Prologue of Ohrid


May 18


Theodotus was an innkeeper in Ancyra during the reign of Diocletian. Although married, he lived according to the word of the Apostle: Let those having wives act as not having them (1 Corinthians 7:29). He maintained the inn in order to help Christians without attracting suspicion. His inn was a shelter for the persecuted faithful. Theodotus secretly sent help to those Christians who fled to the mountains and secretly gathered the bodies of those who died, and buried them. At that time, seven maidens were brought to trial, tortured for Christ, ridiculed and finally drowned in a lake. One of them, St. Thecusa, appeared in a dream to Theodotus and told to him to remove their bodies from the lake and bury them. In the darkness of night, Theodotus, with a companion, went out to fulfill the wish of the martyr. Led by an angel of God, he succeeded in locating all seven bodies and burying them. But this companion betrayed Theodotus to the judge, and the judge subjected him to cruel tortures. Theodotus endured all the sufferings as though he were in someone else's body, keeping his whole mind immersed in the Lord. After the torturer transformed his entire body into wounds and knocked out his teeth with a stone, he ordered the martyr to be beheaded. When he was led to the scaffold, many Christians wept for him, but St. Theodotus said to them: "Brethren, do not weep for me, but glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, Who helped me to finish my course and overcome my enemy." Having said this, he place his head on the block under the sword and was beheaded in the year 303 A.D. A priest honorably buried this martyr's body on a hill outside the town. Later a church dedicated to St. Theodotus was built on this spot.


Peter, a handsome young man; Dionysius, a distinguished man; Andrew and Paul, soldiers; and Christina, a sixteen year old virgin: they all courageously confessed Christ the Lord and endured sufferings and death for His Name. Nicomachus, who along with them was tortured, denied Christ in the middle of his tortures and instantly lost his mind. As a madman, he bit his body and vomited foam from his mouth until he died. This occurred in the year 250 A.D.


All three were Athenians. They suffered for the Faith during the reign of Decius. For the Name of Christ, they were burned in a fiery furnace.


Near Ancyra, on a hill green,

A group of persecuted Christians

With a blessing, their meal ate.

What the sun is among the shining stars,

Among this group, so Theodotus was;

And next to him sat the presbyter Fronto.

Theodotus, to Fronto, said:

"For a church, this spot is suitable,

Over the relics of martyrs honorable!"

Fronto, to Theodotus, replied:

"Endeavor, most wonderful man,

Relics of the martyrs, to obtain for us,

And a church, we will easily build

This place, with which to adorn."

Theodotus the all-wonderful smiled.

From his right hand, a ring he removed,

And to the honorable Fronto gave it,

And these words, to him he spoke:

"My word of honor I give you and the ring as a pledge:

Relics will I soon procure

And on this spot place them!"

This, Theodotus, prophesying said:

His own suffering, he was prophesying

And for Christ, his martyrdom.

As he said, so it happened.

On that spot, his relics were placed,

And over them a church was built,

Of an immortal victory, as a wonderful memory,

Near Ancyra, on a hill green.


To conceal one's virtues and ascetic labors has been the custom of ascetics, both female and male, not only in the earliest times of Christianity but throughout all ages to the present time. Eudocia, wife of the glorious Prince Dimitri of Donskoy, the liberator of Russia from the Tartars, was left a comparatively young widow in the year 1389 A.D. Imbued with devotion, this princess built many churches, distributed alms, and secretly weakened her body by fasting and long vigils. She wore an iron chain around her body. Meanwhile, she always appeared happy before the public, clothed in opulence and adorned with pearls. The public said many things about her, and they began to spread rumors that she was leading an immoral life. Her sons heard about this and, insulted and embittered, openly informed their mother what was being said about her. Their mother opened her luxurious robe and her sons, with great horror, saw her body, completely withered, dried up and bound with iron chains.


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

1. How the Holy Spirit provided them comfort in their sufferings;

2. How occasionally, according to His will, He made their bodies immune to the effects offire.


About the testimony of the Spirit of God

"The Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, He will testify to Me" (St John 15:26).

God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit into the world to testify of Him until the end of time. He will testify to Me. How will God the Spirit testify of God the Son? God the Spirit will testify in many ways:

By attracting the souls of men to Christ's Church;

By revealing to them the meaning of the Holy Scriptures;

By leading their minds to the commandments of Christ;

By giving warmth, freshness, power and gentleness to the words of Christ;

By converting repentant sinners to righteousness;

By fulfilling all the promises and prophecies of Christ to men, to nations, and to God's Church;

By strengthening the Church of Christ and holding it firm against all the tempests of time and all the evils of Hades and men throughout the ages,

The Spirit Who works in these and many other similar ways is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, gracious, life-creating and all-powerful.

Not one of Christ's words goes against the Spirit of God, nor does the Spirit of God go against a single word of Christ. That is why, when the Spirit of God is pleased to enter into the heart of man, such a man is enlivened and becomes a true witness to all that Christ said and did. Then, that man believes joyfully and unwaveringly. For how could he not believe the greatest and the most enduring Eyewitness of and Participator in all the words, miracles and works of Christ?

Thus, brethren, let us pray before all and above all, that this Eyewitness and Participator, the Holy and All-powerful Spirit, will settle in our hearts, so that our faith may become alive, unwavering and joyous. O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, come and abide in us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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