Prologue of Ohrid


May 11


Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers from Thessalonica, of distinguished and wealthy parents, Leo and Maria. The elder brother Methodius spent ten years as an officer among the Macedonian Slavs and thus learned the Slavic language. After that, Methodius withdrew to Mount Olympus and dedicated himself to the monastic life of asceticism. It was here that Cyril (Constantine) later joined him. When the Khazarite king, Kagan, requested preachers of the Faith of Christ from Emperor Michael III, these two brothers were found and sent among the Khazars by command of the emperor. Converting King Kagan of the Faith of Christ, they baptized him along with a great number of his chief assistants and even a greater number of the people. After a period of time, they returned to Constantinople, where they compiled the Slavonic alphabet consisting of thirty-eight letters. They then proceeded to translate ecclesiastical books from Greek into Slavonic. At the request of Prince Rastislav, they traveled to Moravia, where they spread and established the sacred Faith and made more copies of the books, distributing them to the priests to teach the youth. At the request of the pope, Cyril traveled to Rome. There he became ill and died on February 14, 867 A.D. Then Methodius returned to Moravia and labored to strengthen the Faith of Christ among the Slavs until his death. Following his death (he died in the Lord on April 6, 885 A.D.) his disciples, THE FIVE FOLLOWERS, with St. Clement, the bishop at their head, crossed the Danube River and traveled south into Macedonia. There, from Ohrid, they continued their labor among the Slavs, which Cyril and Methodius had begun in the north.


Mocius was Roman by birth and a presbyter in Amphipolis, a town in Macedonia. He suffered during the reign of Diocletian. By prayer he destroyed the statue of the god Dionysius. This embittered certain pagans against him, but others he converted to the Faith. He was beheaded for Christ in the year 295 A.D.


This great hierarch was a Serb by birth. He lived a life of asceticism on the Holy Mt. Athos and was abbot of Hilendar Monastery. Following the death of Sava III, he was elected as the Archbishop of "all the Serbian and coastal lands" in the year 1317 A.D. Nicodemus crowned King Milutin in the year 1321 A.D. He translated the Jerusalem Typikon into Serbian. [The Typikon is a book containing the rubrics (directions) for the celebration of the Divine Mysteries and other offices of the Orthodox Church.] In the introduction of this book, Nicodemus writes: "Almighty God, Who knows our weaknesses, will give us spiritual strength, but only if we first display effort." He sincerely loved the ascetical life and labored to strengthen it throughout the Serbian land. He labored relentlessly to uproot the Bogomil heresy and to strengthen the Orthodox Faith. He died in the Lord in the year 1325 A.D. His miracle-working relics repose in the monastery in Peć.


The Muslim leaders asked Cyril:

"How can there be three persons in God?

If God is one, from where are there three persons?

Our God is one, yours is three!"

Cyril replied: "It is not that way, it is not,

But it is as the shining sun which warms at noon,

Which has its own light, warmth, and circle.

But, a pale picture of the Divine Triad, that is,

Three Divine Persons, but One in Essence.

Through Christ, this truth is revealed.

Never will mortal man comprehend this;

God Himself revealed this; this the Church teaches."


In the encampment of the Saracens they asked St. Cyril: "How can Christians wage war and at the same time keep the commandment of Christ to pray to God for their enemies?" To this, St. Cyril replied: "If two commandments were written in one law and given to men for fulfilling, which man will be a better follower of the law: the one who fulfilled one commandment or the one who fulfilled both?" To that, the Saracens replied: "Undoubtedly, he who fulfills both commandments." St. Cyril continued: "Christ our God commands us to pray to God for those who persecute us and even to do good to them, but He also said to us: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (St. John 15:13). That is why we bear the insults that our enemies cast at us individually and why we pray to God for them. However, as a society, we defend one another and lay down our lives, that you would not somehow enslave our brethren, would not enslave their souls with their bodies, and would not destroy them in both body and soul.


To contemplate the action of God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:

1. How He makes the simple wise;

2. How He makes the inarticulate eloquent.


About the irresistible will of God

"I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it" (Jeremiah 20:9).

If anyone still doubts that God spoke through the prophets, let him read this confession of the great prophet Jeremiah, and let him doubt no more. The prophet confesses that he had decided not to speak anymore in the name of the Lord. Why? Because so few paid attention to his word. If anyone heeded his word, the prophet endured reproach and derision daily (Jeremiah 20:8). But when he decided to remain silent, did he in fact remain silent? No, he could not: I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it! He was pressed by the irresistible power of the Spirit of God to speak, and he had to speak. It is, therefore, not the affair of the prophet whether he is going to speak or not: that is the affair of the All-powerful Spirit of God. The prophet is merely the chosen vessel of the All-powerful Spirit of God. All of Holy Scripture is written thus: not according to the will of man but according to the will of God, and not according to the mind of man but according to the mind of God.

How is the word of God felt when it enters the prophet from the Spirit of God? This the great Jeremiah explains from his personal experience: It becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. That is, it is an inspiration from the All-powerful Spirit of God. Under such irresistible internal pressure--like the pressure of fire imprisoned in my bones--holy men of God did their writing. And many of them cried out: I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it anymore. Who will oppose the Spirit of God without punishment and destruction? Who will withstand Him when He wants to say or do something?

O my brethren, the action of God the Holy Spirit is irresistible!

O All-powerful Spirit of God, direct us irresistibly on the path of salvation.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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