Prologue of Ohrid


August 14


Micah was of the tribe of Judah and from the village of Morasth, for which he is called the "Morasthite." He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea, and of the Jewish kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Micah rebuked the people for their vices, and rebuked the false prophets who prophesied of wine and of strong drink (Micah 2:11). He foretold the destruction of Samaria. He also foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, which would come because its leaders accepted bribes, its priests taught for hire, and its prophets told fortunes for money. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field and Jerusalem shall become as heaps (Micah 3:12). But, of all his prophecies, the most important prophecy is that of Bethlehem as the place of the birth of the Messiah, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). It is not known exactly whether this prophet was slain by the Jews or whether he died a peaceful death. [Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and spoke to all the people of Judah saying, Thus said the Lord of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field and Jerusalem shall become heaps and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? Did he not fear the Lord and besought the Lord and the Lord repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls] (Jeremiah 26:18-19). However, it is known that he was buried in his village. During the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, Bishop Zevin of Eleutheropolis had a mystical vision that led to the finding of Micah's relics, together with those of the Prophet Habakkuk.


Marcellus was a highly educated Cypriot, born of wealthy and eminent parents. He married and had children.  When his wife died, Marcellus withdrew to Syria for the monastic life, leaving his children to God's providence. He gained renown by his compassion, meekness and spiritual knowledge. The Apameans elected him as their bishop. Bishop Marcellus zealously labored to convert pagans to the Christian Faith. It happened that an idolatrous temple was burned, and the idolaters seized Marcellus, accusing him as having set the fire.  They burned him in about the year 389 A.D. Especially instructive in the Life of St. Marcellus is a discussion of the blessing of water, and the use of blessed water.



Micah, God's prophet, with the divine Spirit burned,

Foretelling doom and proclaiming salvation:

"Hear, you leaders of the house of Jacob:

When fire erupts, the chaff is not saved.

You hate good and evil you relish;

God's people, you heartlessly defraud;

The Law and the prophets of old you have abandoned;

You hearken not to God, but to sorcerers!

But misfortune, pain and lamentation will come;

You will cry out to heaven, but in vain and too late.

For the Assyrian, Samaria will be a threshing floor,

And for the barbarous Chaldeans, Jerusalem!

But you, Bethelem, little Ephratha,

Though least, you are dearest to Me.

From you, the Leader we need shall come.

His descent shall be from the heart of heaven;

Out of His fervent love He will come with eagerness.

With His mighty staff, His flock He will tend.

He shall be great unto the ends of the earth.

The earth and the heavens, of His mercy, shall sing,

And peace will reign--He shall be that peace.

In Himself, He will glorify the race of man.


Beware of a parent's curse, for a parental curse is a dreadful thing. Value, and seek, a parental blessing--for it will be with you throughout your entire life. The all-wise Sirach speaks: For the blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children; but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations (Sirach 3:9 [Ecclesiasticus 3:9]). The curse by which Noah cursed the descendants of Ham continued to follow the unfortunate Hamites, but the sons of Jacob have had blessing in their lives, by the grace of their father's blessing.  As a young man, St. Sergius begged his parents for their blessing to become a monk. His aged parents begged their son to wait awhile and abide with them until their death, and then be tonsured a monk. Sergius obeyed his parents, and was blessed throughout his life. Bishop Hermogenes relates that a man mistreated his wife. When his mother tearfully scolded him because of it, the son attacked his mother, beat her, and smashed her head against a wall. The sorrowful mother cried out: "Lord, may my son be cursed, and may he not have my blessing nor Your blessing." That same day, the son began to tremble throughout his entire body, and for thirteen years he trembled so badly that he was not even able to raise a spoon to his mouth. He finally made his confession and received the Sacrament of Holy Communion--which eased his suffering a little. Soon afterward he died.


To contemplate God's wondrous assistance of Saul, in battle with the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11 [also known as 1 Kings 11]):

1. How the powerful Nahash [Naas], the leader of the Ammonites, threatened to pluck out the right eyes of all the Israelites;

2. How the people of Israel wept before the Lord;

3. How God helped Saul and Samuel destroy the Ammonites, for the Spirit of God was upon them.


About the prophecy of light in darkness

"The people that walked in the darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isaiah 9:2).

The prophet foretold that, where it was darkest, the light-bearing Messiah would appear. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali were considered to be the darkest lands. There the pagans intermingled with the Jews; the yoke of external and internal slavery was the heaviest; the darkness of the pagans and the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees covered the people with the shadow of death. The Light of Heaven shone first in Bethlehem when Christ the Lord was born there. That Light was seen from afar by eastern Magi, and from nearby by the shepherds of Bethlehem. But that Light was driven out of Bethlehem by the bloody sword of Herod, and the Light withdrew to Egypt. After that, the Light shone in full radiance in the land of darkness and the shadow of death--the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. Beside the lake in that region, there lived fishermen whom our Lord chose for His disciples. Also in that land is to be found the Mount of the Beatitudes, from whose slopes the Lord proclaimed His first great sermon. There, also, is Cana of Galilee, where the Lord worked His first miracle. There He began His work for the salvation of mankind by His powerful words and deeds. Men saw this great Light and were astonished. Many were scandalized by the Lord, and many mocked Him. But these men of darkness did not kill Him. There was another, darker place in the land of the Jews, whose people rose up against the Creator and slew Him. It was the same place from which Herod, thirty-three years earlier, had raised his bloody sword to extinguish the Great Light by blood. This place was Jerusalem. Of all the darkness, the darkness of Jerusalem was the blackest--ironically, since the name Jerusalem means "light."

O Lord, our Great and All-powerful Light, encompass us by Your light in our fleeting lives, and receive us, when we pass from this earth, into Your glorious, immortal Light.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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