Prologue of Ohrid


February 19


Archippus was one of the Seventy Apostles. The Apostle Paul mentions him in his Epistle to the Colossians: And tell Archippus, 'See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord' (Colossians 4:17), as well as in his letter to Philemon, calling him our fellow soldier (Philemon 1:2). In the town of Colossae, the center of Christianity, was in the home of Philemon. Here Christians gathered for prayer. In writing to Philemon, the Apostle Paul called this the church in your house (Philemon 1:2). At that time, the apostles ordained their disciples as bishops; some of them in permanent places and others as missionaries traveling to various places. Philemon was one of the latter. Apphia, Philemon's wife, hosted and served in the domestic church! At the time of a pagan feast to the goddess Artemis, according to their custom, all the faithful in Colossae gathered in the home of Philemon for prayer. The pagans, learning of this gathering, rushed and apprehended all the Christians.  As the leaders, Philemon, Apphia and Archippus were first whipped and afterwards buried up to their waists and stoned. Thus, they killed Philemon and Apphia, and Archippus they removed from the pit barely alive and left him to the amusement of the children. The children pierced him throughout with knives. Thus, this "fellow soldier" in battle ended well in the course of his earthly path.


Dositheus was a disciple of the glorious Abba Dorotheus, who lived in the cenobitic monastic community of the Venerables Serdius, John and Barsanuphius the Great. Dositheus was a kinsman of a general, and came to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Shrines. Once, while he was gazing upon an icon of the Dread Judgment in a church, a woman clothed in purple attire approached him and began explaining the icon to him. Finally, before parting, she said that if he desire to be saved, he should fast, abstain from meat, and pray to God often. That was the All-Holy Virgin Birthgiver of God [The Theotokos]. The heart of the young Dositheus became inflamed, and he desired the life of a monk. Dorotheus received him as his novice [Iskusenik] and ordered him to completely abandon his will and to obey his spiritual father. For a few days, he gave him as much as he wanted to eat. After a period of time, Dorotheus cut down his rations by one-fourth, and after a period of time again by one-fourth, until Dositheus became accustomed to get by with the least amount of food, always saying to Dositheus: "eating is a habit, and as much as a person is accustomed to eat, that much he will eat." He was saved and glorified by total obedience. He remained forever an example of monastic obedience and dedication to one's spiritual father. This young saint lived in the sixth century.



Obedience without murmuring, salvation complete:

Among the spiritual, the first pearl; stone most precious.

This pearl, from Eve's necklace, unraveled,

And after it, all the goods, by God, bestowed.

The devil speaks both then and now: "To God, do not listen;

Rather, according to the thoughts of your mind, live only!"

Thus speaks the devil, from time immemorial, who detested the light;

Thus speaking, the disobedient with his noose he fitted.

Christ came, and to the people cried out: the obedient He summoned.

To every call, the disobedient did not respond.

The scene of Paradise, from Christ until now, repeats itself:

The obedient to Paradise are raised; the disobedient fall.

To his spiritual father, the true monk is obedient;

The father, to the Church; the Church, to Christ, her Lord.

Obedience, the reliable path toward salvation, is

Of the spiritual necklace, the first light, the first pearl.


St. Anthony teaches: "Just as a man comes forth naked from his mother's womb, so the soul comes forth naked from the body. One soul is pure and bright, the second is soiled by sin, and a third is blackened by many sins.  If a body comes forth from a mother's womb unhealthy, it cannot live; and so the soul, if it does not attain the knowledge of God through good behavior, it cannot be saved, neither can it be in communion with God. The organ of bodily sight is the eye; the organ of spiritual sight is the mind. Just as the body is blind without eyes, so the soul is blind without a correct mind and correct life."


To contemplate the Lord Jesus in the midst of the common people:

1. How with love He teaches the people as a parent teaches his children;

2. How the common people received His words, were astonished by His works, and glorifed God;

3. How even today, the common people, free from corruption, receive His words with joy and thanksgiving.


About testing

"The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?" (St. Luke 16: 10-12).

This is how the Householder of both the material and spiritual world speaks. Material wealth He calls "small" and the spiritual wealth He calls "great." To whomever material wealth is given and he proves himself to be selfish, hardhearted, arrogant, unmerciful and godless, to him spiritual wealth cannot be given.  For if he is unfaithful in small things, he will be unfaithful in great things; when he is unfaithful in the physical, he will be unfaithful in the spiritual.

Man undergoes a test in a foreign world, and if he passes the test he will gain his own world.  If, however, he fails the test, who will give him his world? Man's true world, his homeland, is the heavenly, sublime, divine world. The earthly world, however, is the world of coarseness and deterioration; a foreign world for man. But man is sent into this foreign world to complete a test for the sake of his true world; for his heavenly homeland.

Both expressions of the Savior, however, are similar in meaning. Oh, how profound and true is their meaning! Just as light disperses darkness, so do these words of the Savior disperse our confusion in relation to that: why are we sent into this life? And what should we do? Whoever is able to read with a pure understanding, to him, everything is said in these two sentences.

Therefore, let us know that God will not bestow the spiritual gifts--the gift of understanding, nor the gift of faith, nor the gift of love, nor the gift of purity, nor the gift of prophecy, nor the gift of miracle-working, nor the gift of authority over demons, nor the gift of discernment, nor the gift of the vision of the heavenly world--on him who has gambled and used these gifts for evil, as did the prodigal son, with the gifts of bodily health, or earthly riches, or glory and position among men, or knowledge of the material world, or some other skill or ability.

O Lord most gentle, sustain our fidelity toward You in that which You have entrusted to us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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