Prologue of Ohrid

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APRIL
 
 
 
 
 
MAY
 
 
 
 
JUNE
 
 
 
 
 
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DECEMBER
 
 
 
 

June 28

1. THE HOLY MARTYRS CYRUS AND JOHN

These holy martyrs are celebrated on January 31. On that date, their lives and sufferings are chronicled. June 28 commemorates the translation of their relics from Canopus to Menuthis and the numerous miracles which occurred over their relics. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, prayed fervently to God to destroy the idolatrous impurity in the town of Menuthis where a pagan temple was located and where the power of the demons ruled. An angel of God appeared to the patriarch and told him that Menuthis would be cleansed of its impurity if he translated the relics of Saints Cyrus and John to that town. The patriarch did this immediately. He translated the relics of the martyrs to Menuthis and built a church there in honor of Saints Cyrus and John. Ammonius, the son of Julian the mayor of Alexandria, was healed of scorfula; a Theodore healed of blindness; Isidore of Menuthis was cured of a decaying disease of the liver; the wife of Theodore from poisoning, a Eugenia of dropsy as well as many other people were healed of various diseases and torments by the relics of these saints. This all occurred in the year 412 A.D.

2. VENERABLE SENNUPHIUS, "THE STANDARD-BEARER"

Sennuphius was a great ascetic and miracle-worker of the Egyptian desert. He was a contemporary of Patriarch Theophilus and Emperor Theodosius the Great. He is called the "Standard-bearer" because by his prayers he once helped Emperor Theodosius to gain a victory over the army of his adversaries. When the emperor summoned Sennuphius to Constantinople, Sennuphius replied that he was unable to do so but sent him his tattered monastic habit and staff. Setting out to battle the emperor donned Sennuphius' monastic habit and carried the staff and returned victorious from battle.

3. VENERABLE PAUL, THE PHYSICIAN

Paul was a Corinthian by birth. Completing his schooling, Paul withdrew to a monastery and was tonsured a monk. He had a difficult struggle with the impure spirit of fornication. However, when with the power of the cross he drove the impure spirit of fornication away from himself, that spirit created a malicious falsehood, i.e., [the spirit] gave approval to a depraved woman to say that she had given birth to a child by Paul. The heretics then dragged him from the monastery, placed the child in his arms and forced him to walk throughout the town for the people to spit on him. The baby was only a few days old. St. Paul prayed fervently to God and said to the people: "Behold, let the child himself say who is his father." The child stretched out its hand from the swaddling clothes and pointed to a blacksmith and said: "That man is my father and not Paul the monk!" The adversaries of Paul became ashamed and God granted great healing powers to Paul so that when he placed his hand on the sick, they became whole. Paul reposed peacefully in old age pleasing God by his life on earth. He lived in the seventh century.

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
SAINT SENNUPHIUS
 
Sennuphius the Elder, in the wilderness fasts,
 
His body passionless, as dry bones,
 
But from a dry stone, as water one time,
 
From him flows, the Grace of the Holy Spirit;
 
In a deadened body, is hidden a spirit powerful
 
That, the glorious Emperor Theodosius heard,
 
And, when to set out for war, the emperor wanted,
 
Invited the Elder Sennuphius to come,
 
His blessing to give, that the emperor the devil to crush,
 
Numerous gifts to him, the emperor promised.
 
The Elder Sennuphius, into tears broke out,
 
To Emperor Theodosius, a reply he sends,
 
The roads are too distant, that he cannot come,
 
And with worries, cannot confuse his prayer,
 
For every gift, gives thanks to the emperor
 
And to him [Theodosius], his old monastic habit he sends,
 
Along with the cassock, an old staff he sends,
 
This, to the emperor, the gifts from the monk were!
 
The staff, let the emperor to take, and the habit to don,
 
And, in battle, every adversary he will defeat.
 
As a monk attired, the emperor for battle set out
 
Glorious victor from battle he returned.
 
The emperor, a pillar of victory in the city erected,
 
His likeness as a monk on top of the pillar, he placed,
 
That the faith of Emperor Theodosius, the world remembers
 
And of Saint Sennuphius, the miraculous power.
 
REFLECTION

Protestants have rejected the miracles of God through material things. By doing this they thought to despiritualize the Christian Faith; however, in doing this, they have impoverished and deformed Christianity. They have rejected the action of God's power through icons, through the relics of the saints, through the Cross and, finally, some of them even through the power of Holy Communion. If they were to follow this erroneous path, they would have to reject even the miracles which have occurred from the living body of the Lord Jesus, for His body was material; the same with the miracles by the touch of the apostles' hands and the hands of the saints, for these hands are also material and not even to mention the rod of Moses, or the vesture of the All-holy Birth-giver of God, or the handkerchief of the Apostle Paul and so forth. In their rejection, Protestants stand in contradiction to the entire ancient Church. Here is one out of thousands and thousands of proofs that God acts through things, especially when He wants to glorify His saints: there was a tall pillar erected in Alexandria bearing the statue of Emperor Theodosius dressed in monastic habit and with a monastic staff in his hand. This pillar served as a memorial of the emperor's victory which he, clad in the monastic habit of St. Sennuphius and with Sennuphius' staff in his hands, carried against his adversaries. When God wills, then even one garment of a saint conquers the powerful armies of unbelievers. Who would dare to limit the actions or the methods of action of the power of the Almighty God?

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the miraculous healing of the ten lepers: "And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers which stood afar off" (St. Luke 17:12):

1. How the Lord by the power of His word healed the ten lepers who prayed to Him;

2. How, even I, spiritually and morally leprous, the Lord can heal if I cry out to Him.

HOMILY

About holiness

"But as the One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15).

Brethren, holiness is a virtue which encompasses all other virtues. Hence brethren, a saint is a man adorned with all virtues. But if a man is prayerful and is not compassionate, he cannot be called holy. Or, if a man endures but without faith and hope he cannot be numbered among the saints. Or, if a man is very compassionate but without faith in God in truth, such a man cannot be numbered among the saints. A saint is a perfect man such as Adam was in Paradise; or even better, such as the New Adam was, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Saint above the saints. This is the Sower of holiness on earth and the Nurturer of the saints in history. He called us to the dignity of the saints. He showed us the example of a true saint. He is the prototype of the saints as He is the arch-type of man. A true man, my brethren, does not mean anything else but a saint. A saint and a man, that is one and the same. He showed us what it means to be a man and what it means to be a saint. The Apostle Peter commands us: "Be you also holy in all your [living] behavior!" A saint is not a saint in one aspect of his life but rather in every aspect of his entire life. We must be holy in every work and aspect of our life in order to be numbered among the saints, i.e., among men according to the prototype of the saints and the arch-type of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

O All-holy Lord, To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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