Prologue of Ohrid


May 26


Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was a follower and companion of the Apostle Paul, by whom he was appointed Bishop of Varna in Thrace. He also preached the Gospel on Crete, where he received St. Dionysius the Areopagite in his home. St. Dionysius testifies that Carpus was a man with an exceptionally pure mind, meekness and innocence; that the Lord Jesus, with His angels, appeared to him in a vision; and that he never began the Divine Liturgy without first receiving a heavenly vision. Enduring many assaults for the Name of Christ, he finally suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews and was slain. His soul took up habitation in the Kingdom of God, there to delight eternally, gazing upon the Lord in glory.


Alphaeus was the father of two apostles from among the Twelve: James the son of Alphaeus, and Matthew the Evangelist. He ended his earthly life peacefully.


At an early age, he withdrew from the world to the Lavra [monastery] of Psychaita in Constantinople. Here he lived a life of asceticism for many years for the sake of the love of Christ. Because of the veneration of icons, he endured banishment in the eighth century.


This martyr of Christ was born in Thessalonica at the time of the great tyranny of the Turks over this city. As a young man he was deceived by the Turks and became a Muslim. In the beginning he did not have any pangs of conscience over such an act, and he went on pilgrimage with other Muslims and became a dervish. But, living as a dervish in Thessalonica, he began to repent bitterly. During his repentance, the thought came to him that he could in no way wash away the horrible sin of apostasy from Christ except through his own blood. Therefore, when he repented and decided in favor of martyrdom, he declared himself a Christian before the Turks. The Turks cast him into prison and subjected him to various tortures, but Alexander only cried out: "I was born a Christian, and I want to die a Christian." Finally the Turks condemned him to death, over which the repentant Alexander greatly rejoiced, recognizing from this condemnation that his sins were forgiven and that God accepted his sacrifice. Alexander was beheaded in Smyrna in the year 1794 A.D., and was glorified in both the heavenly and the earthly Church.


The Holy Apostles, a company small,

With heavenly light, illumined the world.

On the wings of the Spirit they covered the world,

So that they could give these same wings to the world.

To palaces, huts, and mountains they went;

They crossed the seas and on the roads perspired.

For them, each day meant a new battle and new suffering.

Wrestling with the world, they battle without moaning.

Each day was different, but their thoughts were the same:

Their thoughts were on Christ and their vision on Christ.

What sort of day it would be, was all the same--

Either in a palace or a prison to spend the night--

They cared only to uphold Christ in themselves,

And with Him to quickly cover the earth.

Whatever dinner or supper they ate, was all the same;

They cared only that the Faith, throughout the world, would shine.

Honors or blows: to them it was all the same;

They cared only that Christ, over the world, would reign.

Over them, winged angels hovered,

And, as in their own brothers, they rejoiced in them.

Apostles holy, sons of God,

Pillars of the Church on the foundation of Christ--

Even now they labor and build up the Church,

Although as suns, in heaven they shine.


We should not desire the death of a sinner, but his repentance. Nothing so grieves the Lord, Who suffered on the Cross for sinners, than when we pray to Him for the death of a sinner, thereby to remove the sinner from our path. It happened that the Apostle Carpus lost his patience and began to pray that God would send down death upon two sinful men: one a pagan and the other an apostate from the Faith. Then the Lord Christ Himself appeared to Carpus and said: "Strike me; I am prepared to be crucified again for the salvation of mankind." St. Carpus related this event to St. Dionysius the Areopagite, who wrote it down as a lesson to all in the Church that prayers are needed for sinners to be saved and not for them to be destroyed, for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).


To contemplate the Grace of God the Holy Spirit in the Mystery [Sacrament] of Holy Communion:

1. How grace gives life to the bread and wine;

2. How It changes them into the Body and Blood of Christ.


About the Grace of God

"My Grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Lord did not even spare His apostles from temptations. That is why He gave them grace! When Satan himself began to malign the Apostle Paul, Paul prayed to God that Satan would depart from him. To this the Lord replied: My grace is sufficient for you! That is, if you need to withstand Satan, My grace is sufficient for your endurance. If you need to struggle against Satan, again My grace is sufficient for you. If you wish to defeat Satan, again My grace is sufficient for you. Grace is an all-inclusive weapon. Grace is stronger than all opposition, than all assaults, than all the powers of darkness. Grace is invincible and victorious.

Brethren, that is why we should pray to the Lord to give us His All-powerful grace. Grace is God within us. Grace is the Kingdom of God within us. When the grace of God is within us, then day is within our souls. And day signifies light, knowledge and fearlessness.

Brethren, here on earth we cannot implore a greater good from God than the grace of God. If we were to receive the entire universe as a gift, that gift would be less than the grace of God.

O Most-abundant Lord, the inexhaustible source of omnipotent grace, sprinkle our hardened hearts with Your grace, that we might weep before Your most-great goodness and our horrendous ingratitude.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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