Prologue of Ohrid


August 24


Eutyches was one of the lesser apostles and was born in Sebastopol. He was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian and the Apostle Paul. Even though he is not numbered among the Seventy Apostles, nevertheless he is called an apostle because he was a disciple of the great apostles, and because--in his evangelical service--he displayed true apostolic zeal. Consecrated a missionary bishop, St. Eutyches traveled much, having an angel as his companion. He also received heavenly bread from an angel while in prison. When his body was scraped with a serrated iron rod, there flowed from him blood mingled with fragrant myrrh. He was thrown into a fire and exposed to wild beasts, and in the end he was finally beheaded with a sword in Sebastopol.


By descent, Tation was from Mantinaeas near Claudiopolis in Bithynia. He suffered during the time of Diocletian. After terrible tortures he was buried alive, and thus gave up his holy soul to God.


Syra was a kinswoman of St. Mary Golinduc (July 12). She was a Persian from the town of Khirkhaselevkos, and the daughter of a eminent, fire-worshiping pagan priest. Reared in paganism, the virgin Syra learned of Christ from poor Christian women, and her heart became inflamed with love for the Lord. During an illness while she was still unbaptized, Syra asked a Christian priest for dust from the church, but the priest refused since she was not yet baptized. With great faith she touched the priest's vestments, and was healed. That miraculous healing confirmed her even more in the Christian Faith. Her soulless father gave her over to harsh tortures, during which she received courage and comfort from heavenly visions. She was strangled with a cord and then drowned in the year 558 A.D., at the ages of eighteen. This occurred in the time of the Persian King Chozroes I. And so this holy virgin gloriously finished her earthly journey and took up her habitation with the heavenly angels.


Arsenius was born in Moscow and was of noble birth. As a youth he became a monk in the Monastery of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Being an exemplary monk, Arsenius was chosen as abbot, but he yearned for prayerful solitude and withdrew to the forest of Komel. There he lived a life of asceticism until his death, struggling bravely with powerful temptations from the demons. He went to rest in the Lord in the year 1550 A.D.


Gregory was a confessor and a great ascetic of Olympus. He died at the age of ninety-five, in the time of the Iconoclasts, in 716 A.D. *)
*) The Great Greek Synaxarion also mentions St. Dionysius, the Archbishop of Aegina, who died in 1624 A.D., and whose relics have manifested numerous miracles.



As young as the dew but, in wisdom, ancient,

Rich in faith, hope and meekness,

Syra the Persian, an exemplary Christian,

To God prayed, at night before dawn.

By prayer Syra, her soul, enriched;

In prayer her heart rejoiced.

In the darkness and sorrow of her father's home,

Amidst the grief and blood of the field of battle,

In prayer, Syra's heart rejoiced--

With the peace of Christ, joyful and filled.

Set against her, the kingdom and the pagan priests were,

Yet for her, were Christ and the honorably clergy.

In the dungeon dark, praying vigilantly,

With a wondrous light, Syra shone--

The light of Paradise, darkened in the world by sin,

Yet restored in the faithful by the Cross of Christ.

Whoever takes the Cross upon himself receives that light,

And from the light of the soul, the face also glows.

Syra, like a true star, shone,

And through death, to Christ's embrace, hastened.


If you were to ask many people why they do not go to church to pray, they will generally answer you: I have no time, I have to work! Look at those people who only work and do not go to church, placing their whole trust in their work; and compare them with those who set aside time for both work and prayer--and you will quickly be convinced that the latter are more well-off, and, what is more important, they are more content. Here is a story about two neighboring tailors who were very different in their respective approaches to work and prayer, and very different in their wealth and satisfaction. One of them had a large family, and the other was a bachelor. The first had the habit of going to church every morning for prayer, but the bachelor never went to church. Not only did the first work less, but he was also a less skillful tailor than the other. Yet he had enough of everything--and the other lacked everything. The bachelor asked the other how it was that he had everything, though he worked less. His prayerful neighbor [Bogomoljac, a devout person] answered him, saying that he attended church every day, and found lost gold along the way! He invited the bachelor to go to prayer with him--and they would share the discovered gold. Both neighbors began to attend church regularly, and soon they became equal in abundance and in satisfaction. Naturally, they found no gold on the road, but found the true gold of the blessing of God, which multiplies the abundance of truly devout men. To those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:31), God adds and gives increase, for all that is necessary for their physical life.


To contemplate the providence of God that protected David from falling into the hands of Saul (1 Samuel 23 [also known as 1 Kings 23]):

1. How Saul came to besiege the city of Keliah [Celia], where David was; but God revealed this to David, and he fled beforehand;

2. How Saul almost captured David in Maon, but word came to Saul that the Philistines had attacked the land;

3. How the Lord always watches over the righteous; and how He confounds the plans of the unrighteous.


About the character of Christ, as foretold by Isaiah

"He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth" (Isaiah 42:2-3).

Who had more right than the Lord, the Son of God, to raise His voice at the lawless ones in His vineyard on earth? Who had a greater right to reprimand sinners who scorn God and God's law? O sweet meekness, unseen among men! O pure mountain water, that flows down from the heights and silently washes the impurity of the habitations of men! Many pagans think that they would believe in Christ if they could hear thundering words--not kind words--from Him. Perhaps the pagans could say which is better: thunderous words, shouting and roaring, which pass without effect like smoke in the wind, or kind words which have the effect of thunder? Can a legion of thunderclaps expel a legion of demons from a man possessed? A legion of thunderclaps boomed above Gadara, but the legion of demons in the possessed man did not even feel that. Our Lord Jesus did not shout at the demons, but quietly told them to come out, and they obediently came forth. Brethren, it is not a matter of shouting or roaring, but of power.

A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench. This refers to the Old Testament, the spirit of which the Pharisees had completely bruised with their Sabbatical formalities, and which only gave off smoke and no light, because of mankind's blunted understanding and their stony-heartedness. The Lord would not break the bruised reed, neither would He completely quench the almost-extinguished fire of that Law which He gave Israel. This also pertains directly to sinful men. He will not destroy sinful mankind, nor will He quench mankind within whom the divine light has turned to smoke, but He will straighten the reed and rekindle the divine fire in men. He came into the world for the sake of sinners. He proclaimed judgment softly and gently but with the power that truth alone conveys. He behaved gently and humbly, with compassion like a physician, but far more sublimely, and far more compassionately than any earthly physician--when He entered the house of a sick soul.

O gentle, humble Lord, fill us with Your All-wondrous gentleness and humility.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Switch mode views: