Prologue of Ohrid


May 12


Epiphanius was a Jew by birth, but, seeing the power of the Faith of Christ, he was baptized along with his sister Callithrope. At the age of twenty-six, he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of St. Hilarion. Later, he established a separate monastery, where he became famous throughout all of Palestine and Egypt because of his asceticism, spiritual wisdom and miracle-working. Fleeing from the glory of men, Epiphanius withdrew to Egypt. On the way, he met the great Paphnutius, who predicted that he would become bishop on the island of Cyprus. Indeed, after many years, by the Divine Providence, Epiphanius arrived at Cyprus. There he, unexpectedly, was chosen as bishop. At the age of sixty, he became the bishop of Salamis and, as such, governed the Church of God for fifty-five years. He lived a total of one-hundred fifteen years on this earth and then rested from this life, so as to live eternally in the Kingdom of Christ. Before his death, he was summoned to Constantinople by Emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia to an assembly of bishops, which, according to the wish of the emperor and the empress, should have condemned St. John Chrysostom. Arriving in Constantinople, Epiphanius went directly to the palace of the emperor. The emperor and empress detained him for a long while trying to persuade him to declare himself against Chrysostom. The citizens and Chrysostom heard that Epiphanius had agreed with the emperor against Chrysostom. That is why Chrysostom wrote him a letter: "Brother Epiphanius, I heard that you advised the emperor that I should be exiled; know that you will never see your throne again." To this, Epiphanius replied: "O suffering John, withstand insults; know that you will never reach the place to which you are exiled." And both prophecies of these saints were quickly fulfilled. Not wanting to agree in anyway with the emperor to the exile of Chrysostom, Epiphanius secretly boarded a ship and departed for Cyprus, but he died on the ship. The emperor banished Chrysostom into exile to Armenia, but the saint died en route. St. Epiphanius rested in the year 403 A.D. Among the many works of St. Epiphanius, the most famous is The Medicine Chest [Panarion], in which eighty heresies are listed and refuted.


Herman was the son of the chief imperial senator, who was killed by Emperor Constantine Pogonatus. The same evil emperor castrated the senator's son, Herman, and forcibly exiled him to a monastery. As a monk, Herman shone like a star by his life and good works. Because of this, he was chosen as the first bishop of Cyzicus. When Anastatius II was crowned emperor, Herman was elected as patriarch of Constantinople. As patriarch, he baptized the ill-reputed Copronymos, who at the time of his baptism soiled the water with his uncleanliness. Then the patriarch prophesied that this child, when he would become emperor, would introduce into the Holy Church some impure heresy. And this happened. When Copronymos became emperor, he restored the heresy of the iconoclasts. Leo the Isaurian, the father of Copronymos, initiated the persecution of icons, and when Patriarch Herman protested, the arrogant Leo cried out: "I am emperor and priest!" He removed Herman from the patriarchal throne and banished him to a monastery, where this saint lived for ten more years until the Lord called him to Himself and to the Heavenly Kingdom in the year 740 A.D.


Pancras came to Rome from Phrygia, where, as a fourteen-year-old boy, he was tortured and killed for Christ in the year 304 A.D. This saint is greatly revered in the West. In Rome there exists a church dedicated to him, and in this church his holy relics repose.


Epiphanius, follower of Christ,

With bread and water is fed.

By the power of Christ, miracles he performs;

Like thunder, heresies he destroys;

Soldier of Truth, pillar of Orthodoxy.

At death, this testament, he leaves:

"Vile thirst for money, you extinguish,

The rich man, do not ever envy,

Do not hate and do not slander,

And every heresy avoid.

All foul thoughts, as if they were serpents, drive away,

For they, out of believers, make unbelievers.

A sober mind you keep, bound to God,

Booty of the devil, an unsober man is,

For me, a sinner, pray to God.

With your whole life, glorify God!"


Saint Clement of Alexandria tells of a horrible custom among the barbarians. He says that when they capture their enemy, they tie him alive to the corpse of a dead man, and leave them bound together so that the living and dead decay together. If only it could be said: "Thank God that this barbarian custom is past!" In essence, it has not passed, but reigns today in full force. Everyone who ties their living spirit to the flesh deadened by barbarian passions is the same as the one who ties a living man to a corpse and leaves them both to decay.


To contemplate the action of the Holy Spirit on the apostles:

1. How, from fishermen,, He makes  fishers of men for the Kingdom of God;

2. How, from shepherds of an irrational flock, He makes shepherds of the rational flock.


About how men in prosperity do not listen to the law of God

"I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said: 'I will not hear' " (Jeremiah 22:21).

The Lord of Hosts raised this complaint against Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, and against the people of Judea. Are not these words valid even today when they are spoken to our people and almost, with few exceptions, to every one of us individually? When we feel ourselves prosperous, we leave God in the shadows and we relegate His words to oblivion. However, as soon as misfortune encompasses us with its dark wings, we turn to God and cry out to Him for help. In misfortune, the commandments of God seem to us as sweet as honey, but in prosperity they seem as bitter as medicine. Is not, therefore, misfortune better than prosperity? Is not misfortune in which we seek God more salvific than prosperity in which we forget God?

O earth, earth, earth! Hear the word of the Lord! (Jeremiah 22:29), cries out the true prophet of God. Man is the earth; the word of the Lord is life planted in that earth. Will the earth prefer to remain without the living crops and be cursed, or will it nurse the crops entrusted to it and be blessed? Oh, how ugly is a barren, water-logged and fruitless field, and how beautiful is a cultivated field covered with rich crops! O man, you are both the one and the other field. Choose--death or life! No householder values a field at all if it does not bear any kind of crop. Is it possible that God is less intelligent than ordinary householders, and gives value to a field that fails to bear fruit of every seed that is sown on it?

What will become of man who, in his prosperity, does not listen to the words of God? And he shall be buried with the burial of an ass (Jeremiah 22:19). Thus spoke the prophet to King Jehoiakim, and his words were fulfilled. When the Chaldeans captured Jerusalem, they killed Jehoiakim. They dragged his body beyond the gates of the city and left it to the dogs. And so the fate of the disobedient king became that of an ass. O man, O earth! Hear the timely word of the Lord, so that the anger of the Householder does not pour out on you as on a barren field, and that your end not be truly like that of an ass.

O long-suffering Lord, save us from stoniness of heart and darkness of mind--from those two bitter diseases--the miserable consequences of those hours of life which men call prosperous. Save and have mercy on us, O Lord of Hosts!

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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