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October 23

1. The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord
James is called the Lord's brother because he was the son of the righteous Joseph, the betrothed of the Most-holy Theotokos. When the righteous Joseph was near death, he divided his estate among his sons, and wanted to leave a portion to the Lord Jesus, the son of the Most-holy Virgin, but all the other brothers opposed this, not regarding Jesus as their brother. James greatly loved Jesus and declared that he would include Jesus in his share. That is why he is called the Lord's brother. From the beginning, James was devoted to the Lord Jesus. According to tradition, he traveled to Egypt with the Most-holy Virgin and Joseph, when Herod sought to slay the newborn King. Later, as soon as he heard Christ's teaching, James lived by it. It is said of him that he never ate fat or oil, but lived on just bread and water, and was a virgin to the end of his life on earth. He often kept vigil at night and prayed to God. The Lord numbered him among His Seventy Apostles. Following His glorious Resurrection, the Lord appeared to him especially, as the Apostle Paul testifies (I Corinthians 15:7). He was Bishop of Jerusalem for thirty years and zealously governed the Church of God. At the instruction of the Lord, James compiled the first Liturgy, which seemed very long for later Christians, and St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom shortened it. He converted many Jews and Greeks to the Christian Faith, and even the unbelieving Jews were amazed at his righteousness, referring to him as ``James the Just.'' When Ananias became High Priest, he and other Jewish elders determined to kill James for being a preacher of Christ. Once, during the feast of Passover, when many people had gathered in Jerusalem, the elders forced James to climb onto the roof of the Temple, and tried to make him speak against Christ. He climbed up and spoke to the people of Christ as the Son of God and the true Messiah, of His Resurrection and His eternal glory in the heavens. The infuriated priests and elders pushed him off the roof; he fell and was severely injured, but was still alive. Then, one man ran up and struck him on the head with a fuller's club with such force that his brains spilled out. Thus, this most glorious apostle of Christ died a martyr's death, and went to live eternally in the Kingdom of his Lord. James was sixty-six years old when he suffered for Christ.


2. Saint Ignatius, Patriarch of Constantinople


Ignatius was the son of Emperor Michael Rangabe. He became patriarch after St. Methodius in 846. Then Ignatius was deposed in 858 and exiled. Photius, the chief secretary to the emperor, was made patriarch in his place. However, when Emperor Basil the Macedonian ascended the throne, he re-instated Ignatius to the patriarchal throne. St. Ignatius governed the Church with great zeal and wisdom. He built the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in which he reposed in the Lord in the eighty-ninth year of his life.


3. The Holy Martyr James of Borovichi


All that is known of this saint is what he revealed in a vision to people from the town of Borovichi after his repose. One day in 1540, his body floated down the river Meta, and washed ashore near Borovichi. Many miracles took place from his relics. 


HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord


James, the Brother of the Lord, a most beautiful righteous one,
Explained the teaching of Christ with his life,
And when they tortured him, he meekly knelt,
And prayed to God for his enemies.
In a most difficult place, at a most difficult time,
He patiently bore the episcopal yoke.
He governed the Church as a good shepherd,
And glorified the Lord in word and deed.
He taught men to love Jesus,
And taught the faithful to pray to God.
``Vainglorious man, what is faith alone?
Faith without works is as empty straw.
Whoever has hearing, let him hear the teaching:
Faith without works is a body without spirit.
Whence come wars, abhorrent to all?
From the impure passions of your body.
Men always war and have no peace,
For their hearts desire evil, then shed blood.
Whoever turns a sinner away from error
Will receive the Lord's gift of eternal life in reward.''
The Jews slew the righteous James-
But they have murdered themselves, and glorified him!
O wonderful James, holy apostle,
Help the faithful who pray to you.


REFLECTION


From God comes grace, but from us comes labor. Therefore, let no one even think that the holy apostles relied solely on the God-given grace, or that it was easy for them, or that they performed their great work in the world without effort. Does not the Apostle Paul say: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9:27)? And still, in another place, does he not say that he spent his life in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (II Corinthians 11:26-27)? St. James fed only on bread and that not to satisfaction. He slept very little, and spent his nights in prayer. He knelt so much in prayer that the skin on his knees became as hard as the skin on the knees of a camel. This brother of the Lord prayed with tears and sighs not only for the Church, which he governed, but also for the whole world. Even when he was pushed from the temple roof by the malicious Jews, and thus was completely broken, the holy apostle never forgot his debt to God and to men. Gathering his last strength, he raised himself to his knees, stretched forth his hands toward heaven and fervently prayed to God saying: ``Lord, forgive them this sin, for they know not what they are doing.'' While he was praying thus, wicked men struck him with stones from all sides. Seeing this, one of the sons of Rechab cried out: ``Stop! What are you doing? The righteous one is praying to God for you, and you are killing him!'' However, that shout of a compassionate soul could not deter the murderers, accustomed to evildoing, from killing the saint of God. So it was that the apostles did not rely on grace alone, but also put forth nearly superhuman effort to show themselves worthy of God's grace. 


CONTEMPLATION


Contemplate the miraculous resurrection of Tabitha (Acts 9):
1. How Tabitha lay dead on her bed;
2. How the Apostle Peter prayed to God for her and said: Tabitha, arise;
3. How Tabitha regained life, and arose.


HOMILY
on the beauty of the king's daughter


The king's daughter is all glorious within (Psalm 45:13).
The Church of God is the daughter of the King. However poor and unattractive to the physical eye it may seem on the outside, no matter how persecuted and humiliated, it is filled with royal radiance and beauty from within. The King, He Who is fairer than the sons of men (Psalm 45:2), imparts beauty to His royal daughter. The Church of God is like a vesture for Christ; Christ lives in her. No outer beauty can be compared with inner beauty, that is, the beauty of Christ.
The Most-holy Theotokos is the daughter of the King: Her vesture is woven with gold (Psalm 45:13). This vesture is the virtue of her soul. That we understand ``vesture'' as virtue is clear in the parable of the marriage of the king's son. The man who was not clothed in a wedding garment was driven from the king's table and punished (cf. Matthew 22:11-13). True faith in God was the golden vesture of the Most-holy Virgin. Virginity, meekness, compassion, sanctity, piety, devotion to God's will, and all other virtues, were like embroideries on this golden garment. However, her beauty was the work of the Lord Christ, hidden within her and born of her.
The soul of every faithful Christian is like the daughter of the King. All the beauty of that soul is in Christ and of Christ, Who is within the soul. A soul without Christ the Sun of Righteousness is in darkness, without form and comeliness, as the universe would be without form and comeliness without the material sun. 
O great and gracious Lord, our true God and our man-loving Provider, help us to clothe ourselves in the garment of the virtues, that we may not be found naked at Thy Dread Judgment.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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