Epistle from the General Service for two or many Martyrs
Epistle from the General Service for a 20th Century Russian Hieromartyr

Appointed by the canonization proclamation of the Moscow Patriarchate, and in Isaac Lambertsen’s service.

[(99) Romans 8:28-39]  Brethren:  We know that everything works for good with those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. * For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren. * And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified. * What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? * He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, shall He not also give us all things with Him? * Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God Who justifies; * who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, Who died, yes, Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed intercedes for us. * Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? * As it is written, “For Thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” * No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. * For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, * nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Epistle from the General Service for a Martyr

Appointed in an earlier revision of Daniel Manzuk’s service.

[(292) 2 Timothy 2:1-10]  Timothy, my son:  Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, * and what thou hast heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. * Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. * No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. * An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. * It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. * Think over what I say, for the Lord shall grant thee understanding in everything. * Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel, * the Gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. * Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

Epistle from the General Service for a Hieromartyr

Appointed in Daniel Manzuk’s service and in the STM rubrics book.

[(334) Hebrews 13:7-16]  Brethren:  Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. * Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. * Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. * We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. * For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. * So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. * Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp and bear the abuse He endured. * For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. * Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. * Do not neglect to do good and to share what ye have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

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Gospel from the General Service for two or many Martyrs

Appointed by the canonization proclamation of the Moscow Patriarchate.

[(36) Matthew 10:16-22]  The Lord said to His disciples: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. * Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, * and ye shall be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. * When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how ye are to speak or what ye are to say; for what ye are to say shall be given to you in that hour; * for it is not ye who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. * Brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children shall rise against parents and have them put to death; * and ye shall be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Gospel from the General Service for a 20th Century Russian Hieromartyr

Appointed in Isaac Lambertsen’s service.

[(106) Luke 21:12-19]  The Lord said to His disciples: “Beware of men. * They shall lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and ye shall be brought before kings and governors for My name’s sake. * This shall be a time for you to bear testimony. * Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; * for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries shall be able to withstand or contradict. * Ye shall be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they shall put to death; * ye shall be hated by all for My name’s sake. * But not a hair of your head shall perish. * By your endurance ye shall gain your lives.”

Gospel from the General Service for a Hierarch

Appointed in Daniel Manzuk’s service.

[(36) John 10:9-16]  The Lord said to the Jews that came to Him:  I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. * The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. * I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. * He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. * He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. * I am the good shepherd; I know My own and My own know Me, * as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. * And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

Gospel from the General Service for two or many Hieromartyrs

Appointed in the STM rubrics book.

[(67) Luke 12:32-40]  The Lord said: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. * Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. * For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. * Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, * and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to Him at once when He comes and knocks. * Blessed are those servants whom the Master finds awake when He comes; truly, I say to you, He shall gird Himself and have them sit at table, and He will come and serve them. * If He comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! * But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have left his house to be broken into. * You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

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Commentary by V. Rev. Kirill Sokolov

The holy one was a martyr under chaotic and completely unpredictable circumstances.  The saint showed himself to be as a blessed servant who is found watching (Luke 12:37).  As the life of St. John shows, “the Bolshevik power could not yet secure unfettered control… terror on a state level had not yet become an unavoidable part of Russian life.”  Therefore, the theme of the pericope prescribed in the typikon of St. Tikhon’s Monastery is very appropriate.  St. John’s whole remarkable life — as a missionary, pastor, and preacher — was in hindsight a fulfilling of the Lord’s command “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).  As the Petrograd diocesan council pointed out, he was “seized in his apartment, conveyed to the suburbs, and was there, in an open field, shot by the possessed mob…”.  The enraged and possessed mob can be very clearly contrasted with the awake watchfulness of the servant who is invited to sit down to eat with his Master (Luke 12:37).

The beautiful readings prescribed for the general service of a 20th century Russian Hieromartyr has as its core scene the laying on of hands — the arrest — and the bringing of the martyr to the kings and governors.  This is very appropriate for a martyr arrested by one of Diocletian’s surrogates or one swept up in the purges that would be so characteristic of the Soviet terror and its mock trials.  For example, the trial of Benjamin of Petrograd fits this reading precisely.

The general service for a Hierarch seems inappropriate for a presbyter on the face of it; not only because of the mismatch of office but also because the reading is more geared to the “dividing of truth” in the face of (Christological) heresy.  Certainly, St. John was Orthodox and a renowned preacher, but he was preaching the Peace of Christ that fateful day, not e.g., against Arians.