Prologue of Ohrid

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February 17

1. THE HOLY GREAT MARTRY THEODORE TIRO

The word Tiro means recruit. Just as soon as Theodore had entered the army in the Marmarite regiment in the town of Amasea then the persecution of Christians began under the Emperors Maximian and Maximus. As Theodore did not try to conceal the fact that he also was a Christian, he was dragged to court and thrown into prison which was then locked and sealed because the nefarious judge wanted Theodore to die of starvation. The Lord Christ Himself appeared to Theodore in prison and encouraged His martyr, saying to him: "Fear not Theodore, I am with you; do not partake of earthly food and drink anymore, for you will be with Me in the other world in the heavens; eternal and permanent." At that moment there appeared a multitude of angels in the prison and the entire prison shown brightly and the guards, seeing angels dressed in white raiment, became very frightened. After that, St. Theodore was taken out, tortured and condemned to death. Theodore was tossed into a fire and gave up his holy soul to God the Most High. He suffered in the year 306 A.D.

2. VENERABLE THEODOSIUS THE BULGARIAN AND ROMAN HIS DISCIPLE

As a monk, St. Theodosius settled not far from the city of Trnovo [Bulgaria] where he established a monastic community, which was named after him. He notably distinguished himself at a council in Bulgaria against the Bogomils in the year 1360 A.D. Protecting the Orthodox Faith at this council, by his reasoning, he shamed the Bogomils. He ended his earthy life in Constantinople in the year 1362 A.D. His disciple, Roman, continued to live a life of asceticism in Theodosius' community until his death.

3. SAINT MIRIAM

Miriam was the sister of the Holy Apostle Philip. She traveled with her brother and together with him preached the Gospel in Hierapolis and in other places. Following the martyr's death of Philip, Miriam continued her missionary work in Lycaonia where she died.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT THEODORE TIRO

"Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world." (*)

These are holy words both then and now.

For all who suffer, that is the true balm,

Mostly for the glorious martyrs of God.

Why should you, of the more fearful ones, be afraid?

Of its own shadow, the world is afraid!

The powerful and the ruling ones, why fear?

And of dying things, constantly dying?

Who is with the Householder is not afraid of the house,

The Householder sees everything that is in the house,

And nothing there is, that He would not know,

And His servant, what should he be afraid of?

And yet when he hears the Lord as He says:

"]Do not be afraid of the world!" What more do you desire?

"Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world!"

Our Lord reigns and rules over the world.
At the fire and death, Theodore smiled,

For that, wreaths he received, that never fades.

REFLECTION

An artist is one who, from crude and shapeless stone, carves and shapes forms similar to living creatures. An artist is one who weaves a multi-colored blanket from the wool of sheep. An artist is one who builds a magnificent palace out of earthly bricks. But what kind of artist on earth can be compared to Christ the Artist, who from illiterate men creates wise men, who from fishermen creates apostles, who from cowards creates heroes, who from the immoral creates saints? But all must be given over to the hand of the artist, in order to be fashioned into that which the artist knows and is capable of doing. All things, in truth, must be given over to the hand of the artist. Even men must give themselves over to the hand of Christ, in order for Him to carve, to weave or to build that which only He knows and is capable of. Nineteen past centuries witness to us, that all of them who did not protest [against Him] but rather gave themselves over to Christ the Artist and from the boorish and the ignorant became angel-seeing children of God.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus as an Artist above artists:

1. Who, from the body of man, which became savage from passions, creates a noble organ of every good work;

2. Who, from the chaos in the soul of man, creates the cosmos; a pure and shining mirror of the glory of God;

3. Who, from ignoble men creates an undefiled kingdom, a State of the holy - an artistic work without precedence and without comparison.

HOMILY

About death as sleeping

"All were weeping andmourning for her, when Hesaid: `Do not weep any longer, for she is not deadbut sleeping.' `And they ridiculedHim because they knew thatshe was dead" (St. Luke 8 52;53).

The reference here is about the dead daughter of Jarius. Jarius himself said that his daughter had died and his servants confirmed this. But, the Lord, the Giver-of life said: "Do not weep, she is not dead" and they ridiculed Him "because they knew that she was dead." The ignorant pretend that they know better than the Knower. The blind pretend that they see better than the All-seeing One [The Discerner]. But when the young girl arose and showed herself alive, the ignorant "were utterly astounded" (St. Mark 5:42).

Even today, the ignorant ridicule when they hear the divine truth. Divine truth speaks: There is a Living God! And the ignorant ridicule as though knowing that there is no God. Divine truth speaks: There is a Heavenly Kingdom! And the ignorant ridicule even this as though they know that there is not a heavenly kingdom. Divine truth asserts: The dead will resurrect! And the ignorant even deny this as though they know that this will not be. And when God appears and the angels of God appear, and the Kingdom of Heaven is made known, and the dead resurrect, then the ignorant ones will be "astonished with a great astonishment" (St. Mark 5:42).

Who can save the world from the ignorant? No one can save the world except Christ the Omniscience, the Omnipotent. By what can the ignorant be saved? By nothing except by faith in Christ and faith to Christ. Who are the most ignorant ones in the world? They are those who deny whatever Christ claimed and claim whatever He denied. In a word: there are those who think that they know something contrary to the knowledge of Christ. They are the worst and the most dangerous ignorant ones both to themselves and to others.

My brethren, know that everything and everyone can deceive us except Christ the Lord and our Friend. He always knows and we do not always know, except when we look at Him and listen to Him.

O Lord, Merciful and All-merciful, help all the ignorant that, before death and judgment, they may be "astonished with great astonishment" and that they too will be saved in the kingdom of Your holy ones.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

(*) St. John 16:33
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