Prologue of Ohrid


June 3


Lucillian grew old as a pagan priest but, as a gray-haired old man, he recognized the truth of Christianity and was baptized. His conversion to Christianity provoked great anxiety among the pagans in Nicomedia, and he was brought to trial. Because he would not deny his new Faith, Lucillian was violently beaten and, completely bruised, was thrown into prison. In prison he met four young men: Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius, who were also imprisoned because of their faith in Christ. The old man greatly rejoiced in the young men and they in him, and together they spent all their time in pious conversation, prayer and the chanting of psalms. When they were led out of prison, they were tortured by various means and finally sent to Byzantium, where the soldiers beheaded Claudius, Hypatius, Paul, Dionysius, and where Lucillian was crucified by the Jews. The nefarious Jews pierced Lucillian's whole body with nails. A virgin named Paula openly took the martyrs' bodies and honorably buried them. For this she was accused and, after having been tortured, was beheaded, receiving two wreaths from the Lord: the wreath of virginity and the wreath of martyrdom. Their martyrdom occurred during the reign of Emperor Aurelian between the years 270-275 A.D.


Lucian was a Roman renowned for his noble birth, wealth and learning. For a period of time he was a disciple of the Apostle Peter. Later, Pope Clement sent him to Gaul to preach the Gospel, together with Dionysius the Areopagite, consecrating him bishop beforehand. With great zeal Lucian sowed the teachings of Christ, at first in Gaul and then in Belgium. When the evil Emperor Dometian began his persecution of Christians, special messengers were sent by him from Rome to Gaul to seek out and capture the Christian missionaries. They first captured St. Dionysius and after that they went in pursuit of Lucian. Finding Lucian in Belgium with his assistants, the presbyter Maxianus and the deacon Julian, the soldier killed the latter two in one place and in another place beheaded Lucian. After Lucian had been beheaded, his lifeless body rose up from the ground, took its head in its hands (like St. Dionysius and St. John Vladimir) and then walked to the place where he desired to be buried. There he fell and there he was buried. A church was later built over his relics.


The ambitious Boris Godunov treacherously murdered Dimitri at the age of eight in the town of Uglich in the year 1591 A.D. After his death Dimitri appeared to a monk and prophesied that a false Dimitri would appear and would cause the death of the murderer, Boris Godunov--which afterward came to pass. A countless number of miracles occurred at the grave of the slain crown prince. After fifteen years his relics were discovered to be whole and incorrupt. They were solemnly translated to Moscow and interred in the church of the Holy Archangel Michael.



Dimitri, a small child, a great saint became,

And Godunov, a great murderer, forever remains cursed.

Craving power, an ambitious one can never be satisfied;

In both worlds, lust for power is fire--fire unquenchable.

From Boris's goblet men are poisoned,

But from his own goblet, Boris drank and himself judged.

Down a river of blood, to the throne Boris sailed,

But into a sea of maggots that river flows.

As from an earthquake, the crown on the criminal trembled,

Of everything afraid, he looked toward the heavens.

Whoever sheds innocent blood, let him prepare to shed hiw own:

To this there has never been an exception, nor will there be.

Lust for power--a winged horse, with wings of wax.

When to the heights of power it soars, the wings melt!

Then from the heights to the bottom it falls, lower than a beggar.

And Satan to his own says: "Behold, the hundredth fool!"

Dimitri, the young crown prince, innocently suffered;

Crown prince was he then, and crown prince is he now.


Oh, if only we could enter into the mystery of God's Providence in the lives of men! We would be filled with fear and trembling before every evil deed and before every sin of men. I understood Your works, O Lord, and I was afraid (Habakkuk 3:2) In certain great events, the mystery of God's Providence is obvious even to less spiritual men, for example, in the fate of the Crown Prince Dimitri and the bloodthirsty and power-loving Boris Godunov. In order to arrive at the first place among the noblemen in the court of Tsar Theodore, Godunov poisoned many of the nobles. When he reached the position of being closest to the Tsar, he even planned to poison the brother of the Tsar, the eight-year old Dimitri. On several occasions, through hired mercenaries, he administered the most bitter poison to the young crown prince, but the poison had no affect. Providence permitted the criminal murder his victim, not secretly and quietly, but publicly. Godunov dispatched murderers who slew the crown prince publicly in the middle of the day. Thus did Dimitri become a public martyr and Godunov a public criminal for all of Russia. After that, a certain Dimitri surfaced and proclaimed that he was the crown prince (as though he were the rightful Crown Prince Dimitri and someone else had been murdered) and set out with an army against Godunov. He defeated Godunov and drove him to such dispair that Boris prepared poison and took the poison himself. He, who poisoned others poisoned himself! He who murdered the innocent Dimitri was himself defeated by a man with the name of Dimitri! He who has spiritual eyes to see, let him see the mystery of God's Providence.


To contemplate the miraculous calming of the tempest on the lake: And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with waves: but He was asleep (St. Matthew 8:24):

1. How the disciples cried out: Lord, save us: we perish! (St. Matthew 8:25) and how the Lord, with one word, calmed the tempest and there was a great calm;

2. How the Lord is waiting for me to cry out to Him in fear to calm the tempest of passions, of men, and of demons on the sea of my life.


About the peace of the simple and the prosperity of the fools

"For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (Proverbs 1:32).

Does peace kill? Yes, godless peace kills. Does prosperity destroy? Yes, prosperity without God and contrary to the laws of God can destroy. They are simpletons who seek such peace, and they who run after such prosperity are fools. For, in essence, they do not seek peace but rather the sword, and they are not running after prosperity but rather after destruction. What is the peace of the simple, and what is the prosperity of fools? The peace of the simple is physical peace, and the prosperity of fools is physical feasting. King Herod wanted such peace, and he was consumed by worms; Jezebel wanted such prosperity, and dogs consumed her.

By what name would we call a man who, in deciding to build a house, thinks that he will set the roof in the air first and afterward erect walls and then lay the foundation of the house? We would call him a simpleton and a fool. Much the same are all those who are attempting to establish peace in the world without inward peace, and to establish outward prosperity for men without inward prosperity. The Christian Faith is the only one that builds from the foundation, and the foundation is Christ, a firm and indestructible rock. Thus the Christian Faith builds the peace and prosperity of men on Christ. A blessed and joyful inward peace is built on Christ the Lord, and on this peace outward peace is built. So also is true and lasting prosperity. It is still better to say that true peace and true prosperity are like a well-built house, and outward peace and prosperity are like the external adornments of the house. If the adornments fall, the house will stand; but if the house is destroyed, will the adornments then hang in the air?

O my brethren, the Christian teaching is the only sensible teaching about peace and prosperity. All else is madness and foolishness. For how could the servants build a mansion on the estate of the Master without permission of the Master and without His help?

O Lord, the source of eternal true peace and true prosperity, save us from the peace of the simple and the prosperity of fools.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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