The righteous Job, whose name means “persecuted”, God’s faithful servant, was the perfect image of every virtue. The son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), Job was a fifth-generation descendent of Abraham.
He was a truthful, righteous, patient and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. Job was very rich and blessed by God in all things, as was no other son of Ausis (his country, which lay between Idoumea and Arabia). However, divine condescension permitted him to be tested.
Job lost his children, his wealth, his glory, and every consolation all at once. His entire body became a terrible wound covered with boils. Yet he remained steadfast and patient in the face of his misfortune for seven years, always giving thanks to God.
Later, God restored his former prosperity, and he had twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 B.C. at the age of 240. Some authorities say that Job’s afflictions lasted only one year, and that afterwards he lived for 140 years, reaching the age of 210.
Job’s explanations are among the most poetic writings in the Old Testament book which bears his name. It is one of the most edifying portions of Holy Scripture. Job teaches us that we must endure life’s adversities patiently and with trust in God. As Saint Anthony the Great (January 17) says, without temptations, it is impossible for the faithful to be saved.
The Orthodox Church reads the book of Job, the first of the seven wisdom books of the Old Testament, during Holy Week, drawing a parallel between Job and Christ as righteous men who suffered through no fault of their own.
God allowed Satan to afflict Job so that his faithfulness would be proven. Christ, the only sinless one, suffered voluntarily for our sins. The Septuagint text of Job 42:17 says that Job “will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.”
This passage is read on Great and Holy Friday, when the composite Gospel at Vespers speaks of the tombs being opened at the moment the Savior died on the Cross, and the bodies of the saints were raised, and they appeared to many after Christ’s Resurrection (Mt.27:52).
Troparion, tone 1:
As an indestructible pillar of courage, you repulsed the attacks of Belial and remained unmoved in temptation. Therefore, O wise Job, the Church praises you as a model of endurance and an example of virtue; and she is made radiant by your great deeds.
The Holy Martyr Barbarus
The Holy Martyrs Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.
Saint Barbarus was secretly a Christian, and in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honor in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was given the title of comitus (imperial bodyguard).
After the victory over the Franks, Bacchus wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, and he deferred to Barbarus as the victor, allowing him to have the honor of making the first sacrificial offering.
Saint Barbarus openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. He was subjected to much torture for this, by order of Julian the Apostate. They suspended the saint and tore his body until his insides were falling out. Saint Barbarus called out to the Lord for help, and then an angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, so that not a trace of them remained.
Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded. They continued to torture Saint Barbarus.
They tied him to a wheel and lit a fire under it, and they sprinkled the body of the sufferer with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed. The fire burned many of the torturers, however, killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbarus for another seven days.
Through miraculous help from on high, the saint remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest power of God, many pagans were converted to the true God. Saint Barbarus finally completed his glorious endeavor by being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The martyr’s body was buried in the city of Methona in the Peloponnesus by the pious Bishop Philikios.
Troparion, tone 4:
Your holy martyr Barbarus and his companions, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls.