(The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Baramoudah)
I. The Commemoration of the Great Prophet Ezekiel, the son of Buzi:
On this day the great prophet Ezekiel the son of Buzi departed. This righteous man was a priest, and Nebuchadnezzar exiled him with king Jehoiachin to Babylon. There in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar, the spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he prophesied about wondrous things for twenty two years. He spoke concerning the birth of the Lord Christ by the Lady the Virgin St. Mary and how after she had borne Him, she would remain a virgin: "Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut" (Ezekiel 44:1-2). He prophesied concerning the baptism that sanctify the soul of the man and his body, soften his stony heart, and make him a son of God by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him. He admonished the priests for their forsaken the teaching of the people, warning them that God will ask for their souls from them if they neglect teaching them. He prophesied concerning the common resurrection and the rising of the bodies with their souls, and about their rewards for whatever they deserve. He said many useful sayings which are of benefit to those who read them, and God manifested through him many signs and great wonders. When the children of Israel worshipped idols in Babylon, he rebuked them and their leaders rose up and killed him. They buried him in the tomb of Shem and Arphaxad.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
II. The Martyrdom of St. Hepatius, Bishop of Gangra:
On this day also St. Hepatius, Bishop of Gangra, in the province of Paphlognia (Pavlagonia), was martyred. He was in the early part of the fourth century, and he attended the first Universal Council at Nicea, year 325 A.D. He was one of the great fathers that defended the Divinity of the Word of God and His equality with His Father in essence, and refuted the error of the heresies of Arius, Appolonius, Novatius and others.
God had honored him with the gift of performing wonders, and was called the wonder worker. One of his wonders, during the days of Emperor Constans the son of Constantine the great: A beast entered the royal barns. The Emperor sent to the Saint asking him to go to the barns and kill that beast. The holy shepherd went there and after he prayed, he asked the servants to collect firewood in the yard of the city and put it on fire and they did. The Saint took his staff and put it in the beast's mouth and led it to the fire and it was burnt. As a commemoration of this miracle the Emperor ordered to hang the saint's picture over the doors of the barns.
On his way back, from Nicea after attending the first Universal Council, to Gangra, a group of heretics were waiting for him by the road, attacked him, stoned him and he was martyred (On the 31st. day of March) then threw his body in a hay barn. When the people of the city of Gangra knew of the departure of their good shepherd, they went in hast to the place where he was martyred and took the holy remains with great honor and buried him in the city.
May his blessings be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.