Prologue of Ohrid

JANUARY
 
 
 
 
FEBRUARY
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARCH
 
 
 
 
APRIL
 
 
 
 
 
MAY
 
 
 
 
JUNE
 
 
 
 
 
JULY
 
 
 
 
AUGUST
 
 
 
 
SEPTEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
OCTOBER
 
 
 
 
NOVEMBER
 
 
 
 
 
DECEMBER
 
 
 
 

June 30

1. THE ASSEMBLY OF THE HOLY GLORIOUS AND PRAISE WORTHY APOSTLES

Even though each one of the Twelve Great Apostles has their own special day of celebration throughout the year, nevertheless the Church has set aside this day as a festal assembly of all the apostles together and with them, Paul. These are the names and the separate days of the celebrations of the Holy Twelve:

SAINT PETER June 29 and January 16

SAINT ANDREW November 30

SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE April 30

SAINT JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN September 26 and May 8

SAINT PHILIP November 14

SAINT BARTHOLOMEW June 11 and August 25

SAINT THOMAS October 6

SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST November 16

SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ALPHAEUS October 9

SAINT THADDEUS OR JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JAMES June 19

SAINT SIMON THE ZEALOT May 10

SAINT MATTHIAS August 9

SAINT PAUL June 29

Let us also mention how each one of these most holy and most beneficial men in the history of the world ended their earthly life:

Saint Peter: St. Peter was crucified upside down.

Saint Andrew: St. Andrew was crucified.

Saint James, the son of Zebedee: St. James was beheaded.

Saint John the Theologian: St. John died in a miraculous manner.

Saint Philip: St. Philip was crucified.

Saint Bartholomew: St. Bartholomew was crucified, scrapped and beheaded.

Saint Thomas: St. Thomas was pierced with five spears.

Saint Matthew the Evangelist: St. Matthew was burned alive.

Saint James, the son of Alphaeus: St. James was crucified.

Saint Thaddeus or Jude, the Brother of James: St. Thaddeus was crucified.

Saint Simon the Zealot: St. Simon was crucified.

Saint Matthias: St. Matthias was stoned and then was beheaded after death.

Saint Paul: St. Paul was beheaded.

2. BLESSED PETER, THE CROWN-PRINCE

Peter, by descent, was a Tartar and the nephew of the Tartar King Berkai. He heard the words of salvation from Bishop Cyril of Rostov and those words adhered to his heart. And yet when he witnessed the miraculous healing of Berkai's son, by the help of Bishop Cyril's prayer, he secretly left the Golden Horde and fled to Rostov where he was baptized and where, with all his soul and mind, dedicated himself to asceticism and the study of the honorable Faith. Once at night, Saints Peter and Paul appeared to him in a dream on the shores of the lake and commanded him to build a church in their name on that same place and along with that, Blessed Peter received from the saints the necessary amount of money for that purpose. Indeed, Blessed Peter built a most beautiful church there in which he in old age, following the death of his wife, was tonsured a monk. Blessed Peter died peacefully in ripe old age on June 29, 1290 A.D. and his church became and remains a monastery called the Petrovski Monastery.

3. VENERABLE GEORGE, THE IBERIAN [GEORGIAN]

George was born in Iberia [Georgia] in 1014 A.D. and was a relative of the Georgian kings. George received a good classical education in his childhood but his heart drew him to the spiritual life. He lived a life of asceticism with the famous spiritual father George in the Black Mountain. He fled to Holy Mount Athos and continued his asceticism in the monastery Iveron. George became the abbot of Iveron. With the help of Emperor Constantine Monomachus he restored Iveron and covered the monastery church with lead. That lead roof remains even today. He translated the Holy Scriptures, the Prologue and books of the Divine Services into the Georgian language. King Bagrat invited him to Georgia to teach the people. George was royally welcomed in his homeland. He traveled everywhere and taught both the clergy and people. In his old age, he desired to die on Mt. Athos where he set out for but death overtook him in Constantinople in the year 1067 A.D. His relics were translated to Iveron. Even though he died on May 24, the monks of Iveron commemorate his memory on June 30 considering him to be as "equal to the apostles."

