Prologue of Ohrid


March 17


Varied are the paths upon which God leads those who desire to please Him and 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, after the setting of the sun. He had an only son, Alexis, who was compelled to marry when he became an adult. But, on the night of the wedding, Alexis left not only his wife but also the home of his father. He boarded a boat and arrived at the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia, where there was the wondrous image of our Lord, sent there by our Lord Himself to King Abgar. Having venerated this image, Alexis clothed himself in the garb of a beggar. As such, he lived in the city for seventeen years, continually praying to God in the vestibule of the Church of the Theotokos. When it became known that he was a holy man, he became frightened of the praise of men, departed Edessa, boarded a boat, and traveled to Laodicea. According to God's providence, the boat was carried off-course and sailed all the way to Rome. Considering this to be the hand of God, Alexis decided to go to the house of his father and there, 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 everything to the end. When his end approached, he wrote a letter, clenched it in his hand, and then lay down and died, on March 17, 411 A.D. At the same time there was a revelation in the Church of the Twelve Apostles. 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 they learned that the beggar was that "Man of God." When they entered his hut, they found Alexis dead, but his face shown like the sun. From the letter his parents learned that he was their son Alexis. And his bride, who for thirty-four years had lived without him, learned that he was her husband. All were overcome with immense grief and pain. Later they were comforted, 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 entombed in a coffin of marble and jasper. His head is preserved in the Church of St. Laurus in the Peloponnese.


Marinus was a soldier. Not only did he refuse 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, Asterius, clothed in a priceless white garment, witnessed the suffering of St. Marinus. Asterius was so overcome with zeal for the Faith of Christ, Who gives to His followers so much courage, that he placed the martyred body on his shoulders, bore it away and buried it with honor. Upon seeing this, the pagans also murdered him for being a Christian.



Alexis abandoned all that the world deems glorious,

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

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

After that, he hurriedly left his parents' opulence.

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

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

Like a lighted candle, he raised his mind to God,

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

His sorrowful mother, inconsolable Aglaida,

Together with his aged father Euphemianus sorrowed and sobbed;

And the bride, at one time young, faded in her grief.

One day the servants berated the beggar.

No one suspected who this withered beggar was:

He was the heir of that household!

But about this he had remained silent.

He had disowned his inheritance while in early bloom,

To be a fellow heir in the heavenly world.

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

Whoever glorifies God by his life, God glorifies him.

Alexis glorified God, that is why he became glorious.

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. We are given this brief earthly life as a school and as an examination, to be examined 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 as an unknown one, scorned in the house of his parents. He did this all for the sake of the love of God. And the merciful God answered love with love: for these thirty-four years of suffering He gave Alexis eternal life and joy among His angels in heaven, and glory on earth.


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.


on the Second Coming of Christ

"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:27).

The Second Coming 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 His appearance will resemble. He says it will be like 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: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour (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 its radiance when He shines forth. The sinner's light and brightness are darkened; 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 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 (Mark 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 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 lightning precedes rain and hail, so shall His Second Coming precede the Dread 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 Thine eternal light appears.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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