Prologue of Ohrid

JANUARY
 
 
 
 
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MARCH
 
 
 
 
APRIL
 
 
 
 
 
MAY
 
 
 
 
JUNE
 
 
 
 
 
JULY
 
 
 
 
AUGUST
 
 
 
 
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OCTOBER
 
 
 
 
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DECEMBER
 
 
 
 

May 26

1. THE HOLY APOSTLE CARPUS

Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was a follower and companion of the Apostle Paul by whom he was appointed as bishop of Varna in Thrace. He also preached the Gospel on Crete where he received St. Dionysius the Areopagite in his home. St. Dionysius testifies that Carpus was a man with an exceptionally pure mind, meekness and innocence and that the Lord Jesus, with His angels, appeared to him in a vision and that he never began the Divine Liturgy that he did not have a heavenly vision beforehand. Enduring many assaults for the Name of Christ, he finally suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews and was killed and, with his soul, took up habitation in the kingdom of God to delight eternally gazing upon the Lord in glory.

2. THE HOLY APOSTLE ALPHAEUS

Alphaeus was the father of two apostles from among the Twelve: James, the son of Alphaeus and Matthew, the Evangelist. He ended his earthly life peacefully.

3. THE VENERABLE JOHN OF PSYCHAITA

At an early age, he withdrew from the world to the Lavra [monastery] of Psychaita in Constantinople. Here he lived a life of asceticism for many years for the sake of the love of Christ. Because of the veneration of icons, he endured banishment in the eighth century.

4. THE NEO-MARTYR ALEXANDER OF THESSALONICA

This martyr of Christ was born in Thessalonica at the time of the great tyranny of the Turks over this city. As a young man, he was deceived by the Turks and became a Muslim. In the beginning, he did not have any pangs of conscience for such an act and he departed on a pilgrimage with other Muslims and became a dervish. But, as a dervish in Thessalonica, he began to repent bitterly. During his repentance, the thought came to him that he, in no way, can wash away the horrible sin of apostasy from Christ except through his own blood. Therefore, when he repented and decided in favor of martyrdom, he declared himself a Christian before the Turks. The Turks cast him into prison and subjected him to various tortures. But, Alexander only cried out: "I was born a Christian and as a Christian I want to die." Finally, the Turks condemned him to death for which the repentant Alexander greatly rejoiced, recognizing from this condemnation that his sins were forgiven and that God accepted his sacrifice. Alexander was beheaded in Smyrna in the year 1794 A.D., and was glorified in both the heavenly and the earthly Church.

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
THE HOLY APOSTLES

The Holy Apostles, a company small,

With heavenly light, illumined the world.

On the wings of the Spirit, covered the world,

That with the same wings, they would gift to the world.

To palaces, shacks and mountains, they went,

Crossed the sea and on the road [they] perspired;

For them each day, a new battle and suffering was,

Wrestling with the world, battle without moaning.

Each day different, but the thought the same,

Thought on Christ and the vision of Christ.

What sort of day it will be, to them it was all the same,

Either in a palace or in prison to spend the night

Just to uphold Christ, in themselves,

And with Him to quickly cover the earth.

Whatever kind of lunch or dinner, it was all the same,

Only that the Faith, throughout the world shines.

Honors or blows, to them it is all the same,

Only that Christ, over the world reigns.

Over them, winged angels hover

And, as to their own brothers, they rejoiced in them.

Apostles holy, sons of God

Pillars of the Church on the foundation of Christ,

Even now, they labor and build up the Church

Although as suns, in heaven they shine.

REFLECTION

We should not desire the death of a sinner, but his repentance. Nothing grieves the Lord more, Who suffered on the Cross for sinners, then when we pray to Him for the death of a sinner and thereby to remove him from our path. It happened that the Apostle Carpus lost his patience and began to pray that God send down death upon two sinful men; one a pagan and the other an apostate from the Faith. Then the Lord Christ Himself appeared to Carpus and said: "Strike me; I am prepared to be crucified again for the salvation of mankind." St. Carpus related this event to St. Dionysius the Areopagite and he wrote it down and gave it to the Church as a lesson to all, that prayers are needed for sinners to be saved and not for them to be destroyed, "for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

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

1. How that Grace enlivens the bread and wine;

2. How It changes them into the Body and Blood of Christ.

HOMILY
 
About the Grace of God

"My Grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Lord did not even spare His apostles from temptations. That is why He gave them Grace! When Satan himself began to malign the Apostle Paul, Paul prayed to God that Satan depart from him. To that, the Lord replied: "My Grace is sufficient for you!" That is, if you need to withstand Satan, for your endurance "My Grace is sufficient for you!" If you need to struggle with Satan, again "My Grace is sufficient for you!" If you wish to defeat Satan, again "My Grace is sufficient for you!" Grace is an all-inclusive weapon. Grace is stronger than all opposition, than all assaults, than all the powers of darkness. Grace is invincible and victorious.

Brethren, that is why we should pray to the Lord to give us His All-powerful Grace. Grace is God within us. Grace is the kingdom of God within us. When the Grace of God is within us, then day is within our souls. And day signifies light, knowledge and fearlessness.

Brethren, we cannot here on earth implore a greater good from God than the Grace of God. If we were to receive the entire universe as a gift, that gift would be less than the Grace of God.

O most abundant Lord, the inexhaustible source of the omnipotent Grace, sprinkle our hardened hearts with Your Grace that we might weep before Your most great goodness and our horrendous ingratitude.
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