May 2, 2012 + from Homily XXI


The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Acts of the Apostles

"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that be would not delay to come to them." (Acts 9:36-38)

Why did they wait till she was dead? Why was not Peter solicited before this? So right-minded were they, they did not think it proper to trouble the Disciples about such matters, and to take them away from the preaching: as indeed this is why it mentions that the place was near, seeing they asked this as a thing beside his mark, and not now in the regular course. "Not to delay to come unto them:" for she was a disciple. And Peter arose, and went with them.

And when he was come, they led him into the upper chamber." (v. 39.) They do not beseech, but leave it to him to give her life.  See what a cheering inducement to alms is here! "And all the widows," it says, "stood round him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them."

Peter went into the apartment, as one who took it calmly, but see what an accession came of it! It is not without a meaning that the Writer has informed us of the woman's name, but to show that the name she bore matched her character; as active and wakeful was she as an antelope. For in many instances there is a Providence in the giving of names, as we have often told you. "She was full," it says, "of good works:" not only of alms, but "of good works," first, and then of this good work in particular. "Which," it says, "Dorcas made while she was with them." Great humility! Not as we do; but they were all together in common, and in company with them she made these things and worked.

"But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up." (v. 40.) Why does he put them all out? That he may not be confused nor disturbed by their weeping. "And having knelt down, he prayed." Observe the intentness of his prayer. "And he gave her his hand." (v. 41.)  So did Christ to the daughter of Jairus: "And (says the Evangelist) having taken her by the hand."

Mark severally, first the life, then the strength brought into her, the one by the word, the other by his hand--" And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive:" to some for comfort, because they received back their sister, and because they saw the miracle, and for kindly support to others.

"And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner." (v. 42-43.) Mark the unassuming conduct, mark the moderation of Peter, how he does not make his abode with this lady, or some other person of distinction, but with a tanner: by all his acts leading men to humility, neither suffering the mean to be ashamed, nor the great to be elated!

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Holy Martyr Pelagia - May 4

Troparion of St. Pelagia, Tone 3

Thou didst abandon dark ignorance through knowledge of the Faith, O Pelagia, fair virgin of Christ. Thou wast refreshed by His dew and didst finish thy contest by fire. O glorious Martyr, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion of St. Pelagia, Tone 2

Abandoning thy mortal betrothed to be wedded to the Immortal, thou didst offer thy dowry of chastity and contest. Wherefore, O Pelagia, we acclaim thee.