Prologue of Ohrid


February 1


Tryphon was born of poor parents in the village of Lampsacus in Phrygia. In his childhood he tended geese. From his childhood he also had great grace from God, such that he was able to cure illnesses that afflicted people and livestock and to expel evil spirits. The Roman Empire at that time was ruled by the Emperor Gordian. The emperor's daughter Gordiana went insane, and this caused the emperor great sorrow. All the physicians were unable to help Gordiana. An evil spirit spoke through Gordiana and said that no one except Tryphon could cast him out. After many who were named Tryphon in the empire were summoned, by divine providence young Tryphon was also summoned. He was brought to Rome, and he healed the emperor's daughter. The emperor lavished upon him many gifts, all of which Tryphon distributed to the poor upon his return. In his village this holy youth continued to tend geese and to pray to God. When Decius, the persecutor of Christians, was crowned Emperor, St. Tryphon was tortured and cruelly tormented for Christ. He endured all tortures with great joy, saying: "Oh, if only I could be made worthy to die by fire and torture for the name of the Lord and God, Jesus Christ!" The tortures did him no harm, and finally the tormentors sentenced him to be beheaded. Before his death Tryphon prayed to God, and he gave up his soul to his Creator, in the year 250 A.D.


As Christians, they were all cast into prison during the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus. St. Perpetua, who was of noble birth, encouraged all the other prisoners not to be afraid to suffer for Christ. In a dream, Perpetua saw a ladder--imbedded with sharp knives, swords, spears, fishhooks, nails and other death-bearing instruments--extending from heaven to earth. At the bottom of the ladder there lay a loathsome serpent. She saw how Satyrus run up first to the top of the ladder without injury, and then cry out to her: "Perpetua, I am waiting for you. Come, but be careful of the serpent!" Encouraged by this, Perpetua stood on the head of the serpent as on the first rung of the ladder and, step by step, quickly raced to the top. When she reached the top, Perpetua entered heaven, saw the most beautiful mansions of heaven and rejoiced greatly. When she related her dream, all the prisoners interpreted it to mean that imminent death faced them, the first of them being Satyrus. This shortly came true. Satyrus was slain first, then Perpetua, and then all the others one by one. As lambs slain for Christ the Lamb of God, they received from Christ an eternal reward in the Kingdom of Light. They all suffered for Christ between the years 202 and 203 A.D.


At age seven Peter left the home of his parents for the sake of Christ and retreated into the wilderness. By fasting and prayer, Peter attained such a state of perfection that he worked many miracles by the Spirit of God. In his ninety-ninth year he took up his habitation in the Eternal Kingdom of Christ. This was in about the year 429 A.D.



A golden-branched tree grew
with three golden branches,

On it there were white birds,
as white as snow.

The white birds fell
far down,

But the tall, glowing,
golden tree remained.

In the depths were death and darkness:
dark and becoming darker,

Malice and hunger; sorrow and grief;
insanity, delirium.

All the birds were immersed
in the blackness of pitch,

Never again able
to soar to the heights.

The golden tree took pity
on the unfortunate birds,

And a secret conversation began
among the branches.

Then one branch bent
over the terrible abyss,

And raised the nest of the birds
to the top of the mountain.

Thus, Christ the golden branch
bent toward the earth

And raised fallen man
to the glory of the Trinity.

And now the golden tree grows
with three golden branches,

On it there are white birds,
as white as snow.


The prayer of Saint Tryphon before his death: "O Lord, God of gods and King of kings, the Most-holy of all holies, I thank Thee that Thou hast made me worthy to complete my ascetic labors without faltering. And now I pray to Thee, that the hand of the invisible demon may not touch me; that the demon not drag me into the abyss of destruction. Rather, let Thy holy angels lead me into Thy beautiful dwelling place and make me an heir of Thy desired Kingdom. Receive my soul and hearken to the prayer of all those who will offer sacrifices to Thee in my remembrance. Gaze upon them from Thy holy dwelling place and grant them abundant and incorruptible gifts. For Thou art the only good and merciful Gift-giver unto the ages of ages. Amen."

Since Tryphon had suffered in Nicaea, and since many miracles had occurred over his lifeless body, the citizens of Nicaea wanted to bury Tryphon in their cemetery. But the saint appeared in a vision and expressed his desire to be translated to his village of Lampsacus--where he had once tended geese--and to be buried there.


Contemplate the Lord Jesus as the fresh and healthy air of the soul:

1. As the fresh and healthy air by which the soul breathes and is saved from corruption;

2. As the fresh and healthy air which the prophets, apostles and saints inhaled and were healthy in soul;

3. As the fresh and healthy air of my soul which drives out the stench of sin in me and makes me fresh and healthy in soul.


on the Word of God which purifies as a fire

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).

By His Word the Lord created the world; by His Word He renewed the world; by His Word He forgave sins; by His Word He healed diseases; by His Word He drove out evil spirits; by His Word He calmed the storms and the winds. By His holy Word He cleanses men even now, so that they, having been cleansed, may bring forth abundant fruit. Vines, when they are pruned and cleansed, are strong. The Word of the Lord is powerful, for it comes forth from the Almighty. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made (Psalm 33:6). The Word of the Lord is as bright as the sun; but, when necessary, it is as fiery as the sun and burns up everything that goes against the Lord. The Word of the Lord is as sweet as honey; but, when necessary, it is as bitter as medicine. The Word of the Lord is as welcome as a friend who knocks at the door when he is most needed; but, when necessary, the Word of the Lord is as a judge who finds us in sin and who judges us without allowing any excuse. The Word of the Lord is true, just, wise and merciful, which is why it is so all-powerful. No one and nothing, either in heaven or on earth, is able to oppose it. The human word is also powerful when it is true, just, wise and merciful. But just as illness is able to exhaust and so weaken a giant that he becomes more powerless than a child, so also falsehoods, injustice, insanity and lack of mercy so weaken the word of a man that it becomes nothing: a fox chattering against the moon. He who spares words forges them of pure silver. But whoever relentlessly squanders them mixes earth with the silver.

Thy word, O Lord, is life and truth. Cleanse us by Thine almighty Word, as Thou didst cleanse Thine apostles, that we may bear much fruit and be made worthy of Thy Kingdom.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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