07-21-19 Vespers


Prophet Ezekiel (6th c. B.C.).   Ven. Simeon of Emesa, Fool-for-Christ, and his fellow ascetic, Ven. John (ca. 590).


At "Lord, I Call" sing the stichera (4) of the Resurrection in Tone 4.

Then the following stichera (3) for the Ven. Simeon and John in Tone 4.

Dwelling in the desert in unity of mind, O blessed ones, you caused the unrest of the flesh to wither away by fasting, prayer, and enlightening contemplation.  You illumined your hearts with the pleasing gifts of the Spirit,// O Simeon and John, the confirmation of monastics.

With foolish behavior you rendered foolish the malice of the wise, O blessed Father, performing wondrous signs, working miracles, and expelling demons, enlightening those who dwell in the darkness of sin.  In the midst of turmoil you preserved clarity of mind// and received dispassion from God, O Simeon.

O divinely inspired one, you were shown to be humble in wisdom and merciful, compassionate and full of love for God.  Humble and meek, you walked the earth like an angel, living your life as if in heaven.  Therefore, because of your purity, O blessed Simeon, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit rested in you as in a place of purity. 

Then these stichera (3) for the Prophet Ezekiel in Tone 8.  

O wondrous Ezekiel, most wise and blessed by God, having cleansed your soul and body, you beheld in the spirit through a purified mind the ineffable, unsearchable glory of the Lord, praised in hymns by innumerable voices,// and borne aloft with lightning flashes by divine seraphim.

O Ezekiel, dwelling place of God, you were sorely tried in emulation of Christ.  You bore the cruel burden of a debt to aliens.  You desired that this be recorded beforehand for the sake of the Cross, the God-revealed deliverance and salvation of the world.// Pray that all who celebrate your memory today may be granted a share in it! 

O glorious Ezekiel, inspired by God, you received a scroll, sweeter than honey in your mouth from the Almighty and were given knowledge in things divine.  Beholding and contemplating God, you were a herald of holy mysteries,// offering the resentful assembly compassion from God. 

After “Glory… now and ever…” the Dogmatic in Tone 4.

The prophet David was a father of the Lord through thee, O Virgin!  He foretold in songs the One Who worked wonder in thee.  “At Thy right hand stood the Queen, the Mother, the mediatrix of life, since God was freely born of her without a father!”  He wanted to renew His fallen image made corrupt in passion, so He took the lost sheep upon His shoulder; and brought it to His Father, joining it to the heavenly powers.  Christ, Who has great and rich mercy, has saved the world, O Theotokos.

At the Aposticha, sing the verses of the Resurrection in Tone 4.

Resurrectional Troparion, Tone 4 

When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of Thy Resurrection, they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles:  “Death is overthrown!  Christ God is risen,// granting the world great mercy!”

Troparion, Tone 4 (Ven. Simeon and John)

O God of our Fathers, always act with kindness towards us; take not Thy mercy from us, but guide our lives in peace// through the prayers of Fathers Simeon and John!

Troparion, Tone 2 (Prophet Ezekiel)

We celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Ezekiel, O Lord; through him, we beseech Thee:// save our souls!

××× –—˜™š›œš›™˜—– ØØØ

About the Saint we commemorate today: The Holy Prophet Ezekiel lived in the VI Century before the Birth of Christ. He was born in the city of Sarir, and descended from the Levite tribe; he was a priest and the son of the priest Buzi. In the second invasion against Jerusalem by the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar, at age 25 Ezekiel was led off to Babylon together with the king Jechoniah II and many other Jews.  In captivity the Prophet Ezekiel lived by the River Chobar. There, in his 30th year of life, in a vision there was revealed to him the future of the Hebrew nation and of all mankind. The prophet beheld a shining cloud, in the midst of which was a flame, and in it -- a mysterious likeness of a chariot moving by the spirit and four-winged beasts, each having four faces: of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. Under their faces was situated a wheel, bestrewn with eyes. Over the chariot towered as it were a crystalline firmament, and over the firmament -- the likeness of a throne as though of glittering sapphire. And upon this throne a radiant "likeness of Man", and about Him a rainbow (Ez. 1: 4-28).

According to the explanation of the fathers of the Church, the most-bright "likeness of Man" radiant upon the sapphire throne, was a prefigurement of the Incarnation of the Son of God from the Most Holy Virgin Mary, manifest as the Throne of God. The four creatures prefigured the four evangelists, the wheel with a multitude of eyes -- the sharing of light with all the nations of the earth. During this vision the holy prophet out of fear fell down upon the ground, but the voice of God commanded him to get up and then explained, that the Lord was sending him to preach to the nation of Israel. From this time began the prophetic service of Ezekiel. The Prophet Ezekiel announces to the nation of Israel, situated in Babylonian Captivity, about its coming tribulations for straying in the faith and forsaking the True God. The prophet proclaimed also a better time for his captive fellow-countrymen, and he predicted their return from Babylon and the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple.

Particularly important are two significant elements in the vision of the prophet -- the one about the vision of the temple of the Lord, full of glory, -- the second about the bones upon the field, to which the Spirit of God gave new life. The vision about the temple was a mysterious prefigurement of the freeing of the race of man from the working of the enemy and the building up of the Church of Christ through the redemptive deed of the Son of God, incarnated of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, -- called by the prophet "the shut gates", through which would be entered the One only Lord God (Ez. 44: 2). The vision about the dry bones upon the field -- prefigured the universal resurrection of the dead and the new eternal life of the redeemed by the death on the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ez. 37: 1-14).

The holy Prophet Ezekiel had from the Lord a gift of wonderworking. He, like the Prophet Moses, by prayer to God divided the waters of the river Chobar, and the Hebrews crossed to the opposite shore, escaping the pursuing Chaldeans. During a time of famine the prophet besought of God an increase of food for the hungry.  For his denunciation of the idol-worship of a certain Hebrew prince, Saint Ezekiel was given over to execution: bound to wild horses, he was torn to pieces. Pious Hebrews gathered up the torn body of the prophet and buried it upon Maur Field, in the tomb of Sim and Arthaxad, fore-fathers of Abraham, not far from Baghdad. The prophecy of Ezekiel was written down in a book, mentioning him by name, and is included in the Bible.  Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov drew attention for believers to the following concept in the book of the Prophet Ezekiel: if a righteous man, hoping on his own righteousness, were to venture to sin and in sin would die -- he would answer for the sin and be subject to judgment; but a sinner, if he repenteth, and in repentance would die -- his former sin would not be remembered before God (Ez. 3: 20; 18: 21-24).