Prologue of Ohrid


January 27


The memory of this luminary of the Church is celebrated on November 13 and January 30, but on this date the Church celebrates the translation of his honorable relics from the Georgian village of Comana, where he had reposed in exile, to Constantinople, where he had previously governed the Church. Thirty years after the death of St. John, Patriarch Proclus delivered a homily in memory of his spiritual father and teacher. He so inflamed the love of the people and the emperor, Theodosius the Younger, toward this great saint, that all of them desired that Chrysostom's relics be translated to Constantinople. It was said that the sarcophagus containing the relics of St. John Chrysostom did not allow itself to be moved from its resting place until the emperor wrote a letter to Chrysostom begging him for forgiveness (for Theodosius' mother, Eudoxia, was responsible for the banishment of this saint) and appealing to him to come to Constantinople, his former residence. When this letter of repentance was placed on the sarcophagus, its weight became extremely light. At the time of the translation of his relics, many of the sick who touched the sarcophagus were healed. When the relics arrived in the capital, the emperor, in the name of his mother--as though she herself was speaking over the relics--again prayed to the saint for forgiveness: "While I lived in this transient life, I did you ill; and now, when you are living the immortal life, be of aid to my soul. My glory passed away and did not help me at all. Help me, Father; in your glory, help me before I am condemned at the Judgment of Christ!" When the saint was brought into the Church of the Twelve Apostles and placed on the patriarchal throne, the masses of people heard from St. John Chrysostom's mouth the words: "Peace be unto all." The translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom took place in the year 438 A.D.


At first, Titus was a soldier. When he sustained a head injury in battle, Titus withdrew from the world to the Monastery of the Kiev Caves, where he was healed and then tonsured as a monk. Titus spent his time in unceasing mourning for his earlier sins. Before his death, he was informed, through a heavenly apparition, that all of his sins had been forgiven. His relics lie in the Caves of Theodosius.



Saint John, a trumpet forged of gold,

Heralded to mankind the mercy of God--

Wondrous mercy, which even loves sinners;

Marvelous mercy, which shines through the sun,

And with the moon amazes the earth,

Rocking in the cradle of the stars.

The awesome mercy from bloody Golgotha,

Where the crucified God forgives the crime of the world.

Mercy of fear, forgiveness and glory,

Mercy of which the angels sing,

Of which the whole of creation drinks,

Which only the saints glorify;

Mercy which is a balm to the ill,

Joy to the simple, foolishness to the scribes,

Antidote for the proud and punishment for the vain.

The mercy of God, which all creation enjoys,

Which is poured out like a current of air;

Mercy that covers all sins:

Such mercy--unknown until Christ--

An eternal glow, from Christ radiated.

O Teacher of God's mercy,

Pray to God that He forgive our sins.


Fasting is a great thing, but love is even greater. If, through fasting, demons are cast out, passions tamed, the body pacified, and the spirit steadied; then, through love, God takes up His abode in man. The Lord Himself emphasized fasting as necessary, but stressed love as the main commandment. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Jeladin Bey ruled in Ohrid--a renegade from the Sultan and an independent ruler. At that time, the Church was governed by Metropolitan Callinicus. Even though of different faiths, Jeladin Bey and Callinicus were very good friends, and they often visited one another. It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to be hanged. They were scheduled to be hanged on Great and Holy Friday. The metropolitan, completely disturbed by this, went to Jeladin Bey and began to implore him to be more lenient with the sentence. While they were conversing, the time for lunch arrived and the bey invited the metropolitan to dine. Lamb had been prepared for lunch. The metropolitan excused himself, saying that because of the fast he could not remain for lunch, and he prepared to leave. The bey was sorry and said to the metropolitan: "Choose--either you dine with me and free twenty-five men from the gallows, or you do not dine and allow them to be hanged." The metropolitan crossed himself and sat down to eat, and Jeladin freed the condemned from the punishment of death.


Contemplate the Lord Jesus as High Priest:

1. Who offers to God, as a sacrifice, the entire time of His life on earth;

2. Who offers to God, as a sacrifice, His every word, His every feeling, His every thought, His every labor and His every tear;

3. Who finally offers Himself to God completely as a man, on behalf of man.


on the confusion of those of little faith

"What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" (Matthew 8:27).

The apostles questioned thus among themselves, not yet knowing the Lord Jesus, yet seeing how He calmed the turbulent sea and winds: What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? This is He Who created the winds and the sea. Therefore, what kind of miracle is it that His own created things obey Him? Is not the axe an obedient tool in the hands of him who made it? The Lord created everything by His word; that is why all things submit to His word.

Brethren, what sort of man is this? Who is He? This is the same One Who aforetime raised the winds and quieted them, and Who agitated the sea and subdued it. This is the same One Who also does this today. As a man, He stood before men and rebuked the animated wind and unbridled sea, in order to dispel the superstitions of men--that the winds and the sea are moved and calmed either by blind chance or by some evil power--and to reveal the truth forever, that the wise and beneficial power of the Creator directs and commands all the elements, according to His providence.

The apostles asked: "Who is He?" O Holy Apostles, He is the sinless Son of God, Whose name you will spread throughout the whole world, and for Whose name you will be tortured and slain as lambs by wolves. Who are the wolves? The wolves are those who think that the wind moves and the sea agitates and calms either of themselves only or of the devil. O Holy Apostles, you who asked and who received a true reply and proclaimed the whole truth to the whole world, pray for us so that we too may be enlightened by that truth.

O Lord, all-wise and all-powerful, calm the winds of sin and subdue the storm of our filthy and unworthy passions.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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