Prologue of Ohrid


March 3


They were companions of St. Theodore the Tyro. When the righteous Theodore had gloriously reposed, they remained behind in prison. For a long time they were not sentenced, due to the replacement of the emperor's governor in the city of Amasea. When the new governor arrived, more inhuman than his predecessor, he ordered that these three be brought before him. All three were youths. Eutropius and Cleonicus were brothers, and Basiliscus was a kinsman of St. Theodore. All three were like blood brothers in their fraternal love. As such, they said before the governor: "As the Holy Trinity is undivided, so also are we undivided in our faith and inseparable in our love." In vain was all the flattery on the part of the governor, and in vain were his attempts to bribe Eutropius. First of all, the governor invited Eutropius to dine with him. Eutropius refused, quoting from the Psalms: Blessed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked (Psalm 1:1). After that, the governor offered him a large amount of money--150 litres of silver--which Eutropius also refused, reminding the governor that because of silver Judas lost his soul. After all attempts at interrogation and torture had failed, the first two were sentenced to be crucified, and Basiliscus was sentenced to be beheaded. And so it was, two brothers were crucified on two crosses, for which they gave thanks to Christ that He had made them worthy of the same death to which He Himself submitted. The third, Basiliscus, was beheaded. They all entered the Kingdom of Joy where St. Theodore, their commander, awaited them, having been glorified before them by Christ the Lord and Victor. They suffered honorably in the year 308 A.D.


For the sake of Christ, Piama did not wish to marry; she dedicated herself to a life of asceticism in the home of her mother. She ate very little food, and that only every other day. She spent most of her time in prayer and contemplation. Piama possessed the gift of clairvoyance. She died peacefully, wedding her soul to the Lord, in about the year 377 A.D.


Coming from a wealthy home in Alexandria, she had a good father who suffered much and had a difficult death, and an evil mother who had an easy life, died peacefully and was buried with honor. Perplexed as to whether she should live according to the example of her father or her mother, this maiden had a vision which revealed to her the conditions of both her parents in the other world. She saw her father in the Kingdom of God and her mother in darkness and in torment. This vision helped the maiden to decide that she would dedicate her whole life to God. Like her father, she would adhere to the commandments of God, without considering all the adversities and the misfortunes which she would have to endure. She was faithful to the will of God to the end and, with the help of God, was made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, where she was reunited with her God-loving father.



The mind at peace and raised to God the Most High,

The heart inflamed with love toward Him,

These do not care about pains or worry about the body:

Over such as these, only the Lord rules.

The mind fixed on Christ--that is most important.

Saint Eutropius recognized this during his torments;

And Cleonicus his brother and beloved Basiliscus--

All three were in the fire as though in the morning dew.

A mind fixed on Christ does not care about tortures.

If pain persists, so also does prayer.

The mind fixed on Christ does not think about pain, but weaves prayer.

He who fears God does not fear pain.

Two blood brothers raised upon the Cross:

Their bodies convulse, but the spirit does not stir.

Both glorify God Who glorified them;

Such an honorable death He gave to them.

The garment of the flesh is rent and removed

And the spirit races toward heaven.

The spirit is stronger than the body.

"Receive, O God," they cry out, "our spirits in the heights,

To Thee be eternal glory, O Son of God!"


Speaking in human terms, Christ, by His obedience, elevated Himself to primacy in the Church, in the world, and in the history of mankind. No one can be a good leader who has not completed the school of obedience. Adam forfeited his authority and dominion over living creatures and the elements of nature at the very moment when he showed himself disobedient to God. Abba Moses said: "Obedience begets obedience; if someone listens to God, God also listens to him." It is obvious, then, that God listens to man more than man listens to God, especially when one takes into consideration how often and in how many ways man sins daily against the commandments of God. It is a fact that the Eternal God listens to us, corruptible as we are, more than we listen to Him. This should fill all of us with shame who still have a conscience. When St. Eutropius was being tortured along with his two companions, he prayed to God: "Come to our aid as Thou camest to Thy servant Theodore the Tyro." Suddenly, the ground shook and the obedient Lord appeared with His angels and St. Theodore. The Lord said to the sufferers: "During the time of your torture, I stood before your faces and observed your patience. I will write your names in the Book of Life."


Contemplate the Lord Jesus at the Mystical Supper:

1. How He chose bread and wine, two ordinary elements of nourishment, and through them instituted His visible and invisible bond with the Church until the end;

2. How the Mystical Supper has been preserved until today, and how it will be preserved until the end of time as the Mystery of Communion;

3. How every day, and almost every hour, somewhere in the world, a priest consecrates the bread and wine and receives them as the Body and Blood of Christ. What a wonderful vision that is!


on love for your neighbor

"Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you" (Philippians 1:24).

Illumined with the love of Christ, the Apostle Paul acknowledged, in his Epistle to the Philippians, that for him death is a gain because his life is Christ's. Paul's love for Christ draws him toward death so that he may stand by Christ as soon as possible, but his love for the faithful compels him to remain in the flesh. However, these are not two loves that attract the Apostle and pull him in two directions, but one and the same love that opens before him two treasures of wealth. One treasure is the blessed world in heaven, and the other treasure is the souls of the faithful on earth. That heavenly treasure is increased by that earthly treasure; both treasures flow together into one. To go to heaven--to that the Apostle is drawn by love and reward; to remain on earth--to that he is drawn by love and duty.

When mortal man, my brethren, discovers that it is more important to remain in the flesh out of love for his brothers, how is it strange that the Eternal God knew, before the Apostle, that it was more important to be in the flesh for the salvation of mankind than out of the flesh in the spiritual kingdom? Does not this confession of Paul before the Philippians explain to us with complete clarity the reasons for the Incarnation of the Son of God? There, in heaven, is the true Kingdom of Christ and the true life of Christ, without the mingling of sin and death. But the Son of God's love toward men deemed it necessary to remain in the flesh on earth among men. Truly, we need to be thankful to the Apostle Paul that he, in explaining himself to us, explained the mystery of Christ's coming and His dwelling in the flesh.

O Lord, wonderful art Thou in Thy saints.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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