Prologue of Ohrid

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

October 12

1. THE HOLY MARTYRS TARACHUS, PROBUS AND ANDRONICUS

Tarachus was born in Syrian Claudiopolis, Probus was from Perga of Pamphylia, and Andronicus was the son of an eminent citizen of Ephesus. All three were martyred together by the Proconsul Numerian Maximus, in Emperor Diocletian's time. Tarachus was sixty-five years old when he was tortured. The proconsul asked him for his name, and he answered: "I am a Christian.'' The proconsul asked thrice, and received the same answer each time. These martyrs were beaten with rods, then were cast into prison bloodied and wounded. After this, they were brought out again for torture. When the proconsul advised Probus to deny Christ, promising him imperial honors and his own friendship, holy Probus replied: "Neither the emperor's honors do I desire, nor your friendship do I wish.'' When Andronicus was threatened with even greater bodily tortures, the young martyr of Christ replied: "My body is before you, do with it what you will.'' After prolonged tortures in various locales, the three holy martyrs were thrown into an arena with wild beasts. Other prisoners in the same arena were torn apart by the beasts, but they would not harm the saints; a bear and a ferocious lioness fawned around them. Seeing this, many believed in Christ the Lord and cried out against the proconsul. Crazed with anger, and more furious than the beasts, the proconsul ordered his soldiers to enter the arena and chop the soldiers of Christ into pieces with their swords. Their bodies were mingled with the dead bodies of other prisoners. Three Christians, Macarius, Felix and Berius, who were present at the slaying of the holy martyrs, came that night to remove their bodies. But as the bodies were heaped in confusion, and the night was very dark, they prayed to God to help them find the saints; and suddenly three candles were manifested over the bodies of the martyrs. Thus, they were able to remove the saints' bodies and honorably bury them.

2. SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS

Martin was born of pagan parents in the Pannonian town of Sabaria in the year 316. His father was a Roman officer, and the young Martin was given over to military service against his will. By then, however, he was already a catechumen in the Christian Church. From early childhood he had loved the Church with all his heart. One winter, while traveling with his companions to the town of Amiens, he saw a beggar before the town gates, almost naked and shivering from the cold. Martin felt sorry for him, and fell behind his companions. He then removed his military cloak and cut it in two with his sword. He gave one half to the beggar and wrapped the other around himself, and left. That night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream, wrapped in the other half of his cloak, and said to His angels: "Martin is only a catechumen, yet behold: he has clothed Me with his garment!'' Leaving the army, Martin was immediately baptized, and then baptized his mother. He was then tonsured a monk in the diocese of St. Hilary of Poitiers and led a life of true asceticism. Martin was exceptionally humble, for which God endowed him with an abundant gift of working miracles, such that he raised the dead and drove out evil spirits. Martin was appointed Bishop of Tours against his will. After abundant labor in the vineyard of the Lord, and after a difficult struggle with pagans and Arian heretics, St. Martin gave his holy soul into the hands of his Lord in the year 397.

3. THE VENERABLE COSMAS OF MAIUMA

He was born in Jerusalem. He was a friend of St. John Damascene, whose parents took him in as an orphan and raised him. As a monk, he assisted John in compiling the Octoechos, and he himself composed many canons to the saints. His canons on Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Passion Week are particularly distinguished by their beauty and profundity. He was Bishop of Maiuma, near Palestinian Gaza. He outlived St. John Damascene, and died in deep old age.

HYMN OF PRAISE
 
SAINT MARTIN, BISHOP OF TOURS
 
St. Martin, a child of Pannonia,
 
And the great illuminator of Gaul, 
 
Despised the earthly emperor's honors, 
 
And became a servant of the heavenly King.
 
The will of a powerful giant
 
Was in Martin's merciful heart.
 
Martin sprinkled himself with ashes,
 
And on the ashes this humble one slept,
 
Out of love for his God-
 
Crucified for sinful men. 
 
