Prologue of Ohrid

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

July 19

1. THE VENERABLE FEMALE MACRINA

Macrina was the eldest sister of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa. As a young virgin, Macrina was betrothed to a nobleman. When her betrothed died, Macrina vowed never to enter into marriage saying: "It is not right for a maiden once betrothed to a young man to seek another: according to the law of nature there must be only one marriage as there is but one birth and one death." She further justified this by her faith in the resurrection considering her bridegroom, not dead but alive in God. "It is a sin and a shame," says Macrina, "for a wife not to safeguard her faithfulness when her husband travels to a distant land." After this, together with her mother, Emilia, she received the monastic tonsure in a convent, where they lived a life of asceticism with other nuns. They lived from the labors of their hands devoting a greater part of their time to godly thoughts, prayer and the constant uplifting of their minds to God. In time her mother died and, afterward her brother Basil. Nine months after the death of St. Basil, Gregory came to visit with his sister and found her on her death bed. Before her death, Macrina lifted up her prayers to God: "You, O Lord, Who gives rest to our bodies in the sleep of death for a time, will again awaken them [the bodies] at the last trump. Forgive me and when my soul divests itself of its bodily attire and presents itself before You, pure and without sin, grant that it may be as incense before You." After that she traced the sign of the cross on the forehead, eyes, face and on her heart and gave up her soul. She found rest in the Lord in the year 379 A.D.

2. THE VENERABLE DIUS

Dius was born of Christian parents in Antioch, Syria. From his youth, he was taught by godly-inspired men in the monastic life and in asceticism. Since he persevered in a lengthy and laborious battle with the devil and passions of the flesh, God endowed Dius with the great gift of working miracles. In his prayers he, most often, turned to the Holy Trinity. He performed great and awesome miracles through the power of his prayers: he caused a withered staff to blossom, a dry well to be replenished with water and an unbelieving man he struck dead and then resurrected him again. After two brief heavenly visions, Dius departed from Antioch and settled in Constantinople where, in the proximity of the city, he continued his life of asceticism. His fame spread rapidly and even Emperor Theodosius the Younger visited him to receive counsel from him and Patriarch Atticus persuaded and ordained him a presbyter. Having lived for many years, Dius began to prepare for death, received Holy Communion, instructed the brethren, lay down on his bed and died before the eyes of all. The news of his death drew many people; even Patriarch Atticus came with Alexander, the Patriarch of Antioch. When they were about to bury him, he suddenly arose as though awakening from sleep and said: "God has given me fifteen more years of this life." St. Dius lived for exactly fifteen years and led many to the path of salvation, healed many, helped many in various misfortunes and needs and finally gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he faithfully served all his life. He died in the year 430 A.D. in extreme old age.

3. THE COMMEMORATION OF STEPHEN THE TALL

Stephen was the son of the Serbian Prince Lazarus and Princess Militza. He was a protector of Christianity in the Balkans during most difficult times. He was the founder of the beautiful monumental monasteries of Manasija and Kalenich. After many labors and troubles he died on July 19, 1427 A.D.

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
THE HOLY AND VENERABLE DIUS
 
From early youth to extreme old age
 
The miracles of God's mercy, Dius counted,
 
God's mercy and God's justice.
 
Night and day, Dius directed his thoughts
 
In the divine light, in the divine paths,
 
Repelling passions and demons bitter.
 
What is a human being? As a murky water
 
That the image of the heavenly firmament does not accept.
 
Can the murky water transparent become,
 
That in it heaven can be mirrored?
 
It can, Dius claims, with the walk of the saints,
 
But, with the help of the Cross of Christ the Savior.
 
The Cross, in the heart place, in the midst of your being,
 
Affix to it your thought and God you will see
 
And the water murky cleared up will be,
 
And until now, miracles unseen you will see.
 
REFLECTION

One of the most beautiful adornments of a woman is her modesty, and immodesty in a woman is the most unnatural and most repulsive spectacle in the world. A wonderful example of feminine modesty was shown by St. Macrina in her life. In her youth, a bitter wound opened up on her breast; even though her mother counseled her to show the wound to a doctor and seek a remedy, Macrina did not agree to it. She had completely dedicated herself to God and would not allow even the thought of exposing her body before men and not even before her own mother. One evening Macrina earnestly prayed to God; from her eyes tears flowed, which fell to the dust before her. With unwavering confidence in her Lord, with her fingers she mixed the dust with her tears and with that anointed her wound. The next day she awakened healthy. When her mother, with great sorrow entered to see her daughter, Macrina did not want to reveal that the Lord healed her (out of humility, concealing the miracle which she herself performed through her prayer) but begged her mother saying: "I will be healed, my mother, if you place your right hand on my bosom and make the sign of the cross over the spot of the wound." The mother reached out her hand and made the sign of the cross over that spot but did not feel the wound anymore but only the scar of the healed wound. Thus did St. Macrina conceal her body out of modesty and her miracle-working out of humility.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the miraculous prophesying of Balaam (Numbers 23, 24):

1. How Balaam came to curse the people of Israel at the invitation of Prince Balak;

2. How instead of cursing, Balaam blesses the people, being directed to do so by the Spirit of God;

3. How Balaam prophesied about Christ saying: "A star shall rise out of Jacob and a rod will rise up out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17).

HOMILY

About apostolic love and discernment

"Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance" (2 Peter 1:15).

Brethren, let your hearts be opened, to receive and to understand this great mystery. Primarily, the apostle says that he will not be slothful in reminding the faithful of the salvific truths of the Faith; of the divine power which was given to mankind through Christ the Lord and for the preparing of men to receive this divine power "escaping from the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1 Peter 1:4).

Now he goes even further and promises that he will continue this remembrance even after separation, i.e., after my exodus (the word which is used in the Greek text) from this life, when he will "put off this tabernacle, his body" (1 Peter 1:14). O faith divine, O comfort, O sweetness! Even from the other world, the apostle promises to continue his concern for the Church of God on earth, to continue his work once begun to remind the faithful and to continue his love toward those on earth who believe in Christ. O apostolic love, so near to the love of Christ! O apostolic discernment, whose love the Spirit of God does not diminish as long as man is still wrapped in the dark curtain of the flesh!

The Apostle Peter gave this promise to the faithful nearly two thousand years ago. Did he fulfill it? He fulfilled it to the letter, not only as some would like to interpret it, reminding the faithful, not only through his written epistles and through his successors the bishops, but primarily by his constant action within the Church from the other world. The Apostle Peter appeared many times as did the other apostles whenever, according to the Providence of God, there was a need to appear and he reminded the shepherds and the faithful of the Church how they must adhere firmly to the truth and how they should correct the paths of their lives. Even when Peter did not appear to be seen in a dream or openly, he, in a mysterious manner known only to heaven, acted and still acts always, for our salvation.

Life after death to the Holy Apostles was as apparent as is the sun to those who have eyes. Though their prayers may God also open our spiritual eyes, to know where we are going and what awaits us after death.

O Lord Jesus, All-merciful, deliver us from the darkness into the light according to Your mercy and through the prayers of Your Holy Apostles.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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