Prologue of Ohrid


March 10


During the time of the persecution of Christians, many of the faithful fled to the mountains and into the caves. So did the mother of Codratus. She was pregnant at the time, gave birth to Codratus in the forest, and died shortly thereafter. Growing up alone in the wildernes, Codratus was nurtured, fed and guided by divine providence and guardian angel. He Who gave manna from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness dropped from the clouds a sweet dew onto the mouth of the child Codratus. When he was twelve years old, he entered town. There a benevolent man took a liking to him and provided him with an education. He studied medicine and healed the sick with natural cures and, more often, with the spiritual power of prayer, which had been present with him from childhood. When a new persecution arose under Decius, Codratus was brought to trial and cast into prison. Five companions joined him and confessed the name of Christ. They were Cyprian, Dionysius, Anectus, Paul and Crescens. They were all dragged through the streets by the pagans, especially by their children. They were beaten with rods and stoned until they were eventually dragged to the scaffold. There, the martyrs prayed to God and were beheaded. A spring of water gushed out of the ground at that spot, which is called "Codratus" even today and is a reminder of the heroic deaths of these six holy innocents of Christ. They honorably suffered for the truth in the year 250 A.D., in Corinth, during the reign of Emperor Decius and his governor, Jason.


He was a wealthy nobleman and at the same time a staunch baptized Christian. During a time of persecution when Valerian imprisoned many Christians, Codratus bribed the jailers and entered the prison to bring various foodstuffs for those in captivity and to strengthen them in their faith. When they were brought before the judge, who questioned them about their names, their homeland and their rank, they remained silent. Then Codratus suddenly appeared behind them and cried out with a loud voice: "By name we are Christians; by title and by birth we are servants of Jesus Christ the Lord; and our city and homeland is heaven." After this declaration he was also arrested, and after prolonged and cruel torture was beheaded with the others.


Anastasia was a patrician and lady-in-waiting of the imperial palace of Emperor Justinian. After she was widowed, she perceived that Empress Theodora could not tolerate her, so she immediately slipped out of Constantinople and went to the wilderness of Egypt. The renowned spiritual father Abba Daniel tonsured her a nun and presented her as the monk Anastasius the eunuch. This was done according to her wishes so that, as a woman under the guise of a man, she could easily be protected and hidden from imperial pursuit. Anastasia then closed herself off in a narrow cell, where she spent twenty-eight years, and died there in the year 563 A.D. Before her death, the Elder Daniel saw her face shine like the sun.



At one time a glorious patrician, Venerable Anastasia

Abandoned money, flattery, and all other things.

To Christ she directed her entire life:

Christ, her bread; Christ, her water;

Christ, her joy and freedom;

Christ, the restorer of her soul;

Christ, the bridge over death.

Anastasia became shriveled;

The spirit through her withered face shone.

The spirit raised her higher to God;

With the spirit of God she breathed,

Until, illuminated,

She was enlightened by grace,

Strengthened by the power of God,

And inscribed among the Living.

She forgave all, she loved all,

And for the entire world she prayed.

Like an angel she was indeed

Wholly fixed on Christ.

By the power of God she was more powerful,

And by spiritual riches she was more wealthy

Than the Empress Theodora

Amidst the opulence of the imperial court.


When the forty-two Greek commanders from Ammoria were in the Hagarene prison (see March 6), certain Moslem sages came to counsel them to embrace the faith of Mohammed and thereby receive their freedom. These sages stressed to the Christian commanders the two advantages of Islam over Christianity: first, Mohammed is a more recent prophet than Christ, and second, the Moslems were victorious on all sides over Christianity, by which God clearly points out the truth of their religion. To the first point, the commanders replied: "If two men are debating over a field, and one has many witnesses that the field is his, and the other does not have any witnesses except his own personal testimony, what do you think? Whose field is it?" To this the Hagarenes replied: "Undoubtedly, the field is his who had many witnesses." To this the commanders replied: "By yourselves you have judged in favor of Christ and against Mohammed, for Christ had with Him the witness of all the prophets and apostles, but Mohammed alone witnesses to himself." To the second point, the commanders replied: "If you would gauge the truth of a faith by victories in wars, then this would mean that all the idolatrous nations who from time to time have conquered the world, such as the Persians, Greeks, Romans and others, possessed the true faith. This, even you Moslems would never acknowledge. And because you have been victorious over the Christians now, this does not mean that your faith is better, but that our sins are great, because of which God punishes us through you."


Contemplate the Lord Jesus at judgment before Caiaphas:

1. How the Jewish elders searched everywhere for false witnesses;

2. How their witnesses did not agree together;

3. How our Lord listened to all the slanders and remained silent without anger.


on revealed secrets

"There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known" (Matthew 10:26).

Brethren, there is one eye that never sleeps. This is the eye of God. There are more eyes in heaven, brethren, than there are stars in the firmament of the heavens. They are the eyes of the angels. No veil or wall or darkness can conceal any secret on earth from these eyes. Everything is revealed and open before the All-seeing God and His holy angels. The man who believes that all the works of man can be hidden becomes a criminal. Thus thought the Jewish elders, who arranged and planned in secrecy their evil plot against Christ the Lord. Secretly they persecuted Him, secretly they judged Him in the darkness of night, and secretly they bribed and paid false witnesses. And, like Judas, they secretly condemned Him. Where are their secrets today? All have been revealed and opened before the entire world. It is easier for man to hide from the air than from the sight of God. All the secrets of mankind, the good and the evil, are revealed before God. A countless number of those secrets God reveals to the entire world according to His providence. Those who can understand this truth, that God sees all and knows all, carefully guard themselves in the depth of their hearts from evil thoughts and especially from evil deeds. Whenever your heart entices you to do evil, O man, call to mind these words which are not of man but of God: There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. And you, whatever good you do in secret, do not become faint-hearted. All of your good is written in heaven and will be revealed in its time.

O All-seeing Lord, help us and save us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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