Prologue of Ohrid


March 17


Varied are the paths upon which God leads those who desire to please Him and to fulfill His Law. There lived in Rome at the time of Emperor Honorius a high-ranking dignitary, Euphemianus, who was highly respected and extremely wealthy. He and his wife, Aglaida, led a God-pleasing life. Even though he was wealthy, Euphemianus sat at the table once a day, only after the setting of the sun. He had an only son, Alexis, who, when he had reached the age of maturity, was compelled to marry. But, on that same night of the wedding, he left not only his wife but the home of his father as well. Alexis boarded a boat and arrived at the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia, where there was a renown image of our Lord, sent there by our Lord Himself to Emperor Abgar. Having venerated this image, Alexis clothed himself in the dress of a beggar and, as such, lived in the city for seventeen years, continually praying to God in the vestibule of the Church of the Holy Mother of God. When it became public that he was a man of God, he became frightened of the praise of men, departed Edessa and boarded a boat, and traveled to Laodicea. According to God's Providence, the boat was carried away (off-course) and sailed all the way to Rome. Considering this to be the finger of God, Alexis decided to go to the house of his father and there, as an unknown, continue his life of self-denial. His father did not recognize him but out of charity allowed him to live in his courtyard in a hut. Alexis remained there for seventeen years living only on bread and water. Mistreated by the servants in various ways, he endured all to the end. When his end approached, he wrote a letter, clenched it in his hand, laid down and died on March 17, 411 A.D. At the same time there was a revelation in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, and in the presence of the emperor and the patriarch, a voice was heard which said, "Seek out the Man of God." Shortly after that, it was revealed that this Man of God resided at the house of Euphemianus. The emperor along with the pope and an entire retinue arrived at the home of Euphemianus and after a lengthy discussion learned that the beggar was that "Man of God." When they entered his hut, they found Alexis dead, but his face shown as the sun. From the letter his parents learned that he was their son Alexis. Also, his bride, who for 34 years lived without him, learned that he was her husband. All were overcome with immense grief and pain. Later, they were comforted after seeing how God glorified His chosen one. By touching his body, many of the sick were healed, and from his body flowed a sweet-smelling oil [Chrism]. His body was buried in a sarcophagus of marble and jasper. His head reposes in the Church of St. Laurus in the Peloponnese.


Marinus was a soldier. Not only did he not want to offer sacrifices to the idols, but if others made sacrifices he scattered and trampled them under his feet. As a result of this, Marinus was tortured and beheaded in the third century. A certain Senator, Astyrius, clothed in a priceless white garment, witnessed the suffering of St. Marinus. Astyrius was so overcome with enthusiasm for the Faith of Christ, Who gives to His followers so much courage, that he placed the martyred body on his shoulders, removed it and buried it with honor. Upon seeing this, the pagans murdered him also as a Christian.



Alexis abandoned all that the world deems glorious,

And to God, he embarked on the narrow, but true path.

First, decided he to become impoverished for the sake of Christ;

After that, he hurriedly left the opulence of his parents.

When he departed to a distant land and when he returned,

Neither in splendor nor in poverty did he stumble into sin.

His mind raised to God, as a lighted candle,

With a strong faith and prayer, of the kind that moves mountains.

His sorrowful mother, inconsolable Aglaida,

Euphemianus, together with his aged father, sorrowed and sobbed;

And the bride, at one time young, faded because of grief.

One day, the servants at the beggar screamed.

And who this withered beggar was, no one even suspected:

The heir of that household, that was he!

But about that he remained silent.

Inheritance he disowned while in early bloom,

In order to be a co-heir in the heavenly world.

But the saint was unable to hide; the Lord made him known.

Whoever, by his life, glorifies God, God glorifies him.

Alexis glorified God, that is why glorious he became,

In truth, he was and remains the Man of God.


Why are we here on earth? To show our love for God. To learn to love God more than sin. That by our inconsequential love, we may respond to the greater love of God. Only God's love is a great love, and our love is always inconsequential. God abundantly showed and shows His love for man both in Paradise and on earth. This brief earthly life is given to us as a school and as an examination, to be examined ourselves as to whether we will respond with love to the great love of God. "Every day and every hour, proof of our love for God is required of us," says St. Isaac the Syrian. God shows His love for us every day and every hour. Every day and every moment we stand positioned between God and sin. We have either to give our love to God and elevate ourselves among the angels or to choose sin and fall into the gloom of Hades. Alexis, the Man of God, loved God more than he loved his parents, his wife and riches. He spent seventeen years as a beggar far away from the home of his parents, and another seventeen years Alexis spent as an unknown, scorned in the house of his parents. He did this all for the sake of the love of God. The merciful God responded love for love: for these thirty-four years of suffering He gave Alexis eternal life and joy among His angels in the heavens, and glory on earth.


To contemplate the Lord Jesus on Golgotha:

1. How the soldiers removed His garments, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

2. How they nailed Him to the wood with spikes, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

3. How with uproar and tumult they raised the cross from the ground and placed it upright, and the Lord remained silent.


About the second coming of Christ

"For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be" (St. Matthew 24:27).

The Second Advent of our Lord Jesus will be an appearance in glory. Our Lord repeated this many times. Here He tells us in more detail as to what this, His appearance, will resemble. He says it will resemble lightning. Through this He reveals the five characteristics of His glorious advent.

First: His Second Coming will be unexpected, like lightning. That is why He reminded us, Therefore, stay awake! For you know neither the day nor the hour (St. Matthew 25:13).

Second: His Second Coming will be as bright as lightning. The sun and the stars will be darkened. The entire universe will lose the glow of its face when He shines forth. He who sins will have less light and brightness; how much darker will the sinner be under this heavenly flame. That is why He reminded us to keep the lamps of our souls filled with oil and trimmed. O my brethren, let us not find ourselves in the darkness in that terrible hour!

Third: His coming will be as powerful as lightning. For He Himself says elsewhere that He will come with great power and glory (St. Matthew 13:26).

Fourth: His coming will be all-encompassing and known to everyone from east to west. That is, He will not appear as He did the first time--to be seen only by His disciples, or only one people, or one nation, or one country, or one state--but He will appear like lightning, which all the nations and all the peoples on earth will see at once.

Fifth: Just as the lightning precedes rain and hail, so shall His Second Coming precede the Dreadful Judgment, which will be, for the righteous and faithful, like the desired rain--and for the unrighteous and unfaithful, like hail.

Let us make preparation, my brethren, for the clouds are gathering and the divine lightning may descend from them at any time.

O Lord, Great and Awesome, give oil to the lamps of our souls so that we may not find ourselves in eternal darkness when Your eternal light appears.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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