Orthodox Readings and Divine Liturgy

Vespers 1: Composite: Is 40,41,45,48,54
Vespers 2: Composite: Malachi Ch 3,4
Vespers 3: Composite: Wisdom 4, 5
Matins: Matthew 14:1-13
Epistle: Acts 13:25-32
Gospel: Mark 6:14-30

The Beheading of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.

Kontakion - Tone 5
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner,
became an act of divine dispensation,
for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior.
Let Herodias lament, for she entreated lawless murder,
loving not the law of God, nor eternal life,
but that which is false and temporal.

Troparion - Tone 2
The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise,
but the Lordıs testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner.
You were shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets,
for you were deemed worthy to baptize in the streams of the Jordan Him whom they foretold.
Therefore, having suffered for the truth with joy,
you proclaimed to those in hell God who appeared in the flesh,
who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.

Vespers, 1st Reading

Composite - Isaiah Chs. 40,41,45,48,54

Thus saith the Lord: "Comfort, comfort My people," says God. "Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, you Priests, comfort her, for her humiliation is increased, her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for her sins. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight the paths of our God.'
"Go up to a high mountain, you who are proclaiming glad tidings to Zion, lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem. Lift it up, fear not! I the Lord God, I have heard the poor of Israel and will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the mountains, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the deserts pools of water, and the thirsty landsprings of water. Let the heavens rejoice from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth bring forth, and let it sprout forth mercy and cause righteousness to shine forth also.
"Declare this with a shout of joy, and let this be known, proclaim it to the end of the earth. Say, 'The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob!' And if they thirst, he shall lead them through the desert, He shall bring forth water for them out of the rock. Rejoice, O barren one who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry loud, you who have not been in travail! For more are the children of the desolate one than of her who has a husband."

Vespers, 2nd Reading

Composite - Malachi Chs. 3,4

Thus saith the Lord Almighty: "Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before thee, and the Lord whom you seek, shall come into His temple. But who can endure the day of His coming? For he is coming like fire of a furnace and like the fuller's herb; and he shall cleanse, refining and purifying, as it were, silver and gold. And he comes to you with judgment, and will be a swift witness against the evil ones and against adulterers, and against those who swear falsely by My name, against those who withhold the hireling's wages, against those who oppress widows and beat orphans, against those who avoid judgment in favor of strangers, and against those who do not fear him," says the Lord Almighty.
"For I am the Lord your God, and I change not; and you, the sons of Jacob, have turned aside from the law and have not kept it. Return to Me, therefore, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty. "And all nations shall call you blessed, and they shall understand that I am the Lord, who distinguishes between the righteous and between the transgressors on that day, in which I shall act to spare those who love me.
"Know, therefore, and remember the Law of Moses, My servant, as I commanded you at Horeb, the statues and ordinances for all Israel. And behold, I will send to you Elijah the Tishbite before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes, who shall turn the heart of a father to his son, and the heart of a man to his neighbor, lest I come quickly and smite the earth," saith the Lord Almighty, God, the One of Israel.

Vespers, 3rd Reading

Composite - Wisdom of Solomon Chs. 4, 5

The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. The righteous man who has died will judge the ungodly who are living. For they will see the end of the righteous, and will not understand what was said about him; for the Lord will cast down the ungodly speechless to the ground and shake them from the foundations; they shall become desolate to the end; they will be in sorrows, and their memory will perish. For they will come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them.
Then the righteous man will stand with great boldness before those who have afflicted him, and those who have made of no account his labors. Having seen it, they shall be troubled with much fear and they will be amazed at his most-glorious salvation. They will say within themselves in repentance, in anguish of spirit they will groan and say: "This was he whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach - we fools! We accounted his life as madness, and his end to be without honor. How is he numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot among the Saints?
"Therefore, we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not illumine us, nor did the sun shine on us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we walked impassible pathways, but the way of the Lord we have not known."

Matins Gospel

Matthew 14:1-13

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him." For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Because John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

But when Herod's birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter."

And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.

Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.


Acts 13:25-32

Paul said: "And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.'

"Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.  For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.  And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.  Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.  But God raised Him from the dead.  He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings-that promise which was made to the fathers."


Mark 6:14-30

Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, "John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."
Others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets."
But when Herod heard, he said, "This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!"
For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.
Because John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.
And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you."
He also swore to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
So she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist!"
Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.
Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison,
brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.


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