Prologue of Ohrid


May 6


Job was a descendant of Esau the grandson of Abraham and lived in Arabia about 2,000 years before Christ. His father's name was Zareth, and his mother's name was Bosora. However, his full name was Jobab. Job was an honorable, God-fearing man and very wealthy. In the seventy-ninth year of his life, God permitted difficult temptations to befall him through Satan as it is written in detail in the Book of Job. In one day, Job lost all his enormous estates, his sons and his daughters. After that, a terrible disease befell him, and his entire body was covered with sores from head to foot. He lay on the rubbish heap outside the town and with a potsherd scrapped away the pus from his wounds. Job did not murmur against God, but patiently endured all his sufferings to the end. That is why God restored his health, gave him greater riches than before, and bestowed upon him seven sons and three daughters, as many as he previously had. Job lived for a total of two-hundred forty-eight years, always glorifying and praising God. Job is considered to be the model of patient endurance of every suffering that God sends upon us, and a type of the suffering of the Lord Jesus.


Barbarus was a soldier during the reign of Julian the Apostate. When the emperor's commander Bacchus led the Roman army against the Franks, Barbarus, who was secretly a Christian, was serving in the army. In battle there appeared a certain hero on the side of the Franks, similar to Goliath of old, and he challenged the Romans to send one of their men to come out to do battle. Commander Bacchus advised Barbarus to go. Barbarus prayed in his heart to the Living Lord, went out and defeated that giant. As a result, the Frankish army became confused and fled. Then the commander prepared a great celebration and ordered that sacrifices be offered to the idols. But during the sacrificial offerings, the commander learned that Barbarus was keeping himself apart. When he was asked why, Barbarus declared that he was a Christian. The commander informed the emperor, and the emperor ordered that Barbarus be subjected to the most severe tortures. But Barbarus endured all with rare courage and composure. During his tortures many miracles were manifested, and many soldiers, witnessing this, accepted the Faith of Christ. Among them was the Commander Bacchus along with Callimachus and Dionysius. All three were beheaded for the Name of Christ, and after them Barbarus was also beheaded in the year 362 A.D. Their souls took up their habitation in the Kingdom of Christ the Immortal King.


After having committed many crimes, Barbarus repented and at first condemned himself to crawl on all fours for three years and to eat with dogs. He then lived twelve years in the forest without clothes, without a roof and without food except grass and leaves. Angels revealed to him that his sins were forgiven. Some merchants, traveling through the forest, saw Barbarus from afar, thought that he was an animal and not a man, aimed their arrows at him, and pierced him. Dying, Barbarus begged them to inform the nearest priest about him. The priest arrived and buried him honorably. From his body flowed healing myrrh (oil), which cured various diseases and pains of men.



Tell me, brother, what you are able to endure,

And how much of a man you are, I will tell you.

Job the righteous, rich and all glorious,

By Satan, on a dunghill was thrown,

And with festering and sores he was covered:

To both dogs and men, a horrifying sight!

Whatever he had, in a day perished,

Except for faith and patience.

But with the weapons of faith and patience

Job overcame the terrible Satan.

The uneven struggle, God looked upon,

And to the righteous one, victory He imparted.

With victory He imparted all other riches,

And put the envious devil to shame.


Abba Isaiah said of himself: "I see myself resembling a horse wandering around without a rider. Whoever finds him, sits on him and rides him to his content. When one rider dismounts the horse, another saddles him and does the same, and so with the third and so on." This great ascetic, about whom everyone said with amazement that he had attained perfection, spoke this of himself either out of humility or from remembrance of his time of imperfection. The main thing is that these words are true in relation to every Christian who walks spiritually unbridled and unrestrained. Just as soon as one passion dismounts, another mounts him. Just as soon as one wearies him and leaves him in despair, another mounts him with the deluded hope that it will make him happy. Such a man does not have a rider who would direct him to the true path without digressing to the left or to the right. The only friendly rider that should be greeted with a welcome is the holy and powerful Christian spirit.


To contemplate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus:

1. How He first resurrected bodily and then ascended bodily;

2. How the souls of righteous men after death first ascend into heaven while the body awaits the general resurrection, general transfiguration and general ascension.


About the power that God gave to the words of the prophets

"Behold, I made My words in your mouth a fire. And this people is the wood that it shall devour!" (Jeremiah 5:14).

You see, brethren, that the effect of the word of God is different according to different people. The word of God is like fire in which the righteous one rejoices as one frozen in the cold of this world; and the word of God is like fire that burns the unrighteous one whom this material world has overly warmed. The experienced spiritual fathers have left us proof that only the Name of Jesus--bringing power, joy and refreshment to the faithful--consumes evil spirits as a living fire. That is the way with every word of God. For some it creates comfort, for others irritation; for some it quiets anger, for others it increases anger; for some it causes deep respect, and for others scorn. To the healthy it is honey; to the unhealthy it is the honey of wormwood.

But why should the people be as wood that will be consumed? Are the people to be blamed if the godless elders and false prophets lead them astray?

The people are not to blame to as great a degree as their elders and false prophets, but nevertheless they are to blame to a certain extent. For God also gave the people to know the right path through conscience and through the preaching of God's word. Thus, the people should not have blindly followed their blind leaders when they led them on false paths and distance them from God and God's law. Brethren, God is just and He knows the measure of everyone's faults, and He will not permit the ignorant and the least to suffer as much as the learned and the great.

O All-seeing God, save us that we be neither blind leaders nor blind followers. Strengthen our hearts that, as leaders and as followers, we will always be Your servants and only Your servants.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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