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Sunday of the Fathers

On the Sunday which falls on or immediately after the eleventh of this month we commemorate the 350 Holy Fathers who participated in the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 787, under Patriarch Tarasius to refute the Iconoclast Heresy.   Initially receiving Imperial support beginning with the Edict issued in 726 by Emperor Leo the Isuarian, this heresy was condemned by the Fathers of this Council supported by Empress Irene and her son, Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus.   Many of the Fathers who condemned Iconoclasm at this Council later died as Confessors and Martyrs for the holy Icons during the second assault of Iconoclasm in the ninth century, especially during the reigns of Leo the Armenian and Theophilus.

The Parable of the Sower, which is the Gospel reading for this 21st Sunday after Pentecost, is one of the best known of the Gospel texts.   But this parable may perhaps be better known in its negative aspects – the instances of the seed that does not grow – than in its positive aspect.  We know that the seed grows if it falls on “good ground,” but we may not see precisely and concretely enough the conditions set out in the Gospel for its germination.

Today’s Epistle reading - for the Sunday of the Fathers – is from the Letter to the Hebrews and advises us to “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.” 


The following readings below are for Sunday, October 17, 2021:

Today's Epistle reading [Hebrews 13.7-16]:

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. 
 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. 
 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. 
 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 
 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 
 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 
 Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 
 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. 
 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 
 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 



The Gospel reading for today [Luke 8.5-15]:

"A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 
 And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 
 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 
 And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." As he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 
 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 
 he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. 
 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 
 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. 
 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 
 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 
 And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.