Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
The Prologue from Ohrid
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October 201. The Holy Great-martyr Artemius
This glorious saint was an Egyptian by birth and the chief commander under Emperor Constantine the Great. When the victorious Cross, surrounded by stars, appeared to Emperor Constantine, Artemius also saw that Cross, believed in the Lord Christ and was baptized. Later, during the reign of Emperor Constantius, this emperor sent him to Greece to remove the relics of St. Andrew from Patras and St. Luke from Thebes, and to take them to Constantinople. Commander Artemius carried this out with joy. After that, Artemius was appointed as augustalis and imperial prefect in Egypt. He remained in this position during the reign of Constantius, and for a period of time under Emperor Julian the Apostate. When the apostate emperor went to war against the Persians, he came through Antioch and commanded Artemius to come to Antioch with his army. Artemius came. Then the emperor subjected two Christian priests, Eugenius and Macarius, to torture. Seeing this, Artemius became greatly disturbed and, facing the emperor, said: ``Why, O Emperor, why do you inhumanly torture these innocent and dedicated men of God, and why do you force them to renounce the Orthodox Faith?'' Artemius continued, prophesying: ``Your death is near.'' The enraged emperor sent those two honorable priests into exile to Arabia, where they died shortly thereafter. He then stripped Commander Artemius of his military rank and ordered him to be flogged and torn asunder. Thoroughly wounded and bloodied, Artemius was thrown into prison, where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, and healed and comforted him. Then the emperor commanded that he be spread out on a stone, and that another heavy stone be placed upon him, so that his body would be smashed flat as a board. Finally, St. Artemius was beheaded. It was the year 362. Emperor Julian went out against the Persians and perished dishonorably, as St. Artemius had foretold.
2. The Holy Righteous Artemius
Artemius was born in 1532, the son of Russian peasants Cosmas and Apollinaria, from the village of Verkola in the region of Dvina. Even at the age of five, he differed from other children by his rare piety and meekness. When he was thirteen, the child walked with his father through a great forest in severe weather and reposed there. Unable to dig a grave, his grieving father covered his body with branches and departed. Twenty-eight years later, a man saw an unearthly light in the forest. Upon approaching the light, he found the body of Artemius intact and incorrupt. Many of the sick were healed of illnesses as soon as they touched the body of St. Artemius. His holy relics repose in a monastery near Pinega, in the Province of Archangelsk.
3. The Venerable Gerasimus the New
Gerasimus was from Trikala in the Peloponnese of the prominent Notaras family. He was born in 1509. He lived a life of asceticism on Mount Athos, and then in Palestine, where he fasted for forty days. After that, he settled on the island of Cephalonia, where he founded a convent. By his prayer he brought down rain, healed the sick, and foretold the future. He rested in the Lord on August 15, 1579. Gerasimus was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his repose.
4. The Venerable New Martyr Ignatius
Ignatius was from the Bulgarian region of Eski-Zagora. This is that glorious region of Zagora that has given the Church of God many holy ascetics and martyrs. He lived a life of asceticism in the Skete of St. John the Forerunner on Mount Athos. He willingly gave himself to the Turks to be tortured for Christ, and was hanged in Constantinople on October 8, 1814. His relics are miracle-working, and his head is honorably preserved in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
St. Artemius the commander
The compassionate God wonderfully guides those who give themselves over to His holy will and care. Just as a candle-maker makes whatever kind of candle he wants from soft wax, so the All-wise God makes immortal lights in the Heavenly Kingdom of His devoted servants. St. Ignatius the New Martyr was totally devoted to God, even as a child. He yearned to become a monk and to be a martyr for the Faith. During the Karageorge uprising, the Turkish army was conscripting men throughout Bulgaria to fight against the Serbs, and even came to the house of Ignatius's father, George, to see if anyone there was fit for military service. Seeing that George was a well-built and strong man, they wanted to take him into the army. But George resolutely said: ``I cannot fight against my fellow Christians.'' The infuriated Turks killed him on the spot. The young Ignatius hid in a neighboring house, then fled to Romania, but his desire for monasticism took him to the Holy Mountain. Even so, he wanted something more than monasticism-he desired martyrdom. He prayed with tears one night before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, imploring her to grant him the path of martyrdom. He heard a sound in front of him, and opened his eyes to see the glowing halo detach itself from the icon and rest upon his head. Shortly after that, he suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Turks, and received the wreath of eternal glory.
Contemplate the Lord's wondrous appearance to the Apostle Ananias and to Saul (Acts 9):
We have heard with our ears, O God; Our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old (Psalm 44:1).
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