Prologue of Ohrid

JANUARY
 
 
 
 
FEBRUARY
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARCH
 
 
 
 
APRIL
 
 
 
 
 
MAY
 
 
 
 
JUNE
 
 
 
 
 
JULY
 
 
 
 
AUGUST
 
 
 
 
SEPTEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
OCTOBER
 
 
 
 
NOVEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
DECEMBER
 
 
 
 

May 22

1. THE HOLY MARTYR BASILISCUS

Basiliscus was a kinsman of St. Theodore Tiro. He was tortured together with Eutropius and Cleonicus. When the latter two [Eutropius and Cleonicus] were crucified, and expired (March 3), then Basiliscus was again returned to prison. At that time, there occurred a change in the emperor's deputy so that Basiliscus remained imprisoned for a long time. With tears, Basiliscus prayed that God not deprive him of a martyr's death. After lengthy prayers, the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to him, promised to fulfill his wish and sent him to his village to bid farewell to his mother and brothers. At that time Agrippa, a new deputy, was appointed and ordered that Basiliscus be brought from the village immediately. Enroute from the village to the town of Amasea the Lord, through His martyr, worked a great miracle and, as a result, many people believed in Christ. Agrippa ordered the martyr to offer a sacrifice to the idol Apollyon. Basiliscus said: "Apollyon means `one who kills - the destroyer,' " and with fervent prayer turned the idol into dust and with a heavenly fire burned the temple. The frightened Agrippa attributed this to magic and ordered Basiliscus beheaded. At that moment, Agrippa went insane and, in his madness, went to the scaffold, found a little blood of the martyr in the dust, placed it under his belt and he was healed. Coming to his senses he was baptized. Later on, Marinus, a citizen of Comana, the place of the execution of Basiliscus, built a church over the relics of the saint where many afflicted people found healing.

2. THE HOLY MARTYR JOHN VLADIMIR, KING OF SERBIA

John Vladimir was of princely lineage from Zahumlje. His grandfather was called Hvalimir and his father Petrislav. As a ruler, he was wise, merciful, meek, chaste and brave. He fervently prayed to God and voluntarily built churches and supported them. However, he had difficult struggles both internally and externally. Internally, from heretics and the Bogomils and externally from Tsar Samuel and Tsar Basil who wanted to conquer him. Samuel deceitfully captured him and cast him into prison. While he languished in prison an angel of God appeared to him and foretold that he would shortly be freed, but that he would die a martyr's death. Getting to know him better, Samuel grew to like him and gave his daughter Kosara to be his wife. When Samuel died, his son Radomir was crowned Tsar. But Vladislav, his twin brother, slew Radomir and deceitfully summoned Vladimir and beheaded him in the year 1015 A.D. The relics of this saintly king repose uncorrupt in his monastery near Elbasan and over his relics, throughout the ages and even today, numerous miracles occur. In 1925, a church was built to honor this crowned martyr adjacent to the monastery of St. Nahum since John Vladimir was the benefactor of this glorious monastery.

3. THE SECOND ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

This Council was called during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great in Constantinople in the year 381 A.D. Its goal was to confirm the Orthodox teaching concerning the Holy Spirit about Whom the Patriarch Macedonius of Constantinople erroneously taught. He erroneously taught that the Holy Spirit is God's creature and not a divine person [Hypostasis] equal to the Father and Son and One in essence with Them in the Holy Trinity. Macedonius was condemned by this Council and the teaching about the Holy Spirit was added to the Nicaean Symbol of Faith [the Nicene Creed].

4. THE HOLY RIGHTEOUS MELCHISEDEK, KING OF SALEM

Melchisedek was a contemporary of our forefather Abraham. According to the words of the Apostle Paul he was a king, priest and proto-type of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7).

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
MELCHISEDEK, KING OF SALEM

Melchisedek, king of Salem,

Anyone of his own, did he have?

A king and a priest, he was

Of the Highest King - God

Than Abraham, he was greater,

A mystery he was and remains.

He blessed Abraham,

To him, Abraham gave a tribute.

King and priest in the world,

The proto-type of Christ, he became,

Peace and justice, he proclaimed

A mystery he was and remains.

Of him, his origin and end is unknown,

Nor the length of his earthly life,

But, that he was, it is known

Of a man, a beautiful example.

Of a man, a beautiful example,

King, saint, righteous one,

That, Melchisedek became

A prophet of Christ and proto-type.

A prophet he is, without a word,

But with a most beautiful personality;

A prophet he is, without a word,

A prophet, with righteousness and mercy.

REFLECTION

How was Moses able to fast for forty days? How were the many Christian ascetics able to live a long life in extreme abstinence from food and drink? For the physical man who does not know about the spiritual life, it is impossible to believe. It is impossible even to prove it to him for the understanding of this is achieved only by experience. When the torturers of St. Basiliscus detained him for three days without food and water and when they offered him food to eat, he refused saying that he was not hungry. "I am," says he, "filled with immortal food and do not want to receive mortal food. You are fed by earthly bread, but the heavenly word of God feeds me; wine makes you happy, and the Grace of the Holy Spirit makes me happy; meat satisfies you and fasting satisfies me; physical power strengthens you and the Cross of Christ strengthens me; gold makes you rich and the love of Christ enriches me; clothing adorns you, and good works adorn me; you are made happy with laughter and I am comforted by the Spirit through prayer." Here is a man, one out of many, and there are many more upon whom the word of the Lord is confirmed. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!" (St. Matthew 4:4).

CONTEMPLATION
 
To contemplate the Grace of God the Holy Spirit in the Mystery [Sacrament] of Baptism:

1. How that Grace cleanses man from original sin;

2. How It includes man among the citizens of the freedom of Christ.

HOMILY

About the bodies of men as temples

"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price" (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).

For what, brethren, did our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit? Because, we are purchased at a price. The Lord Jesus purchased us with His cares, labors, sufferings and death. Because of this price we were made worthy to become the temple of the Holy Spirit.

But, someone will say that price was paid a long time ago and we live twenty centuries later! It is all the same: the price was not paid for one time and for one generation but rather for all times and for all generations from Adam to the Dreadful Judgment. And if there would be billions and billions of human beings born on earth, the price is paid for all of them. The price is so great and rich that if all the sand in the sea were changed into men, the price would be sufficient.

Brethren, from what moment do our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit? From the moment of our baptism. Although the price is paid for all men only those who are baptized become the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Brethren, what is the consequence that the Holy Spirit lives in us? The consequence is this, that we are not our own anymore. When the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in our bodies, then He becomes the Master over us and not us over it [the body] nor over ourselves. Then, brethren, we are the possession of God the Holy Spirit.

Brethren, what does it mean at the Mystical Supper [Last Supper] when the Lord washed even the feet of Judas and when Judas received a piece of bread from the Lord, it says: "Satan entered him" (St. John 13:27). O what dreadful words! O what a horrible punishment upon the traitor of God! Brethren, does that not mean that when we reject God, Who washes and feeds us, the Spirit of God departs from us and, in His place, Satan settles in? O what a stern meaning! O what a terrible reminder to all of us who are baptized! The Holy Spirit settled in us during our baptism and made us a temple for Himself. But, the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us by force but rather according to our good will. If we transgress against Him, He departs from us and in place of Him, Satan enters and our physical temple is transformed into a pigsty.

O All-good Holy Spirit do not leave us. Have mercy on us and forgive us.

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