And Martin had crucified himself to the world
 
Solely to reach the goal!
 
Martin led the battle against demons,
 
Yielding to none of their temptations,
 
And led the battle against impudent men,
 
Against dark, dishonorable heresies.
 
Martin was a knight of Orthodoxy,
 
And a victor, wondrous and glorious.
 
With the battle won, the knight rests
 
With the angels close to Christ the King: 
 
And yet even now he lifts up prayers,
 
And comes to the aid of those in peril.
 
REFLECTION


By what virtue have the saints been most exalted and glorified in the eyes of heaven and men? Primarily by their humility and service. Even before his baptism, while he was still an officer, St. Martin had a servant whom he considered more a brother than a servant. He often served this servant unashamedly; in fact, he even rejoiced in it. Again, when St. Hilary wanted to ordain him a priest, he refused this honor with tears, and begged the bishop to let him simply be a monk in some remote place. Once, St. Martin was traveling from France to Pannonia to visit his parents. While he was crossing over the Alps, murderous robbers captured him. When one of the robbers raised his sword to behead him, Martin showed no fear, and remained motionless; he did not beg for mercy but was completely at peace, as if nothing were happening. The robber, amazed at such behavior, lay aside his sword and asked Martin who he was. Martin replied that he was a Christian, and hence, he was not afraid-for he knew that God, according to His great mercy, is always close to men, especially in times of danger. The thieves were astonished at the rare virtue of this man of God, and he who had drawn his sword against Martin believed in Christ, was baptized, and later became a monk. When the episcopal throne in Tours became vacant, the people wanted Martin to be bishop, but Martin did not even want to hear of it. However, certain citizens of Tours craftily lured him from the monastery and carried him off. They came to the gate of Martin's monastery and told Martin that a sick man was out there with them, and they begged him for a blessing. When Martin came out they seized him, took him to Tours, and had him consecrated bishop. In old age, he foresaw his approaching death. He told his brethren and they began to weep copiously, begging him not to leave them. The saint, seeking to comfort them, prayed to God in their presence and said: "Lord, if I am still needed by Thy people, I do not reject the labor. Let it be according to Thy holy will.''

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the wondrous work of the Apostles Peter and John (Acts 3):

1. How a beggar, lame from birth, asked them for alms;

2. How Peter told him they had no silver or gold;

3. How the apostle took him by the hand and said, In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk! and the sick man was made whole.

HOMILY

on weeping in the evening and joy in the morning

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

God rebukes, and God makes glad. Just one repentant thought eases the wrath of God; for God is not angry at men as an enemy is angry, but His anger toward men is as that of a father toward his children. His anger is momentary, and His mercy is infinite. If He rebukes you in the evening, He causes you to rejoice in the morning; men know Him best in His rebuking and in His mercy. O my brethren, if men constantly knew and recognized God as the Doer of good, they would never know Him as Rebuker and Judge. Behold, God rejoices more when we recognize Him by His mercy than by His anger. However, there are very ungrateful and thoughtless people who never remember God when He grants mercy, but remember Him only when He chastises and rebukes them through sickness, death in the family, failure and shame before men, fire, the sword, earthquake or flood, or numerous other punitive rods and sticks with which He chastens the unawakened, reminds the ungrateful, brings the errant to their senses, and reminds everyone that He is the Creator and Lord, the Giver of Gifts and the Judge.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. These words also mean that the night is for weeping and prayer, for repentance and divine contemplation. The night especially is for repentance, and there is no true repentance without tears. At night a man thinks without hindrance about his deeds, his words, and his thoughts, and repents for all that he has done contrary to God's law. If a man weeps in repentance at night, then he will rejoice during the day. He will rejoice as a newborn, as one bathed, as one alleviated from the burden of sin. But, if he spends the night in sin and senseless revelry, a sorrowful and tearful day will dawn for him.

O Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Teacher, rebuke us, but forgive us; chastise us, but save us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen. 



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