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
THE HOLY APOSTLES
 
As a dry desert, the whole world was;
 
Across it [the world] the chariot of the Spirit flew
 
A fiery vision, the Holy Apostles;
 
The All-holy Spirit, through them, the universe rebuilt.
 
The rivers of wondrous grace flowed,
 
The dead desert, to life converted.
 
Wonderful Apostles, watery clouds,
 
Simple ones, wise ones, fishermen, heroes!
 
From the Ganges to the Thames, they carried the torch,
 
From the Nile to Pontus, holiness they proclaimed,
 
From variegated Persia to bronze Gaul,
 
Where the feet walk or the galleys sail
 
Everywhere, the miracle of the Incarnate God, brought,
 
Everywhere, the Name of the Resurrected Christ proclaimed,
 
Without complaint and fear, without any confusion:
 
Mountains and seas, to them were not obstacles,
 
The sword did not frighten them, nor persecution prevent them,
 
Neither all the fires of Hades which, against them, erupted.
 
Truth guided them and not a false fable:
 
Our life is Christ, and death a beautiful gain!
 
Thus, they spoke. To such as these, what could be done?
 
Crucify their bodies? Scrape their skins?
 
That, the world did, but what kind of harm did it do them?
 
To reign eternally! Thus, God judged.
 
REFLECTION

Concern for the good of all people! That concern filled the exalted spirits and noble hearts of the holy apostles. Writing about the Apostle Paul, St. John Chrysostom calls him: "The universal father of the world." "As though he", says Chrysostom, "gave birth to the entire world that he anxiously labored and tried to bring all into the Kingdom." Indeed, most exalted is this title: "Universal father of the world," and if this title could be attributed to anyone, other than God, it could only be attributed to the apostles of Christ. By their parental concern for the entire world, they in truth, were "the universal fathers of the world." There are many mothers in the world who care less about their own children than the apostles were concerned about the good of their persecutors and adversaries. The Apostle Peter twice saved his most bitter adversary, Simon the Magician, from death: once when the people wanted to burn him and another time when a dog wanted to tear him to pieces. Just think, how the world repaid these their benefactors! As if they were the greatest robbers and criminals. O how true are the words of St. Cyril who says: "As long as we are in the body, the same occurs to us Christians as to pagans, the difference is only in the spirit."

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the miraculous repentance of the thief on the Cross: "But the other one rebuked him: 'Have you no fear of God seeing you are under the same sentence?' " (St. Luke 23:40):

1. How the sensible thief in his suffering senses God's closeness, repents and prays to God for salvation while the suffering of the insensible thief incites him to blaspheme God;

2. How because of sin I am a thief and because of sin I should be as that sensible thief whose suffering does not estrange him from God but rather draws him closer to God; God and salvation.

HOMILY

About the power and the efficacy of good works

"For such is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:15).

Brethren, it is difficult to argue with an atheist; it is difficult to talk with an unreasonable man; it is difficult to convince an embittered man. It is difficult to convince the atheist, the unreasonable man and the embittered man with words. You will convince them easier by deeds. "They may through observing you by reason of your good works glorify God" (1 Peter 2:12). Do good deeds to those who wish to argue with you and you will win the argument. One deed of compassion will bring the unreasonable man to his senses and will pacify the embittered man quicker than many hours of conversation. If atheism, unreasonableness and bitterness stem from ignorance, that ignorance is as a fury, which can quickly be restrained by good works. If you argue with an atheist in his own rabid manner, you strengthen the fury of atheism. If you converse with the unreasonable by derision, the darkness of unreasonableness is increased. If you think you will overcome the embittered man with anger, you will stir up a greater fire of bitterness. A meek and good deed is like water over a fire. Always remember the holy apostles and their successful methods of behavior with men. If an atheist provokes you, the man does not provoke you but the devil provokes you: man by nature is religious. If the unreasonable man scolds you, the man does not scold you but the devil scolds you: man by nature is reasonable. If the embittered one persecutes you, then it is not the man who persecutes you but the devil who persecutes you: for man by nature is good. The devil provokes you to lengthy arguments and unfruitful conversations and flees from good deeds. Do good work in the Name of Christ and the devil will flee and only then will you have dealings with men, with true men; religious, reasonable and good men. Therefore whatever you do, do in the Name of the Lord.

O All-good Lord, help us to do good and by good to conquer in Your Name.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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