Daily Reflection for October 20, 2020
DAILY REFLECTION • OCTOBER 20 • Greatmartyr Artemius at Antioch
This glorious saint was an Egyptian by birth and the chief commander under Emperor Constantine the Great. When the victorious Cross, surrounded by stars, appeared to Emperor Constantine, Artemius also saw that Cross, believed in the Lord Christ and was baptized. Later, during the reign of Emperor Constantius, this emperor sent him to Greece to remove the relics of St. Andrew from Patras and St. Luke from Thebes, and to take them to Constantinople. Commander Artemius carried this out with joy. After that, Artemius was appointed as augustali and imperial prefect in Egypt. He remained in this position during the reign of Constantius, and for a period of time under Emperor Julian the Apostate. When the apostate emperor went to war against the Persians, he came through Antioch and commanded Artemius to come to Antioch with his army. Artemius came. Then the emperor subjected two Christian priests, Eugenius and Macarius, to torture. Seeing this, Artemius became greatly disturbed and, facing the emperor, said: “Why, O Emperor, why do you inhumanly torture these innocent and dedicated men of God, and why do you force them to renounce the Orthodox Faith?” Artemius continued, prophesying: “Your death is near.” The enraged emperor sent those two honorable priests into exile to Arabia, where they died shortly thereafter. He then stripped Commander Artemius of his military rank and ordered him to be flogged and torn asunder. Thoroughly wounded and bloodied, Artemius was thrown into prison, where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, and healed and comforted him. Then the emperor commanded that he be spread out on a stone, and that another heavy stone be placed upon him, so that his body would be smashed flat as a board. Finally, St. Artemius was beheaded. It was the year 362. Emperor Julian went out against the Persians and perished dishonorably, as St. Artemius had foretold.(St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid)
Fr. John’s Reflection
God is our refuge and power; a help in afflictions that severely befall us. Therefore we will not fear when the earth is troubled, and when mountains are removed into the hearts of the seas. Their waters roared and were troubled; the mountains were troubled by His might.
The torrents of the river gladden the city of God; the Most High sanctified His tabernacle. God is in her midst; she shall not be shaken; God help her early in the morning. The nations were troubled; kingdoms fell; He uttered His voice; the earth shook. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our protector.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, the wonders He wrought on the earth. When He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth, He will break the bow and shatter the weapon; and He will burn up the shields in fire. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our protector. (Psalm 45/46)
Psalm 45 is full of lofty and powerful images that speak to us. The psalmist glorifies God as our refuge and power and help in afflictions; in particular that refuge, power, and help sustain us when the earth is troubled. Isn’t that an apt image for us today? Everything is in turmoil, sickness threatens especially the weakest among us, and “mountains are moved into the hearts of the seas.” The tumult of society and the earth itself can provoke fear in us, but it should not be so, for God is not only present but a refuge and power to us; a Protector.
The psalmist then gives us the image of our place of refuge: the Church. The torrents of the river are the image of the Spirit being poured out to gladden the City of God (the Church here on earth and the Church triumphant in the New Jerusalem). The tabernacle where God dwelt is His mother; He is in her midst and she shall not be shaken. The Virgin Mary is, of course, also the image of the Church — the place where God dwells among men.
Finally, the image of the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God — the Church, is finally painted in the language at the end of the psalm: wars will cease; the bow will be broken and the weapon shattered; the shields will be burned in fire. And the only way we can know God is to be still and then He will be exalted in all the nations. If we are still in our lives in order to know God, then run to take refuge in the City of God, He will be glorified in our lives and the in the world itself. In times of trouble and turmoil (are there ever any times that aren’t?), we must always remember that “The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our protector.” And trust in Him.
November 29, 2023
November 29, 2023
November 29, 2023