Prologue of Ohrid


April 7


George was chosen and installed as Metropolitan of Mitylene for his great virtues, which he attained through long ascetic labors. This saint governed his spiritual flock prudently and zealously to a great old age. When a persecution began under Leo the Armenian, who destroyed the holy icons, this saintly elder was summoned to Constantinople, to an assembly of bishops, whose intention, at the desire of the emperor, was to put a stop to the veneration of icon. George not only refused to carry out the wish of the wicked emperor, but with other courageous bishops stood up in defense of holy icons. Not only was he mocked for this, but he was also exiled by the emperor to the region of Cherson. There he endured all sorts of physical afflictions and deprivations for the remaining years of his life. He reposed and entered into eternal life in about the year 816 A.D. Because of his great sanctity and love for the Lord Jesus, George was a great miracle-worker, both during his life and after his death.


Nilus is one of the great fathers of the Russian Church. He was the founder of the skete form of monastic life in Russia. He reposed peacefully in the year 1508 A.D. His relics repose in the Sora Monastery. His Rule for the skete way of monastic life is a spiritual and practical work of the first order.


Calliopius was an only son, granted by God to a senator from Perga in Pamphylia, after the senator had shed many tears in prayer. From his early youth, he was taught by his devout mother, Theoclea, to honor God and to live a chaste life. Calliopius was still a youth when a terrible persecution began during the reign of Emperor Maximian. To spare him from death, his mother put him in a ship, gave him an ample amount of money, and saw him off to the city of Pompeiopolis. However, God, in His divine providence, planned otherwise. Landing in Pompeiopolis, he fell into the midst of a tumultuous polytheistic celebration. When Calliopius refused to participate in this senseless feast, he was brought by the crazed mob to Maximus, the commander, before whom Calliopius confessed that he was a Christian. The commander ordered that Calliopius be beaten with lead rods and burned by fire. Wounded all over, he was cast into prison. Learning of the tortures of her son, Theoclea distributed her entire estate to the poor and needy and, with a paltry sum of money, hurried to her son in prison. Upon entering the prison, Theoclea bowed down before her son and dressed his wounds. Finally, the commander pronounced the ultimate sentence: Calliopius was to be crucified on a cross. Joy and pain intermingled in the heart of his mother. When they brought her son to the place of execution, she slipped five pieces of gold to the executioners to have her son crucified, not as the Lord had been, but rather upside down. Theoclea did this out of humility before the Lord. Calliopius was crucified upside down on Holy Thursday. His mother stood beneath the cross giving thanks to God. On the second day, when they removed his lifeless body from the cross, she fell upon her son and she herself died. Thus, these two went before the throne of the King of Glory together. They suffered honorably in the year 304 A.D.


Daniel had a unique form of asceticism--that of caring for the dead. Whenever he heard that someone had been found frozen to death or had died in some other manner, Daniel would hasten to bury him decently and to offer prayers to God for him. He reposed peacefully in the year 1540 A.D. His relics remain incorrupt.


He was a great saint and ascetic of Mount Sinai and Mount Athos (see August 8).



"Calliopius, Calliopius,
Depart to where there is no death!"
His mother speaks to him and bids him her last farewell;
She dreams about the fate of her only son.

Calliopius, the most handsome youth,
Explains his faith to the commander:
"Christ is my life, the way, the truth;
Christ is my desire, my only desire!"

They led Calliopius to the cross;
Behind him throngs of people walk.
He is pale and peaceful, tightly bound,
Walking quietly, bitterly tortured.

His mother whispers to him: "Calliopius!"
"I am traveling, O Mother, to where there is no death!"
The martyr of Christ, the glorious martyr,
Accepts the heavy cross, and is crucified head downward.

Over the dead body the mother is bending.
She bathes Calliopius with tears
And whispers quietly: "Calliopius!"
"Here I am, Mother, where there is no death!"


"Spiritual directors should distinguish themselves from those in their charge, just as a shepherd distinguishes himself from his sheep." Thus speaks St. Isidore of Pelusium in interpreting the First Epistle to Timothy. The life of a priest always serves as an example, be it good or bad. By an exemplary life a priest confirms the Gospel, and by a wicked life he denies it. No one in this world is in such a position to confirm the truth of the Gospel--or to deny it--as is a priest by his life. A good priest is distinguished from a wicked priest by his works, no less than a shepherd is distinguished from a wolf. That is why a lot of good priests will be with the sons of God and a that of wicked priests will be with the wild beasts of darkness. The good shepherds of the Church, even in the last moments of their lives, were concerned about the flocks that they were leaving behind. On his deathbed, St. Joseph the Hymnographer prayed to God: "Preserve Thy flock, O Son of God, created by Thy right hand, and protect them to the end of time. Be of assistance to the beloved sons of Thy Church. Grant to Thy Bride (the Holy Church) eternal peace and a stormless calm." St. Antipas, burning in a blazing copper ox, prayed to God in this manner: "Not only me, but also those who will come after me--make us partakers of Thy mercy."


Contemplate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus:

1. How the myrrh-bearing women, with myrrh and aloes, approach the tomb to anoint the One Who is the sweet-smelling savor of heaven and earth;

2. How the angel announces the Resurrection of our Lord to them with the words: Why seek ye the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5).


on seeking the living among the dead

"Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5).

The angel of God asks the myrrh-bearing women, as though in astonishment: "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" As though the perceiver of the mystery of God and God's power wanted to say: "How could you have thought for a moment that He is the hostage of death? Do you not know that He is the principal source of life? Do you not know that all life is through Him and that not one living thing can borrow even a drop of life from any other source? Did He not, on earth, reveal to you fully His authority over life and death? Who gave life to the lifeless Lazarus? Who took away the life of the barren fig tree?"

O my brethren, let us also cease to look for the living among the dead. If there are some of us who are still seeking Christ among the dead, let them desist from this soul-destroying effort. This is the vain effort of the Jews, pagans and non-Christians. We know that the Lord and Giver of Life is not in the tomb but on the Throne of Glory in the heavens. The spirit not darkened by sin looks up into heaven and does not see the tomb; while the spirit darkened by sin looks into the tomb and does not see heaven. Sin and virtue, at cross purposes with each other, govern the spiritual vision of a man--each revealing to man its own world. Sin brings the vision of the spirit down to the earth and reveals to it the corruption of the world. Virtue uplifts the spirit to heaven and reveals to it the eternal world, and the resurrected Christ as the King in that world.

O my brethren, let us not seek life from creation, but from the Creator. Let us not commit an even graver sin: let us not seek the Creator in the tomb of creation or the Illuminating, Immortal One in the darkness of death.

O Lord Jesus, Victor over death, we cry out to Thee: raise us up also into life eternal from the corruption and darkness of death.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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