Saint Justin of Nabulsi, martyr
The philosopher Justin was born at the beginning of the second century AD in Nablus, probably from a pagan family of Latin origin. After studying in depth the ideas of the Greek philosophers, especially Plato, he began reading the prophecies of the Old Testament and was guided through them to the Christian faith. He was baptized in the year 130 in the city of Ephesus, then he went to Rome to preach to its pagan scholars, using his philosophical knowledge, so he opened a school in it and organized public debates. He wrote a lot in defense of religion. Among his works that have come down to us is a book in which he argues with the Jews, known as “Dialogue with Tryphon,” and another that he sent to Emperor Antoninus, in which he defends the Christians. The Roman authorities accused him of atheism, so he died a martyr along with other companions, during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, around the year 165. Among his most famous sayings: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of faith.”
Saints Marcellins and Peter, the two martyrs
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter ordained (meaning authorized to cast out demons), who lived in Rome between the third and fourth centuries AD. They were martyred during the persecution of Christians during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (between 303-305). Pope Damesus was the first to tell the story of their martyrdom, which he heard from the same executioner when he was a young boy. In it, it was stated that they were sentenced to dig their graves in a forest so that their traces would disappear. After their death, a pious woman named Lucilla gave them a proper burial. As for the executioner, he was guided to faith in his old age and was baptized by Pope Julius I. After the end of persecution, Emperor Constantine built a church over their tomb. They are mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer, which is one of the oldest prayers used in the Roman Latin Mass.
Saint Ephrem the Syrian, deacon and teacher of the church
He was born around 306 AD in Nusaybin, a region between the two rivers in present-day Turkey. He received baptism at the age of eighteen, then was ordained a deacon, and established a school of theology with the help of St. Jacob al-Nusaibi. In addition to the life of asceticism and austerity, he spent a short time in preaching, interpreting the Bible, and the doctrines of the true faith. He composed many hymns in the Syriac language, and his writings were among the masterpieces of Syrian Christian literature, delicacy and beauty, and an expression of his deep thought. Thus, he deserved the title of “the beacon of the Holy Spirit.” He was privileged to praise the Virgin Mary. at the end of his life. After the Persians conquered Nusaybin, he retired with some of his students in the city of Edessa, where he rested in the Lord in the year 373. Pope Benedict XV declared him in 1920 a teacher of the universal church. Among his prayers: “Oh God, we meet you every day in your secrets, and we receive you in our body. Make us worthy to experience in our souls the resurrection we hope for.
Saint Anthony of Padua, priest and teacher of the church
He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in the late twelfth century. He entered the Order of St. Augustine. He was deeply affected by the testimony of some Franciscan monks who went to North Africa to preach and died there as martyrs. So he decided to follow their example: he belonged to the Order of Friars Minor, while its founder, Francis of Assisi, was still alive. He wanted to go to Africa, but divine providence wanted his activity to extend to France and Italy, so he bore abundant fruits and brought back many heretics to the orthodox faith. He was great with his virtues, talents and wonders. He was the first to teach theology in his newly established monk. He wrote sermons of great educational depth. He rested in the Lord in the city of Padova, northern Italy, in 1231. His holiness was declared in the year following his death, and his honor has been spreading since then. Among his sayings: “He who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks different languages. Different languages are the different testimonies we bear to Christ, including humility, poverty, patience, obedience... Words become alive when deeds speak. Let speech cease, and let deeds speak.”
Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
He is the son of the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth (Luke 1: 5-25; 57-85), from the descendants of Aaron. Today the church celebrates his birth, which is the day when the day begins to decrease, and it precedes the birth of Christ by six months, that is, when the day begins to increase. This reminds us of the words of the Baptist: “He must be greater, and I must be younger” (John 3:30). His parents lived in Judea and prayed fervently that God would bless them with a son. And one day, while Zacharias was performing the incense service in the temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and informed him that God had answered their prayer, and gave him the name by which the boy should be called when he was born, and announced to him that the child would be a cause of joy and rejoicing for many, and that he would be great before God and people. Because it will prepare the path of the expected Messiah. As for Zacharias, he did not believe this good news because of his old age and the old age of his wife. So he was given a sign from God, which is muteness, until the words of the angel were fulfilled. John was born in 5 BC. M. In the village of Ein Kerem, south of Jerusalem (Luke 1: 39). We know little about his youth. As for his manhood, we see him as an ascetic ascetic, following the example of Elijah the Prophet in rebuking people for their sins and calling them to repentance.
Saints Peter and Paul, the two apostles
In the Gospels there are texts highlighting how the Lord gave Peter a special status among the Apostles and in the Church (Matthew 16: 13-23; Luke 22: 31-32; John 21: 15-24). Thanks to this authority, we see Peter, after the Ascension of the Lord, at the head of the assembly. He is the one who addresses the crowds in the name of the apostles, calling them to faith and baptism, on the day of Pentecost, and accepts the pagans in the church, and inspects the state of the churches everywhere. After staying in Jerusalem and Antioch, he went to Rome, where he was the first bishop. He was martyred in 67, and buried in the Vatican Hill, where Emperor Constantine erected a great church in his name. The Bishops of Rome are his successors and servants of the unity of the universal Church. In this regard, Saint Ambrose says: “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” As for Paul, he was a Jew from Tarsus (in present-day Turkey), a Pharisee, with Roman citizenship. The Acts of the Apostles tells that while he was persecuting the Church, the Risen Lord appeared to him, so he was guided and roamed the lands preaching the Gospel, until he was martyred in the days of Nero, in the year 67, and was buried outside the walls of Rome, where a church was built in his name. He wrote many letters, thirteen of which have reached us, preceding the codification of the Four Gospels. The celebration of the feast of these two apostles probably dates back to the year 258.