Prologue of Ohrid


April 14


Martin became pope on July 5, 649 A.D., at the time of the furious debates between the Orthodox and the Monothelete heretics, who held to the belief in a single will in Christ. Reigning at that time was Constans II, the grandson of Heraclius. The Patriarch of Constantinople was Paul. In order to establish peace in the Church, the emperor compiled a small volume entitled the "Typos," which was very favorable to the heretics. Pope Martin convoked a Council of 105 bishops (in the Church of the Holy Savior in the Lateran Palace in October), which condemned this book of the emperor. At the same time, the pope wrote a letter to Patriarch Paul, imploring him to adhere to the purity of the Orthodox Faith and to counsel the emperor to renounce this heretical sophistry. This letter angered both the emperor and the patriarch. The emperor dispatched Olympius, one of his commanders, to Rome to bring the pope to Constantinople in bonds. The commander did not dare to bind the pope, but bribed a soldier to slay him in church with a sword. When the soldier entered the church with the concealed sword, he was instantly blinded. Thus, by the providence of God, Martin escaped death. At that time the Saracens attacked Sicily, and Olympius was ordered to Sicily, where he died. Then, through the intrigues of the heretical Patriarch Paul, the emperor dispatched Theodore, another commander, to bind the pope and bring him to Constantinople, under the accusation that he, Pope Martin, was in collaboration with the Saracens and did not honor the All-pure Mother of God. When the commander arrived in Rome and read the accusation against Pope Martin, the latter responded that this was slanderous and that he had no association with the Saracens, the adversaries of Christianity: "And as regards the All-pure Mother of God, if one does not honor her and does not confess her and does not reverence her, let him be cursed in this world and in the next." However, this did not alter the decision of the commander. Pope Martin was bound and brought to Constantinople, where he lay for a long time in prison, painfully ill, suffering from grief and hunger, until he was finally sentenced to exile to Cherson. Pope Martin lived for two years in exile. He died in the year 655 A.D., offering his soul to the Lord, for Whom he had suffered much. Two years prior to Pope Martin's death, the repentant Paul died. When the emperor visited him before his death, Paul turned his face toward the wall and wept, confessing that he had greatly sinned against Pope Martin, and begged the emperor to release Martin.


All three were pagans and were at first fire worshippers. All of them were servants in the palace of the Lithuanian Prince Olgard in Vilnius. They were formerly called Krugletz, Kumetz and Nezhilo. All three were baptized by the priest Nestor. All three were hanged, one after the other, on the same oak tree in the year 1347 A.D. Christians cut down the tree and erected a church in honor of the Holy Trinity. The revered relics of these martyrs were then placed in this church and a holy altar table was carved from the stump of the oak tree. Their relics repose in Vilnius.


At first Ardalion was an actor-comedian. For the sake of entertaining the people, he eagerly played the role of a martyr for the Faith, mocking Christians in every possible manner. When a persecution surfaced during the reign of Emperor Maximian, his spirit completely changed. In front of the crowd, he cried out in a loud voice that he was a Christian and that he was not jesting. For this, Ardalion was condemned; he suffered for Christ and died while tied to a red hot framework of rods, thus truly and honorably fulfilling the role of a martyr.



Saint Martin the Pope speaks before the Senate:

"Let my body be crushed and burned.

The most cruel sufferings will I joyfully endure,

But the true Faith will I not deny.

The Good Savior was God and Man.

He had two natures and two wills,

But both natures were in one Person,

And both wills in a single light.

Such a Faith all the Fathers passed on to us;

For such a Faith many suffered.

May I suffer also, I the least of all,

A servant of my Lord, and of all the most sinful!"

Thus Martin confessed his faith to all,

Speaking truth before the heretics.

Oh, the worth of a man when he fears God!

Above little men he stands like a mountain!


"It is befitting for a monk to love God as a son and to fear Him as a slave," says Evgarius. Naturally, this is also befitting for every Christian, even though he may not be a monk. It is a great art for anyone to unite love for God with fear of God. Many other Holy Fathers, whenever they speak of love for God, at the same time mention fear of God, and vice versa. In his homily "On Perfect Love," St. John Chrysostom discusses suffering and the pains of hell. Why? Because, without fear, a great love of God imperceptibly crosses over into pride; and, without love, a great fear of God leads to despair.


Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:

1. How He appeared to the disciples on the shore of the lake and addressed them: Children (John 21:5);

2. How He filled their nets again with fish, and they knew Him, though none dared ask: Who art Thou? (John 21:12).


on the personal experience of all the apostles

"That ... which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, ... declare we unto you" (1 John 1:1).

Behold, such is the apostolic preaching! The apostles do not speak as worldly sages or as philosophers, and even less as theoreticians who make suppositions about things in order to discover something. The apostles speak about things which they have not sought but which unexpectedly surrounded them, about a fact which they did not discover but which, so to speak, unexpectedly found them and seized them. They did not occupy themselves with spiritual investigation, nor did they study psychology, nor much less did they occupy themselves with spiritism. Their occupation was fishing--a totally experiential, physical occupation. While they were fishing, the God-man appeared to them and cautiously and slowly introduced them to a new vocation in His service. At first they did not believe Him, but ever cautiously and slowly--with fear, hesitation and much wavering--they came toward Him and recognized Him. It was not until the apostles had seen Him many times with their own eyes and examined Him and felt Him with their own hands, that they believed.  What they experienced was supernatural, but their method of recognizing this was thoroughly sensory and learned through positive encounter. Not even one contemporary scholar would be able to use a more positive method to know Christ. The apostles saw not only one miracle, but numerous miracles. They heard not only one lesson, but so many lessons that they could not be contained in numerous books. They saw the resurrected Lord for forty days: they walked with Him, they conversed with Him, they ate with Him, and they touched Him. In a word, they personally had thousands of wondrous facts firsthand, by which they learned and confirmed the one great fact, that is, that Christ is the God-man, the Son of the Living God, the man-loving Savior of mankind and the All-powerful Judge of the living and the dead.

O resurrected Lord, confirm us in the faith and ardor of Thy Holy Apostles.

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