Prologue of Ohrid


July 29


Callinicus was born in Cilicia. He was raised from his early youth in Christian piety. Abandoning all, he went forth to preach the Holy Gospel. In Ancyra the pagan Prince Sacerdos arrested him. When the prince threatened him with cruel tortures if he did not worship the idols, St. Callinicus answered him: "To me, suffering for my God is most welcome, as bread is to a hungry man." After consigning him to cruel tortures and beatings, the prince had iron shoes, with nails protruding inside, placed on Callinicus's feet. Then he ordered that he be driven to the city of Gangra, for the prince was afraid to torture him anymore, or to kill him in Ancyra--for many, observing the heroic patience of this holy man, had already converted to the Christian Faith. Along the way the soldiers became thirsty, but there was no water. St. Callinicus prayed to God, and brought forth water from a rock. When they arrived in Gangra, the torturers prepared to throw St. Callinicus into a fiery furnace. The saint prayed to God, saying: "I give thanks to You, O Heavenly Father, for making me worthy of this hour, in which I die for Your holy name." Then he entered the fire. When the fire died down, they found his dead body whole and unharmed by the fire. He suffered honorably, and was crowned with the wreath of eternal glory in about the year 250 A.D.


Seraphima was a maiden from Antioch. She lived in the home of a certain Sabina, the wife of a senator, whom she converted to the Christian Faith. Hearing about her, Virilus, a persecutor of Christians, ordered that Seraphima be brought before him. Since Seraphima remained unwavering in her faith, Virilus ordered that she be thrown into prison, and ordered several young men to spend the night with her and defile her. Seraphima was praying to God when the young men arrived at the prison gates. Suddenly an angel of God, with fiery sword in hand, appeared in a blaze of glory before them, and they fell as if dead, completely unconscious and incapable of movement. The next day the torturer begged Seraphima to restore the young men and, through her prayer, she brought them to consciousness. Ascribing all of this to magic, Virilus ordered that this holy virgin be burned with candles and then beaten with rods. While they were beating her, a piece of the rod broke off and deflected, striking Virilus in the eyes and blinding him. Finally they beheaded this handmaiden of Christ with the sword and she gave up her soul to God. The pious Sabina honorably buried her body, from which healing myrrh began to flow. St. Seraphima suffered during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 A.D.).


Theodotia was a young widow with three children. With St. Anastasia (December 22), Theodotia labored in the work of God in Thessalonica, and was completely dedicated to a pious life. During the time of Diocletian's persecution she was sentenced to death and thrown into a fiery furnace together with her children. Their holy souls soared into the Heavenly Kingdom.


Eustathius was a Persian, born in the village of Arbuket. At age thirty, he came to the [Georgian] city of Mtskheta. Seeing how the Christians there lived and believed, he received baptism. He was tortured for Christ, and was beheaded in Tbilisi in the year 589 A.D. His relics repose in the cathedral church in Mtskheta, and give healing to those who believe.



Seraphima, dear to the angels,

Completely innocent in soul and body,

In all thoughts, kindly,

Was tormented for many days

For Christ the Lord, the Immortal.

The godless prince, to the temple brought her

To offer sacrifice to the idols:

Saint Seraphima replied:

"Of the One God, I am a handmaiden,

Of the Holy Spirit, my body is a temple!

In virginity, my body I preserve,

That, a sacrifice to God, I might offer:

The temple of my body as a sacrifice to the Lord.

As much you like, torture my body,

But my soul you will never kill.

The soul is alive both before and after death;

By fire or sword, destroy it you cannot.

For the soul, the body was created,

And by the soul, the body is blessed.

From God, the soul into the world comes,

That, while in the body, the Lord it may glorify.

Glory to God, the Triune God!

Glory to God, my Creator!"


By true repentance, tears, prayer and good works, the most defiled soul can be completely cleansed and changed. Therefore, be careful that you do not maliciously recall the sins of a repentant sinner, but offer thanksgiving to God, and be astonished at how light is made from darkness, and pure water from a stagnant pool. The Egyptian Pharaoh Amases was of lowly birth,. When he became king, men respected him very little, remembering his origin. In order to outwit the people and to gain their respect, he took a metal basin in which, according to custom, the feet of the visitors to the palace were washed. He ordered the basin to be melted down, and from its metal, to make a likeness of a certain idol. The pharaoh then placed this idol on the street. Seeing this idol, the people began to worship it, and render it divine honor. Then the pharaoh revealed what this idol had been made from. The people understood that the pharaoh wanted to show them that they should no longer dwell on the what he once was, but what he was now--and they began to render the pharaoh the respect due to royalty.


To contemplate the miraculous sign that God showed Gideon (Judges 6):

1. How one night only the fleece was wet with dew and the remaining ground was dry; and how the second night, all the ground was wet with dew, and the fleece was dry;

2. How the first signified the Israelites in the midst of the pagan world (until the coming of Christ) and after that, the pagan world under grace, and Israel without grace (after the coming of Christ).


About the delaying of the Dreadful Day, by God's mercy

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness: but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Brethren, the mercy of God delays that day which burns like a furnace (Malachi 4:1), according to the words of the Prophet Malachi. Therefore, let the scoffers be ashamed, who scoff at the promise of God and say: Where is the promise of His coming? (2 Peter 3:4). God has not forgotten His promise--the sinners themselves have forgotten it. According to His immeasurable mercy, God is waiting for sinners to come to their senses, repent and prepare themselves for that day that will not be repeated. Behold, that day is not like the many days that are given to men for the sake of repentance, and to prepare for their encounter with God. That day is unique, and it differs from all other days, for it does not come for the sake of repentance, but rather, for judgment. Just as the Dreadful Judgment is unique and unrepeatable, so is that day unique and unrepeatable.

God does not desire that any man be lost. He did not create man for death, but for salvation. Is there a gardener who sows vegetables, yet desires that his vegetables dry out and perish? God is wiser and more compassionate than all men. God has only one desire: that all men repent and turn away from evil. How the husbandman rejoices when a withered vine comes back to life, becomes green again, and brings forth fruit! How much more, then, is the joy of God and His angels when the souls of men, withered from sin, turn to Him and become young again with tears of repentance, and bring forth the fruit of repentance!

O Lord, merciful Lover of Mankind, help sinners to feel Your mercy and pity for them--to feel it and repent, and to turn away from their wicked ways.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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