Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
The Prologue from Ohrid
To order your hard copy of Prologue please go here
1. The Venerable Theodora
Theodora was from Alexandria and the wife of a young man. Persuaded by a fortune-teller, she committed adultery with another man and immediately felt the bitter pangs of conscience. She cut her hair, dressed in men's clothing and entered the Monastery of Octodecatos, under the male name of Theodore. Her labor, fasting, vigilance, humbleness and tearful repentance amazed the entire brotherhood. When a promiscuous young woman slandered her, saying that Theodore had made her pregnant, Theodora did not want to justify herself, but considered this slander as a punishment from God for her earlier sin. Banished from the monastery, she spent seven years living in the forest and wilderness and, in addition, caring for the child of that promiscuous girl. She overcame all diabolical temptations: she refused to worship Satan, refused to accept food from the hands of a soldier, and refused to heed the pleas of her husband to return to him-for all of this was only a diabolical illusion, and as soon as Theodora made the sign of the Cross everything vanished as smoke. After seven years, the abbot received her back into the monastery, where she lived for two more years, and reposed in the Lord. Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; an angel appeared to the abbot and explained everything to him. Her husband came to the burial, and then remained in the cell of his former wife until his repose. St. Theodora possessed much grace from God: she tamed wild beasts, healed infirmities, and brought forth water from a dry well. Thus, God glorified a true penitent, who with heroic patience repented nine years for just one sin. She reposed in the year 490.
2. Saint Paphnutius the Confessor
Paphnutius was the Bishop of Taiski in the Egyptian Thebaid. He suffered greatly for the Orthodox Faith. The heretics gouged out one of his eyes and broke his left leg. He participated in the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325], refuting the heresy of Arius with great vigor. Emperor Constantine greatly respected him, and often kissed him on his missing eye, gouged out for the truth of Orthodoxy. He stood decisively against the western representatives at the Council who proposed that secular priests be completely forbidden marriage. Paphnutius was chaste his entire life.
3. The Venerable Euphrosynus the Cook
Euphrosynus was a simple man, but a man of God. He served as the cook in an Amorean monastery in the ninth century. One night, the spiritual father of this monastery saw himself in Paradise, and saw Euphrosynus there as well. Euphrosynus picked and gave him three apples from Paradise. When the spiritual father awoke, he saw three unusually beautiful and fragrant apples by his pillow. He quickly found Euphrosynus and asked him: ``Where were you last night, brother?'' ``I was where you were, father,'' the blessed God-pleaser replied. The spiritual father then revealed the entire incident to the monks, and all recognized the sanctity and godliness of Euphrosynus. But Euphrosynus, fearing the praise of men, immediately fled the monastery and hid in the wilderness, where he spent the remainder of his life.
4. The Holy Martyr Ia
Ia was denounced by idolatrous priests and suffered for the Lord in Persia during the reign of Sapor II, in 363. According to tradition, the sun became dark at the time of her death, and all the air was filled with a wondrous fragrance. She is glorified by the Lord forever.
5. Holy Martyrs Diodorus, Didymus and Diomedes
They were flogged for the sake of Christ in Laodicea, and gave their souls into the hands of their Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Wretched Theodora was tangled in sin;
One must not hinder anyone on the path of perfect devotion and service to God. Many saintly women who wanted to flee from marriage and devote themselves to God were pursued and hindered in this by their husbands. These women were usually victorious in the end, remaining steadfast in their intention, and often awakened the consciences of their husbands by their example, and directed them on the path of salvation. St. Theodora, dressed in men's clothing, had to carefully hide from her husband, and she retreated to a men's monastery. However, there were prudent husbands who approved their wives' intentions, permitting their withdrawal from the world to devote their lives completely to God. King Frederick was betrothed to a Czech maiden, Agnes. But she never agreed to enter into marriage, and broke her betrothal, fleeing to a monastery. Then the prudent king said: ``Had she left me for a mortal man, I would have sought revenge; but I must not find myself insulted that she chose the Heavenly King in place of me.''
Contemplate Solomon's terrible turning away from God, and God's punishment (I Kings 11):
I am the Bread of life (John 6:35).
Introduction | Home | Contact Us|
© Copyright, Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America