Prologue of Ohrid


May 7


During the reign of Emperor Constantius, the son of St. Constantine, and Cyril the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Honorable Cross appeared about 9:00 a.m. stretching out from Golgotha to above the Mount of Olives. This Cross was brighter than the sun and more beautiful than the most beautiful rainbow. All the people, both believing and unbelieving, left their work and, in fear and amazement, observed this heavenly sign. Many unbelievers converted to the Faith of Christ, and so also did many Arian heretics abandon their evil heresy and returned to Orthodoxy. About this sign, Patriarch Cyril wrote a letter to Emperor Constantius [337-361 A.D.] who had inclinations toward Arianism. This occurred on May 7, 357 A.D. Thus, even on this occasion it was demonstrated that the Christian Faith is not worldly theorizing, according to the sensual understanding of man. Rather it is God's power, demonstrated through numerous miracles and signs.


St. Acacius was a Roman officer during the reign of Emperor Maximian. Answering for his faith in Christ at his trial, he said that he inherited this devout Faith from his parents and was strengthened in it by witnessing the many miraculous healings wrought by the relics of Christian saints. After courageously enduring great tortures in the Thracian city of Pyrrinthus, Acacius was taken to Byzantium. There he endured new tortures until he was finally beheaded. He suffered honorably and took up his habitation in the Eternal Kingdom of joy in the year 303 A.D.


In the sixth century, two hundred years after St. Nina preached the Good News (Gospel) in Georgia, the Most-Holy Mother of God appeared to John, an Antiochian ascetic, and commanded that he select twelve of his disciples and go to Georgia to strengthen the Faith of Orthodoxy. And so he did. Arriving in Georgia, these twelve missionaries were solemnly received by the prince of that country and the Catholicos Eulalius and immediately began their work with zeal. The people gathered around them in masses, and they strengthened the people in the Faith with great wisdom and many miracles. The head of these Christ-loving missionaries was St. John Zedazeni and the names of the others were: Abidus, Anthony, David, Zenon, Thaddeus, Jesse, Isidore, Joseph, Michael, Pyrrus, Stephen and Shio. With apostolic zeal they all confirmed the Faith of Christ in Georgia, established many monasteries, and left many disciples after them. Thus, they were made worthy of glory in the heavens and power on earth.


Acacius, soldier of the King Most High,

For death, he prepares,

With the incense of prayer, his soul filled.

The godless judge asks him:

"Why does not Christ the faithful deliver?

Why does He not your tormentors punish,

When, Almighty God, you call Him?"

The martyr to him, meekly replies:

"Great in mercy, the Lord Christ is,

In mercy and in patience, long-suffering.

He awaits repentance from the sinner,

And patient suffering from the faithful.

If the sinners, He immediately punished

How would, His mercy, He reveal?

And the righteous--if they would not suffer,

By what would they show the power of God?

By what would they before the world shine?"

Having said these words, Acacius is beheaded,

And to Paradise, his soul ascends.


"I recognize that my debt was greater, and that more was forgiven me. I was called to the priesthood from juridical and public offices; and that is why I show myself ungrateful if I love less than the measure to which I am forgiven." These are the words of St. Ambrose, who was unexpectedly called by God to change vocations, and having been a secular judge, to become an archbishop of Christ's Church. With these words the saint demonstrated how the priestly calling is greater than the secular calling, how to the priestly vocation he came by God's calling, and how he who is called owes thanksgiving to God. The debt of thanksgiving to God, all the saints considered as their main debt. Without thanksgiving to God there can be no progress in the spiritual life. Thanksgiving to God, without ceasing, is the noble seed from which, if it is watered by the tears of unceasing repentance, a beautiful fruit grows--love for God.


To contemplate the Descent of God the Holy Spirit upon the holy apostles:

1. How the apostles stood in one mind at prayer;

2. How, suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind.


About how by sins good is being turned back from man

"Your sins have turned back these blessings from you" (Jeremiah 5:25).

If you do not possess good in abundance, O people, that means you have sin in abundance. Your sins have turned your good from you. O people, if you wish good for yourselves, reject sin and sin no more. Then you will move toward good, good will come to you, and good will not depart from you.

O man, if you do not have good, it means that you have sin. Good cannot dwell in the same house with sin, just as light and darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time. When light departs, darkness settles in, and when the darkness departs, the light shines. Thus, sin and good can be interchanged, but they cannot dwell together.

O my brethren, your sins have turned back these blessings from you. These words were not spoken by only one prophet, to one people only; rather, every true prophet spoke these words to his people. False prophets flatter their people with sins, and thus they assist even more in turning back good from their people. The true prophets oppose the sins of the people, for they consort with good and cry out against sin, so as to introduce the good from God into the souls of their people. If the beehive begins to stink, will the honey-bees enter and deposit their honey in it? No! And when irrational bees refuse to enter a putrid and smoke-ridden beehive, then how will the rational Spirit of God enter a soul that is putrid and smoke-ridden from sin? And the Spirit of God is the possessor and the dispenser of all good gifts.

O Lord, Holy Spirit, help Your people by Your irresistible power to drive away sin from their souls; so that You would be able to enter inside with Your life-creating gifts.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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