Prologue of Ohrid


February 6


Bucolus was a disciple of St. John the Theologian, who consecrated him bishop of Smyrna. In Smyrna, there were few that were baptized. In the darkness of paganism, St. Bucolus shown as a bright candle. He distinguished himself with every virtue, especially meekness and humility. Before his death, Bucolus consecrated the glorious Polycarp as his successor to the espicopacy. He died peacefully and took up habitation with the Lord.


Fausta was martyred for Christ during the reign of Emperor Maximian (305 - 311 A.D.). By her heroism, Fausta astonished her persecutors and succeeded to convert them to Christianity: the eighty-year old pagan priest Evilasis and Maximus, the Eparch. When the judge threatened Fausta with more severe tortures, she asked him to make her an icon with the depictions of all those tortures with which he threatened her. When the icon was completed, it was shown to her and St. Fausta said: "As this icon does not feel any pain, so my body does not feel any pain from your punishments, for my soul is secure in the Lord." The judge then threw her into a vat of boiling hot water where this thirteen-year-old girl died with prayer on her lips and her soul entered Paradise.


Dorothea was a prominent and beautiful maiden from Caesarea in Cappadocia. Sapricius, the administrator of the province, turned Dorothea over to the two pagan sisters Christina and Kallista in order to dissuade her from Christ. But, the opposite occurred; Dorothea succeeded to convert both sisters to the Faith of Christ. Enraged, Sapricius ordered the two sisters bound back to back and threw them into a vat of pitch and set it on fire. He then sentenced Dorothea to death. She joyfully heard the sentence and cried out: "I give thanks to You, O Soul-loving Christ, that You are leading me into Your All-holy mansions!" Theophilus, a certain nobleman who was present, laughed at these words and cried out to Dorothea: "Listen, O bride of Christ, send me apples and flowers from the pomegranate tree from the Paradise of your Bridegroom." "Indeed, I will do that," replied the martyr. When Dorothea was at the place of execution, all at once a beautiful young man appeared with three beautiful apples and three red flowers from the pomegranate. That was an angel of God and it was winter. Dorothea asked the angel to bring them to Theophilus and to tell him: "Behold, this is what you desired!" When Theophilus received the message and saw the gift, he was thoroughly frightened. For him, everything turned upside down and he, a confirmed pagan, became a Christian. He was tortured and slain for Christ and his soul entered the Paradise of the Lord Jesus soon after St. Dorothea.


Photius was a great beacon of the Church. He was the emperor's relative and a grandson of the glorious Patriarch Tarasius. He was a vigorous protector of the Church from the authority-loving pope and other Roman distortions of the Faith. In six days he went through all the ranks from a layman to patriarch. He was consecrated patriarch on Christmas day, 857 A.D. and died in the Lord in the year 891 A.D.


Both Barsanuphius and John were great ascetics, discerners and miracle-workers from Gaza. They left a famous work entitled the "Book of Answers" dealing with many questions about the spiritual life. They lived in the sixth century.


All three were crucified for Christ and then pierced and slain with a lance.




Saints Martha and Mary, sisters by birth,

Lycarion their small brother, of little strength;

The aged mother; sweet soul, teaches them very well:

"Love Christ my children, for He suffered for us."

From out of there the commander comes; awesome and powerful,

Ill-tempered man; he slays those faithful to Christ.

Of their home, the sisters opened the door,

Of the ill-tempered man, they are not afraid at all.

"Harken O commander of the Emperor, we are Christians,

Like you, we are not; whom the demon sold to the devil."

On a cross, the ill-tempered commander raised them,

At that moment, the young Lycarion, drew near:

"And I, and I, a Christian am; crucify me also!"

The pains on the Cross are unbearable, the mother horrified,

From leg to leg, to her children, her kisses she imparts;

With a tormented voice from the Cross; the daughters' console her:

"For us, dearest mother, with sorrow, do not be broken up,

Love for Christ, you taught us,

For temporary pains, sweet pleasure will be in Paradise,

In the radiance of Paradise, we will await you mother.

Lycarion, your glorious son and your daughters two

O rejoice in such a fruit of your womb!"

As a fiery pillar, the mother's countenance lighted up:

"My dear children, blessed be you; O blessed be me!"


St. Barsanuphius, who for fifty years lived secluded in a cell and did not allow himself to be seen by any living person, attained exceptional purity and perceptiveness through his godly-thoughts and prayer. Here are a few thoughts from his "Book of Answers." "Every thought which is not preceded by the silence of humility does not proceed from God. All that is from the devil occurs with confusion and disturbance." "When you pray and God delays to fulfill your request, He does this for your benefit in order to teach you forbearance." "Visible thieves are servants of invisible thieves; imaginary thoughts." "The Lord Jesus Christ endured all things and finally ascended on the Cross, which means the deadening of the body and passion and a holy and perfect rest." "Our Lord wants you to honor every man more than yourself." When they asked the elder whether they should hire a defender [advocate] regarding a dispute between the monastery and certain men, the elder replied: "If you would purchase the defense of men, then God will not defend you."


To contemplate the Lord Jesus as a Laborer:

1. As a physical Laborer throughout many long years;

2. As a spiritual Laborer, who constantly taught man, comforted man and healed man, giving the new law to the world;

3. As a tireless Laborer who left the commandment: Walk while ye have the light (John 12:35).


About the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son

"I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me" (St. John 7:29).

No one has ever dared say that they know God. Many have only said that "they believe in God." Only our Lord Jesus Christ spoke the words: I know Him. And immediately He explained from where He knows Him, saying: because I am from Him, and He sent Me. The first reason: I am from Him, testifies to the eternal being of the Son; and the second reason: And He sent Me, testifies to the manifestation of the Son in time in the physical world as an emissary of the Holy Trinity.

For us, who are Christ-believing, it is not given to know the Father as His Only-begotten Son knows Him but to us it is given and it is commanded that we believe. Our merit is in believing and not in knowing. If all of us knew God by seeing, no one would have any merit. For what kind of merit is there in seeing and recognizing? However, not to see and believe, in this is merit; in this is virtue; in this is our salvation. We are not worthy to see God and by seeing to know, for we are weakened by sin and alienated from God. But, the mercy of God gave us faith in this life which is able to bring us closer to God and to lead us into the eternal kingdom of seeing and knowing in that life. O, my brethren, let us believe in Christ the Lord for He knows. He does not speak by faith but by knowing.

O Merciful Lord, confirm the faith in us. Extend the hem of Your garment that we may hold on to it to the end of our lives.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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