Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, Righteous Gideon, Judge of Israel. St. Ephraim, abbot of Perekop, Wonderworker of Novgorod.
(Greek Calendar: Martyr Cyra.)
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!
Death, for men who understand it, is immortality; while for the simple, who do not understand it, it is death. And one should not fear this death, but ought to fear the perdition of the soul, which is ignorance of God. This is what is terrible for the soul! Life is the uniting and joining of the mind (spirit), soul and body; while death is not the perdition of these joined parts, but the dissolution of their union; God preserves all this even after the dissolution. Just as a man comes forth from his mother's womb, so does a soul come forth naked from the body. Some are pure and bright, some are spotted by falls, and some are black from many transgressions. That is why the wise and Godloving soul, remembering and considering the calamities and extremities that come after death, lives piously lest it be condemned and subjected to them. But the unbelievers, the mindless in soul, do not perceive and they sin, despising what is to come. Just as on issuing forth from the womb thou dost not remember what was in the womb, so on issuing forth from the body thou dost not remember what was in the body. Just as on issuing forth from the womb thou becamest better and greater in body, so on issuing forth from the body pure and undefiled, thou wilt be better and incorrupt, abiding in the heavens.
Mortal men ought to care about themselves, knowing in advance that death awaits them. For blessed immortality is the lot of the holy soul when it is good, and death eternal meets it when it is evil. Remember that thy youth is past and thy powers exhausted, while thine infirmities have grown and already the time of thy departure is near, when thou wilt give an account of all thy deeds; and know that there, neither will brother redeem brother, nor will father deliver son. Always remember thy departure from the body, and do not let eternal condemnation out of thy thoughts; if thou wilt act thus, thou wilt not sin unto the ages.
Venerable Anthony the Great.