Prologue of Ohrid


August 22


St. Agathonicus was a citizen of Nicomedia and a Christian by faith. With great zeal he converted the Hellenes from idolatry and instructed them in the true Faith. At Emperor Maximian's orders, the regional governor cruelly persecuted the Christians. The deputy captured St. Zoticus in a place called Carpe. He crucified Zoticus's disciples and brought Zoticus himself to Nicomedia--where he also captured and bound St. Agathonicus, Princeps, Theoprepius (Bogoljepa), Acindynus, Severianus, Zeno and many others. Securely bound, they were all taken to Byzantium.  As they traveled, Saints Zoticus, Theoprepius and Acindynus died of their many wounds and exhaustion. Severianus was slain near Chalcedon. Agathonicus and the others were taken to Silybria, in Thrace. There, after being torture in the emperor's presence, they were beheaded, and entered into eternal life and the joy of their Lord.


The virgn Eulalia, born of Christian parents in the town of Barcelona, lived during a time of terrible persecution against Christains in Spain. Completely dedicated to Christ as her Bridegroom, completely immersed in Holy Scripture, Eulalia ceaselessly disciplined herself in voluntary ascesis of the body and spirit. When the torturer Dacian--a merciless killer of Christians throughout Spain--came to Barcelona, Eulalia secretly left from her parents at night, came before the torturer, and, in the presence of many people, rebuked him for slaughtering innocent people. She also ridiculed the lifeless idols and openly confessed her faith in Christ the Living Lord. The enraged Dacian ordered that Eulalia be disrobed and beaten with rods. The holy virgin showed that she did not feel pain from being tortured for her Christ. The torturer then bound her to a wooden cross and ordered that her body be burned with torches. Then the torturer asked her: "Where is your Christ, now, to save you?" Eulalia answered: "He is here with me, but you are unable to see Him because of your impurity." Under savage torture, Eulalia gave her soul to God. When she reposed, the people saw a white dove ascend from her mouth. Snow instantly fell from the sky and covered the naked body of the martyr like a white garment. On the third day, St. Felix came and sadly wept before Eulalia's still-hanging body, and a smile formed on her lifeless lips. Her parents and other Christians honorably buried the body of this holy virgin. Eulalia suffered and died for her Lord, and entered into eternal joy, at the beginning of the fourth century.


Anthusa was the daughter of wealthy but pagan parents from Seleucia in Syria. Learning of Christ, Anthusa believed in Him with all her heart and secretly went to Bishop Athanasius, who baptized her. Angels of God appeared to her at her baptism. Soon afterward, Anthusa set out for the wilderness to live a life of asceticism, for she was afraid to return to her parents. She labored ascetically in the wilderness for twenty-three years. She gave up her soul while in prayer, kneeling on a stone under which, according to her last testament, she wished to be buried. Bishop Athanasius and two of Anthusa's servants, Charismus and Neophytus, were slain some time later because of their faith in Christ. These events occurred in the time of Emperor Valerian, in about 257 A.D. They all reposed honorably and were crowned with heavenloy wreaths of victory.



God's white dove,

And martyr of Christ--

Eulalia desired torture,

To purify her spirit by torment.

What is the body? Weak potter's clay;

And when the soul bursts out of it,

Dust returns to its dust,

While the soul flies to the angelic world.

Eulalia bore Christ

And without sighing, endured tortures,

And in the midst of torment she prayed to God

That the torture she might withstand.

And the dove did withstand,

And the martyr did conquer.

Her body, wounded,

With white snow was covered;

Her soul flew off like a dove,

Bound for her Creator.

On her lifeless face,

With white snow, covered,

Was the smile of a victor,

And the smile of an avenger!

With a smile she was illumined,

And, a new life, proclaimed.

By the prayers of Eulalia,

May God have mercy on us!


When a man once truly repents, he needs to avoid thinking about the sins he committed, so that he will not sin again. St. Anthony counsels: "Be careful that your mind be not defiled with the remembrance of former sins--that the remembrance of those sins not be renewed in you." He also says: "Do not establish your previously committed sins in your soul by thinking about them, so that they not be repeated in you. Be assured that they were forgiven you from the time that you gave yourself to God and to repentance. In that, do not doubt." It is said of St. Ammon that he attained such perfection that, in his abudance of godliness, he no longher recognized that evil even existed. When they asked him what is that "narrow and difficult path" (Matthew 7:14), he replied: "It is the restraining of one's thoughts, and severing of one's desires, in order to fulfill the will of God." Whoever restrains sinful thoughts does not think of his own sin or the sins of others, or of anything corruptible or earthly. The mind of such a man is continually in heaven, where there is no evil. Thus, sin gradually ceases to be in him--not even in his thoughts.


To contemplate the wondrous help David received from God (1 Samuel 19 [also known as 1 Kings 19]):

1. How David played the harp before Saul;

2. How an evil spirit possessed Saul, and Saul hurled a spear at David, intending to kill him;

3. How Saul, even though he was very close to his target, did not hit David.


About the prophecy of the miracles of Christ

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35: 5-6).

Come, brethren, let us be amazed at the power of our Living God, Who opened the eyes of mortal men to see what will come to pass, even in the far future. And even more, to see these future events in the minutest details, as though Isaiah himself were an apostle of Christ, and walked with the Lord, witnessing miracle after miracle: how Christ gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, healing to the lame, and voice and speech to the deaf and dumb. When John the Baptist, in prison, sent his disciples to ask Christ: Are You He who is to come or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3), the Lord Christ answered them in the words of His prophet Isaiah: Go and show John again those things which you do hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up (Matthew 11: 4-5).

See how wonderfully the Lord planned our salvation! That which was prophesied about Him through His Prophet Isaiah, is what He fulfilled. Once the Prophet Isaiah spoke words inspired by the Holy Spirit, and later Christ spoke the words of His prophet. The prophet quoted Him, and now He [Jesus Christ] quotes the prophet. This was to show that, whether Christ speaks His own words or He speaks the words of the prophet, He always speaks only His own words. It was also to show that even then it was He who spoke (and not the prophet), and that it is now He who speaks (and not anyone else). It was also to justify His prophet as His faithful servant, so that no one would be able to say that the prophet spoke falsely. Thus the prophets served to the glory of Christ the Lord; and Christ the Lord glorified His prophets, His true servants.

O Lord Jesus Christ, glorified by Your servants, and the Glorifier of Your servants, help us also, so that by word, deed and thought, we may be able to serve the majestic glory of Your Name.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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