparent of God, the amazing wonders; for thou hast seen a Virgin great with child; for with the shepherds thou didst give glory, with the Magi thou didst worship, and by the angel it was revealed to thee. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.
Troparion of St Joseph – Tone 2
Proclaim, O Joseph to David, the ancestor of God, the amazing wonder, for by the angel they were revealed unto thee. For thou hast seen a Virgin great with child, and thou gave glory with the shepherds and didst worship with the Magi. Wherefore, plead with Christ God to save our souls.
Kontakion of the Nativity – Tone 3
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! Angels with shepherds glorify Him, the wise men journey with a star, since for our sake the Eternal God is born as a Little Child!
Epistle – Timothy 4:5-8
Timothy, my son, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the Faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Gospel – Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He Who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Venerable Melania the Younger of Rome – December 31st
Our venerable Mother Melania the Younger (or Melane the Roman) lived during the reign of king Honorios, son of Theodosios the Great, in 400. She came from a rich and glorious family. Her grandmother is also commemorated as a saint: Melania the Righteous (June 8). Because she loved the Lord with her whole heart, she chose to remain a virgin. But her parents forced her to get married even unwillingly with a man and she became the mother of two children. Then her parents and children died. That is why this blessed woman left the city of Rome and was living at her farm with every ascetic practice and virtue. She used to take care of the sick, received the foreigners who came to her, and visited the imprisoned and the exiled. Then she sold all her estates and possessions, which were many, and collected 120,000 gold coins, which she distributed to churches and monasteries.
In the beginning she used to eat once every couple of days but later on she used to fast five days per week and she would only eat on Saturdays and Sundays. So, this saint of blessed memory got used to and was trained in every ascetic practice with a lot of knowledge and discretion. She also used to write with a calligraphic hand in a very nice and artistic way.
Then she went to Africa and, after she had spent seven years there distributing most of her wealth, she went to Alexandria and from there to Jerusalem. There she closed herself in a cell and with her example she attracted ninety virgins and nuns to this same zeal for asceticism. She used to provide for their daily needs unceasingly. Because she was overcome by the pain of the side, she got very sick and, after she had called the bishop of Eleutheroupolis, she received from him the Eucharist. Then she bid all the sisters farewell, and lastly uttered these words of Job: "As the Lord wishes, so let it be." And in this way she immediately commended her soul to the hands of God.