640px-Lambert_Sustris_-_The_Baptism_of_the_Ethiopian_Eunuch_by_the_Deacon_Philip_-_WGA21979The Apostle Philip baptized this black man, a eunuch. Following his baptism the eunuch returned to his home and began to preach Christ. He was the first Apostle of Faith among the blacks in Ethiopia. “Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route. So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the Prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, `Go and join up with the chariot.’ Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the Prophet and said, `Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, `How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the scripture passage he was reading: `Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from earth.’ Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, `I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, `Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?’ Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing. Philip came to Azotus, and went about preaching the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea” (Acts of the Apostles 8: 26-40). The eunuch died a martyr and became worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Feast Day: January 4

by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ohrid

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