Prologue of Ohrid

JANUARY
 
 
 
 
FEBRUARY
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARCH
 
 
 
 
APRIL
 
 
 
 
 
MAY
 
 
 
 
JUNE
 
 
 
 
 
JULY
 
 
 
 
AUGUST
 
 
 
 
SEPTEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
OCTOBER
 
 
 
 
NOVEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
DECEMBER
 
 
 
 

March 10

1. THE HOLY MARTYR CODRATUS OF CORINTH AND OTHERS WITH HIM

During the time of the persecution of Christians, many of the faithful fled to the mountains and into the caves. So did the mother of Codratus. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth to Codratus in the forest and died shortly thereafter. Codratus was cared for by, fed by and guided by Divine Providence and by his Guardian Angel. Codratus grew up in nature and in solitude. He, who gave manna from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness, dropped from the clouds a sweet dew on the mouth of the child Codratus. When he was twelve years old, he entered into town and there some benevolent men took a liking to him and provided him with an education. He studied medicine and healed the sick, as much with natural cures and even more by the power of the spirit and prayer, which he was accustomed to since his childhood. When a new persecution arose again under Decius, Codratus was brought to trial and cast into prison. Five companions joined him and confessed the name of Christ. They were Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul and Crescens. They were all dragged through the streets by the pagans, especially by their children. They were beaten with rods and stoned until they were eventually dragged to the scaffold. There, the martyrs prayed to God and were beheaded. On this spot a source of watergushed out of the ground which is still called Codratus even today and is a reminder of the heroic deaths of these six holy innocents for Christ. They honorably suffered for the truth in the year 250 A.D. in Corinth during the reign of Emperor Decius and his governor, Jason.

2. THE HOLY MARTYR CODRATUS OF NICOMEDIA

He was a wealthy nobleman and at the same time a staunch baptized Christian. During time of persecution when Valerian imprisoned many Christians, Codratus bribed the jailers and entered the prison bringing with him various foodstuffs for those in captivity and strengthened them in their faith. When they were brought before the judge who questioned them about their names, their homeland, and their rank, they remained silent. Then Codratus suddenly appeared behind them and cried out with a loud voice, "By name, we are Christians; servants of Jesus Christ the Lord, by title and by birth; and our city and homeland is heaven." After this declaration, he was also arrested and after prolonged and cruel torture was beheaded with the others.

3. THE VENERABLE MOTHER ANASTASIA

Anastasia was a patrician and lady of the imperial palace of Emperor Justinian. After she was widowed and when she perceived that Empress Theodora could not tolerate her, she immediately slipped out of Constantinople and turned up in the wilderness of Egypt. The renown spiritual father Abba Daniel tonsured her a nun and presented her as the monk Anastasius the eunuch according to her wishes so that, as a woman under the guise of a man, she could easily be protected and hidden from the pursuit of the emperor. Anastasia then closed herself off in a narrow cell where she spent twenty-eight years and died there in the year 563 A.D. Before her death, the Elder Daniel saw her face glow like the sun.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT ANASTASIA

One time, a glorious patrician Venerable Anastasia,

Money, flattery, abandoned she all,

To Christ, her entire life she directed;

Christ, her bread; Christ, her water;

Christ, her joy and freedom,

Christ, the restorer of her soul,

Christ, the bridge over death.

Anastasia became shriveled,

The spirit through her withered face shines;

The spirit raises her higher to God,

With the spirit of God, she breathes,

Until illuminated, she became,

By Grace enlightened,

By the power of God strengthened

And among the Living inscribed.

All she forgave, all she loved,

And for the entire world, she prays,

Like an angel, she was indeed,

Wholly fixed on Christ;

By the power of God, more powerful was she

And by riches, more wealthy

Than the Empress Theodora

Amidst the opulence of the imperial court.

REFLECTION

When the forty-two Greek commanders from Ammoria were in Agaha's prison [refer to March 6], certain Muslim sages came to counsel them to embrace the faith of Mohammed and thereby receive their freedom. These sages stressed to theseChristian commanders the two advantages of Islam over Christianity: First: Mohammed is a more recent prophet than Christ and, Second: the Muslims were victorious on all sides over Christianity by which God clearly points out the truth of their religion. To the first point, the commanders replied, "If two men are debating over a field, and one has many witnesses that the field is his and the other does not have any witnesses except his own personal statement, what do you think? Whose field is it?" To this the Agha's men replied, "By all means, the field is his who had many witnesses." To that, the commanders replied, "By yourselves you have judged in favor of Christ and against Mohammed for Christ had with Him the witnesses of all the Prophets and Apostles, but Mohammed alone witnesses to himself." To the second point, the commanders replied, "If you would gauge the truth of a faith by victories in wars, then this would mean that all the idolatrous nations, who from time to time have conquered the world, such as the Persians, Greeks, Romans and others, possessed the true faith. This, even you Muslims would never acknowledge. And because you have been victorious over the Christians now, this does not mean that your faith is better; rather, that our sins are greater and because of this, God punishes us, through you."

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus at judgment before Caiaphas:

1. How the elders of the Jews searched everywhere for false witnesses;

2. How the witnesses testified to the contrary;

3. How our Lord listened to all the slanders and remained silent and without anger.

HOMILY

About revealed secrets

"Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known" (St. Matthew 10:26).

There is one eye, brethren, which never sleeps. That is the eye of God. There are more eyes in the heavens, brethren, than there are stars in the firmament of heaven. They are the eyes of the angels. No veil nor any wall nor darkness can conceal any kind of secret on earth from these eyes. Everything is revealed and open before the All-Seeing God and His Holy Angels. The man who believes that all the works of man can be hidden becomes a criminal. Thus thought the elders of the Jews who arranged and plotted in secrecy their evil plot against Christ the Lord. Secretly they persecuted Him; secretly they judged Him in the darkness of night; and secretly they bribed and paid false witnesses. And, as did Judas, they secretly condemned Him. Where are their secrets today? All have become revealed and open before the entire world. It is easier for man to hide from the air than from the sight of God. All the secrets of mankind, both, the good and evil, are revealed before God. A countless number of those secrets God reveals to the entire world according to His Providence. Those who can understand this truth, that God sees all and knows all, carefully guard themselves from evil thoughts in the secret of their hearts and especially from evil deeds. Whenever your heart entices you to do evil, O man, call to mind these words which are not of man but of God, "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known." And you, whatever good you do in secret, do not become faint-hearted. All of your good is written in the heavens and will be revealed in its time.

O, All-Seeing Lord, help us and save us.
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