Prologue of Ohrid


June 4


His father, Dometius, brother of the Roman Emperor Probus, fled from Rome as a Christian during the persecution of Christians and arrived at Byzantium. Titus, the Bishop of Byzantium, ordained him a presbyter. Following the death of Titus, Dometius became the Bishop of Byzantium. After the death of Dometius, his eldest son, Probus,(*) occupied the episcopal throne, and after the death of Probus, Metrophanes assumed the episcopal throne. When Emperor Constantine first saw Metrophanes, he loved him as a father. At the time of the First Ecumenical Council [325 A.D.], Metrophanes was already a man of one-hundred seventeen years and unable to participate in the work of the Council, so he appointed Alexander, his Choriepiscopus (vicar), as his representative. The emperor petitioned the Council to confer upon him [Metrophanes] the title of patriarch. Thus, he was the first Patriarch of Constantinople. Further, the emperor invited the entire Council to visit the ailing and aged arch-pastor. When the emperor asked him whom he wished to name as successor to the patriarchal throne, Metrophanes named Alexander of Alexandria. Then he said to Alexander: "O brother, I leave you as my most worthy successor." He then took the hand of Archdeacon Athanasius (later Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria) and praised him before all. After this prophecy, Metrophanes sought forgiveness from all and within ten days gave up his soul to God, in the year 325 A.D.
   (*) Earlier, Dometius was a pagan and had children.


During his life on earth Concordius was an ascetic and a miracle-worker. During the reign of Emperor Antoninus he was arrested because of his faith in Christ. Following imprisonment and torture, he was led to the stone idol of Zeus in order to worship it. Concordius spat on the idol, and because of that he was immediately beheaded.


They were martyred in France during the reign of Emperor Claudius. After they were beheaded, they rose to their feet, took their heads into their hands, crossed over the river Isle, and arrived at the Church of the Holy Birth-giver of God, where Bishop Frontanus was praying. Entering the church, they laid their heads before the feet of the bishop and lay down, crossing their hands over their chests. They were honorably buried there. During their burial an invisible host of angels was heard singing.


Zosimas lived a life of asceticism on Mt. Sinai. He came to Alexandria on business and was consecrated Bishop of New Babylon by the blessed Patriarch Apollinarius. He was a worthy shepherd of the flock of Christ. When he was overcome by old age and fatigue, he again withdrew to Mt. Sinai, where he rendered his soul to God and received the wreath of glory among the great hierarchs. He lived and died in the sixth century.


Astius suffered during the reign of Trajan. At first he was beaten with lead rods and after that stripped naked and crucified on a tree. His naked body was rubbed with honey so that wasps and hornets would sting him. In the greatest torment, St. Astius glorified God and died, receiving two wreaths, both as a martyr and as a hierarch.


Following the Ascension of the Lord, Lazarus set out to preach the Gospel. His two sisters assisted him in this. It is not known where they died.




Hospitality, a virtue which by God is commanded;

Until today, by it, many souls have been drawn to Paradise.

Wondrous Abraham showed hospitality without measure:

Both measureless and cordial, but not hypocritical.

And King David greatly respected hospitality;

That is why, the life of King Saul, he strictly protected.

And when there appeared the One more ancient than the ancient Abraham,

From the Lineage of David, when darkness hid itself,

Then Martha and Mary, showed hospitality:

Hospitable virgins, the sisters of Lazarus.

They hosted the greatest One under the sun.

By hospitality each of them the heavenly Paradise attained;

By hospitality perfect in heart and food;

By hospitality most worthy in word and in deed.

And the Lord Most-rich abundantly repaid them.

When death this hospitable home saddened,

For the sisters, Jesus raised up their dead brother,

And their eternal glory has gone forth throughout the world.

This is the reward for hospitality, from God Himself;

The Lord loves the hospitality of a sincere heart.

The Holy Church boasts of Martha and Mary,

Teaching that we also are guests at the table of the Lord.

It is a horrible thing to kill a man. There are no words to describe the horror which lays hold of the murderer. While a man is preparing to kill another man, he thinks that killing a man is the same as killing an ox. When he carries out his preconceived crime, then, all at once, he realizes that he has declared war on heaven and earth, and that he has become exiled and cut off from both heaven and earth. The victim does not give him peace either day or night. A known criminal came to Zosimus on Sinai and begged him to tonsure him a monk. Zosimus clothed him in the monastic habit and sent him to the Monastery of the Venerable Dorotheus near Gaza, to lead a life of asceticism in the Cenobium. After nine years the tonsured criminal returned to St. Zosimus, returned his monastic habit, and sought his secular clothes. To the question as to why he was doing this, the criminal replied that for nine years he had fervently prayed to God, fasted, kept vigil, and fulfilled all acts of obedience, and that he feelt many of his sins had been forgiven, but that one of his sins tormented him continually. He had once killed an innocent child, and that child was appearing to him day and night and asking him: "Why did you kill me?" Because of this he had decided to leave and to turn himself in to the authorities, that they might execute him and thus repay blood for blood. Dressing in his former clothes, he went to the town of Diospolis, where he acknowledged his crime and was beheaded. Thus, by his blood, he washed away his bloody sin.


To contemplate the miraculous healing of the possessed men of Gergesene [Gadara]: Now when He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two men who were possessed, coming from the tombs, so exceedingly fierce that no one could pass by that way (St. Matthew 8:28):

1. How the Lord cast out the demons from the ones possessed, and the possessed ones became calm and meek;

2. How the Lord stands beside me and waits to be called to help me and to cleanse me from every evil spirit which lays hold of me and separates me from God.


About trusting in the Lord and not in your own understanding

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; on your own understanding rely not" [Proverbs 3:5).

If all the mountains moved toward you, would you be able to push them back with your hands? You could not. If the great darkness of all the mysteries in the heavens and on the earth rushed upon the small candle of your understanding, would you, with your understanding, be able to illuminate the darkness? Even less! Do not rely on your understanding, for the great portion of the perishable matter which you call intellect is nothing more than dead ashes. O man, do not rely on your understanding, for it is a road over which a mob rushes--a hungry, thirsty, motley and curious mob of sensual impressions.

O man, trust in the Lord with all your heart. In Him is understanding without end and all-seeing. The Lord says: I am understanding; mine is strength (Proverbs 8:14). He looks upon the paths on which your blood flows and on all the crossroads on which your thoughts wander. With compassion and love He offers Himself to you as a Leader, and you rely on your darkened and perishable understanding. Where was your understanding before your birth? Where was your understanding when your body was taking form, when your heart began to beat and flow with blood, when your eyes began to open, and when your voice began to flow from your throat? Whose understanding was all this while your mind was still sleeping as coal in a coal mine? Even from the time your understanding awoke, can you enumerate all the illusions that it has delivered to you, all the lies in which it has entangled you, all the dangers that it did not foresee? O my brother, trust only in the Lord with all your heart! He has rescued you numerous times from your own understanding, from its illusions and lies, and from the danger into which it has pushed you. Like a blind man compared to a man who can see, so is your understanding compared to the understanding of God. O blind one, trust in the Leader. O brother, trust only in the Lord with all your heart.

O Lord, All-seeing, eternal and infallible understanding, deeper than the universe and more radiant than the sun, deliver us, even now, from the errors of our understanding.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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