Prologue of Ohrid

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June 16

1. SAINT TIKHON, BISHOP OF AMATHUS

Saint Tikhon was a miracle-worker. Following the death of Blessed Mnemonius, Tikhon was unanimously elected a bishop and consecrated by the renowned Epiphanius for the Diocese of Amathus. His purity of life and zeal for Orthodoxy recommended him for this office. There were still pagans on Cyprus at that time. With apostolic zeal St. Tikhon undertook to convert the unbelievers into believers. In that, he had great success. After lengthy labor in the vineyard of the Lord, Tikhon took up habitation in blessed eternity about the year 425 A.D. He was called a miracle-worker because of the many miracles he worked during his life. Tikhon's father was a baker. When his father left him alone in the store, he would distribute bread free of charge to the poor. Once, his father reproached him for this. Tikhon prayed to God and their granary was so filled with wheat that the door could not be opened without difficulty. Again, at another time, he planted withered branches of a vine and the vine became green and, in due time, brought forth fruit.

2. THE HOLY MARTYRS TIGRIUS AND EUTROPIUS

Tigrius and Eutropius were among the clergy of St. John Chrysostom. When evil men banished Chrysostom from Constantinople, the cathedral church [Hagia Sophia] was set on fire and a flame rose from it and fell upon the houses of the persecutors of this beacon of the Church. The people saw the finger of God in that but the enemies of Chrysostom attributed this fire to his adherents. Many of those who were accused suffered bitterly because of that, among them Tigrius, the presbyter and Eutropius, the reader. Optatius, the mayor of the city, an unbaptized Greek with particular malice, began a pursuit for Chrysostom's followers. Tigrius, in his youth, was a slave of a wealthy man who castrated him. Freeing himself of slavery, he dedicated himself completely to the service of the Church and in this service shone as a shining ray. Optatius subjected this "meek, humble, charitable and hospitable" man to great tortures and then banished him into exile to Mesopotamia where he died in prison. Eutropius, chaste from birth, pure, blameless and kind was beaten by oxen whips and by canes and finally hanged. When Christians took his body to bury it, sweet angelic singing was heard in the air.

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
SAINT TIGRIUS, AND SAINT EUTROPIUS
 
Chrysostom, as an all-glorious eagle soars,
 
Beside him Tigrius and Eutropius the reader
 
As small eaglets, but strong and faithful,
 
Followed him, kind and innocent;
 
And helpless malice, viciousness uses,
 
The weak and the evil, the devil unites quickly.
 
The malicious rose up against the servants of God.
 
And on them, poured out a sea of mockery.
 
As arsonists, the men of God,
 
The wonderful martyrs, under torture were placed;
 
But, every suffering is for heroes
 
And even suffering despises those who are weak in virtue!
 
Tigrius, the Presbyter and Eutropius, the Reader
 
By torture, the truth of God, they confirm.
 
As arsonists, the heroes of God
 
Slain they were, innocent lambs!
 
Eaglets, after the eagle, they flew
 
And in Paradise sweet, to rest they fell.
 
And malice from the mud, yelp after the eagles
 
In mud, was it born, and in the mud it remains.
 
REFLECTION

In enumerating the miracles of the Christian Faith we need never forget the countless and great miracles of the changes of heart and dispositions of people truly converted to the Faith. How many are the enraged criminals that this Faith tamed! How many bloodthirsty robbers has the Faith transformed to innocent lambs! How many debauched ones has the Faith turned into chaste ones! How many persecuters has the Faith turned into defenders of the Faith! How many selfish avaricious men has the Faith taught compassion! How many fearful ones has the Faith directed on the road to extreme self-sacrifice! Metropolitan Philaret writes about Russian Prince Vladimir: "A lover of all pleasures; how this was not possible any longer for the pagan Vladimir in Christianity and he became a model of a chaste married life; he dismissed all women and lovers and lived with one, the devout Anna. An evil, vindictive and bloodthirsty fratricide in paganism, Vladimir, in Christianity, was the most compassionate friend of the poor. The poor always had access to him and he distributed both money and food with a generous hand." More than that: "the sick are unable to come to my palace," said he and ordered that meat, fish, bread, yeast and honey be carted about the streets. The Gospel words: "Blessed are the merciful" (St. Matthew 5:7), penetrated into the depth of his heart and became his rule of life.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the miraculous healing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan: "And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts and cried out unto Him saying: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil" (St. Matthew 15:22):

1. How the woman of Canaan perseveringly and repeatedly implored the Lord to save her daughter from the devil who tormented her;

2. How the Lord praised the faith of the woman and healed her daughter;

3. How the Lord can even free my soul from the devil who attacks my soul when it is in alienation from God only if we persistently pray to Him with faith.

HOMILY

About how death and life depend on the tongue

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).

Did not our Lord Himself confirm this when He said that for every empty word men will give an answer before the Dread Judgment? Didn't He explicitly say: "But I tell you, that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words, you shall be justified and by your words, you shall be condemned" (St. Matthew 12: 36-37). Whoever is justified will receive life. Whoever is condemned will receive death. Therefore, do you see how life and death are in the power of the tongue? The Apostle James says: "For in many things we all offend. If anyone does not offend in word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by a bridle the whole body" (St. James 3:2).

Truly, great is the unexplored mystery of the word and the influence of the word cannot be measured nor estimated. Today the word of men can be carried by artificial instruments from one end of our planet to the other. A word spoken by the tongue in America can be heard by the ear in Europe. Is not this a picture of the All-hearing God? O my brethren, we cannot whisper anything here to the earth that the heavens are not going to hear. Our every word comes before the assembly of the angels of God. Hades receives our every evil word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal death and Paradise receives every good word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal life. Truly, does the Old Testament sage wisely speaks and promptly reminds us with the words that: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."

O Lord our Savior, eternal Word of God, help us to bridle our tongue so that it does not speak to our destruction. Help us to speak with the tongue only that which is according to Your holy will and that which is for our eternal salvation in the life eternal.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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