Prologue of Ohrid


March 19


Chrysanthus was the only son of Polemius, a distinguished patrician, who moved from Alexandria to Rome. As the son of wealthy parents, Chrysanthus studied all the secular subjects, having the most learned men for instructors. But secular wisdom confused him and left him in uncertainty as to what is truth. As a result of this, he grieved. But God, who plans all and everything, alleviated his grief: a written copy of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles came into the hands of the young Chrysanthus. Having read them, Chrysanthus was enlightened with the truth. He desired a teacher and found one in the person of a certain priest, Carpophorus, who taught and baptized him. This did not please his father, who by all means attempted to dissuade him from believing in Christ. Not succeeding, the wicked father at first tried to corrupt him by placing him alone with an immoral woman. But Chrysanthus was victorious over himself in this, and persevered in chastity. His father then coerced him into marring Daria, a pagan girl. Chrysanthus counseled Daria to embrace the Christian Faith and to live together with him as brother and sister, although pretending to be married. When his father died, Chrysanthus began to confess Christ openly and to live as a Christian, both he and his entire household. During the reign of the Emperor Numerian, he and Daria were cruelly tortured for their faith. Even the torturer Claudius, witnessing the forbearance of these honorable martyrs and the miracles which were manifested during their sufferings, embraced the Christian Faith along with his entire household. For this Claudius was drowned, both of his sons were beheaded, and his wife, after having recited her prayers, died on the gallows. Daria was so steadfast in her martyrdon that the pagans cried out: "Daria is a goddess!" Finally, it was decreed that Chrysanthus and Daria be buried in a deep pit and covered with stones. Later a church was erected on this site. There was a cave near this pit where some Christians assembled for prayer and Communion in memory of the martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria. Hearing of this, the pagans attacked and sealed off this cave, and thus they drove these Christians from this world to a better world, where Christ reigns eternally. These glorious martyrs, Chrysanthus and Daria and the others with them, among whom were the priest Diodorus and the deacon Marianus, suffered for Christ in Rome in 283 or 284 A.D.,


Pancharius was born in Villach, Germany [present day Austria]. He was a high-ranking officer at the court of Diocletian and Maximian. At first he denied Christ, but, being counseled by his mother and sister, he returned to the Christian Faith and died for it in the year 302 A.D.



Saint Chrysanthus counsels Daria:

"O virgin, forsake the lie,

And do not venerate the idols as gods;

Neither seek truth from the world.

The truth is in the One God,

The One Triune God

Who created the celestial armies

Of angels and the heavenly powers;

Who created the whole universe,

With man as its crown.

The only One, immortal and living:

He, out of the earth, creates wrappings

And the clothing of spiritual wealth.

Our soul is spiritual wealth,

Wrapped up in the dust of the body.

The soul should be tenderly nurtured

As a bride, to make ready for Christ.

Forsake, O virgin, the bodily:

It leads to suffering and sorrow.

God does not look at the vessel of the flesh,

But at the flower which grows in it.

O virgin, clothed in death,

Today, tomorrow consumed by death:

Adorn your soul with the flower of virtues,

Sow the flower with faith in the Lord,

Enclose it with hope and love,

Water it with the Life-creating Spirit,

Weed it of the weeds of sins,

Let grow the flower of virtues,

Let grow the flower of piety,

Let grow the flower of charity,

Let grow the flower of repentance,

Let grow the flower of patience,

Let grow the flower of abstinence,

Let grow the flower of obedience.

Your soul is like a hymn of Paradise:

Let it smell like a garden in May,

And may God dwell in it,

For that is what He made it for."

Daria heeded Chrysanthus;

She wedded her soul to Christ

And submitted her body to torture

With Chrysanthus, her spiritual brother.

And God transplanted them to Paradise;

With them He adorned the garden of Paradise.


"The mercy [of God] that raises us up after we have sinned is even greater than the mercy by which He gave us being, when we did not yet exist. Glory, O Lord, to Thine immeasurable mercy!" Thus speaks St. Isaac the Syrian. He means that greater is the mercy that God showed toward us when, through Christ, He saved us from the corruption of sin and death, than when He created us from nothing. Truly, it is so. Even earthly parents show greater mercy to a perverted and fallen son when they embrace him again, forgive him all, make him civilized, cleanse him, heal him, and again make him their heir, than when they gave him birth. When the young Pancharius, surrounded by royal honors, denied Christ, his mother wrote him a letter full of pain and sorrow. "Do not be afraid of men," wrote his mother, "but it is essential to fear God's judgment. You should have confessed your faith in Christ before emperors and lords and not have denied Him. Remember His words: Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33). Being ashamed of himself, the son accepted the advice of his mother, confessed his faith in Christ before the emperor, and died a martyr's death for Christ in order to live with Him eternally. And so the blessed mother of Pancharius brought about a new birth for her son, a spiritual birth more important than the first, physical birth.


Contemplate the Lord Jesus on the Cross:

1. How He suffered in agony on the Cross;

2. How He was given vinegar and gall to drink when He said He was thirsty;

3. How those men beneath the Cross, insensitive in their selfishness, did not care about Him but were vying for His garments.


on the sign of the Son of Man

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven" (Matthew 24:30).

What kind of sign will the sign of the Son of Man be, which had once been revealed briefly? It is the Cross, brighter than the sun, which manifested itself over Jerusalem before the coming of an early personification of the Antichrist, Julian the Apostate. And, in lieu of any homily concerning this miraculous sign, it is worthwhile to quote here the letter of St. Cyril of Jerusalem written to Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great and predecessor of Julian the Apostate. A portion of his letter reads: "For in these very days of the Holy Feast of Pentecost, on the seventh of May, about nine o'clock in the morning, a gigantic cross formed of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha, stretching out as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not seen by just one or two but was most clearly displayed before the whole population of the city. Nor did it, as one might have supposed, pass away quickly like a mirage, but it was visible above the earth for some hours, while it shone with a light greater than the sun's rays. Surely, it would have been eclipsed by them, had it not exhibited to those who saw it a brilliance more powerful than the sun, so that the whole population of the city made a sudden concerted rush into the the church, being seized by fear mingled with joy at the heavenly vision. They poured in, young and old, men and women of every age, even the most secluded virgins, local inhabitants and strangers, Christians and pagans from other lands.  All of them with one soul, as if with one mouth, raised a hymn of praise to the Woinderworker, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Only-begotten Son of God, and indeed learned by experience that pious Christian teaching is to be found not in enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4), and not only preached by man but also attested to from the heavens by God (Hebrews 2:3-4)... We consider it our obligation not to remain silent about this heavenly vision, but to inform Your God-glorified Reverence. Therefore I have hastened to fulfill this intention through this letter."

O my brethren, everything is possible with God: both to reveal the created to man and to create the uncreated. But most importantly for us is that He wants to redeem our souls from sin and death and to give us life eternal. Let us pray to Him for this, day and night.

O Lord Almighty, To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Switch mode views: