Prologue of Ohrid


June 16


Saint Tikhon was a miracle-worker. Following the death of Blessed Mnemonius, Tikhon was unanimously elected bishop and consecrated by the renowned Epiphanius for the Diocese of Amathus. His purity of life and zeal for Orthodoxy recommended him for this office. There were still pagans on Cyprus at that time. With apostolic zeal St. Tikhon undertook to convert the unbelievers into believers, and he had great success in this. After lengthy labor in the vineyard of the Lord, Tikhon took up habitation in blessed eternity in about the year 425 A.D. He is called a miracle-worker because of the many miracles he worked during his life. Tikhon's father was a baker. When his father left him alone in the bakery, he would distribute bread free of charge to the poor. His father once reproached him for this. Tikhon prayed to God and their granary was so filled with wheat that the door could not be opened without difficulty. Again, at another time, he planted withered branches of a vine and the vine became green and in due time brought forth fruit.


Tigrius and Eutropius were among the clergy of St. John Chrysostom. When evil men banished Chrysostom from Constantinople, the cathedral church [Hagia Sophia] was set on fire and the flames that rose from it fell upon the houses of the persecutors of this beacon of the Church. The people saw the finger of God in this, but the enemies of Chrysostom attributed this fire to his adherents. Many of those who were accused suffered bitterly because of it, among them the presbyter Tigrius and the reader Eutropius. Optatius, the mayor of the city, an unbaptized Greek, began with particular malice to pursue Chrysostom's followers. Tigrius, in his youth, had been the slave of a wealthy man and had been castrated by him. Having been freed from slavery, he dedicated himself completely to the service of the Church, and in this service he shone as a bright ray. Optatius subjected this "meek, humble, charitable and hospitable" man to great tortures and then banished him into exile to Mesopotamia, where he died in prison. Eutropius, chaste from birth, pure, blameless and kind, was beaten with oxen whips and rods and finally hanged. When Christians took his body to bury it, sweet angelic singing was heard in the air.



Glorious Chrysostom soared like an eagle.

Beside him were Tigrius and Eutropius the reader.

Like small eaglets, but strong and faithful,

They followed him, kind and innocent.

But impotent malice, foulness serves;

The weak and the evil, the devil unites quickly.

The malicious rose up against the servants of God

And on them poured out a sea of mockery.

Accused of being arsonists, the men of God,

These wonderful martyrs, under torture were placed.

Suffering is intended for heroes,

While it despises those who are weak in virtue!

Tigrius the presbyter, and Eutropius the reader,

By torture the truth of God they confirmed.

The heroes of God were slain

As arsonists--innocent lambs!

After their eagle, the eaglets took flight,

And in Paradise sweet, to rest they came.

Malice from the mud yelps after the eagles;

In mud was it born and in mud it remains.


In enumerating the miracles of the Christian Faith, we must never forget the countless and great miracles of change of heart and disposition in people truly converted to the Faith. How many are the raging criminals that this Faith has tamed! How many bloodthirsty robbers has the Faith transformed into innocent lambs! How many debauched ones has the Faith turned into chaste ones! How many persecuters has the Faith turned into defenders of the Faith! How many selfish, avaricious men has the Faith taught compassion! How many fearful ones has the Faith directed on the road to extreme self-sacrifice! Metropolitan Philaret writes thus about Russian Prince Vladimir: "A lover of all pleasures who could not have loved them more, the pagan Vladimir became in Christianity a model of chaste married life. He dismissed all his wives and concubines and lived with one wife, the devout Anna. An evil, vindictive and bloodthirsty fratricide in paganism, Vladimir was in Christianity the most compassionate friend of the poor. The poor always had access to him, and he distributed both money and food with a generous hand." More than that: "The sick are unable to come to my palace," he said, and he commanded that meat, fish, bread, yeast and honey be carted about the streets. The Gospel words Blessed are the merciful (St. Matthew 5:7) penetrated into the depth of his heart and became his rule of life.


To contemplate the miraculous healing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan: And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts and cried out unto Him saying: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil" (St. Matthew 15:22):

1. How the woman of Canaan persistently and repeatedly implored the Lord to save her daughter from the devil who tormented her;

2. How the Lord praised the faith of the woman and healed her daughter;

3. How the Lord can also free my soul from the devil, who has fallen into alienation from God, if only I persistently pray to Him with faith.


About how death and life depend on the tongue

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).

Did not our Lord Himself confirm this when He said that men will give an answer for every idle word before the Dread Judgment? Didn't He explicitly say: But I tell you, that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words, you shall be justified and by your words, you shall be condemned (St. Matthew 12: 36-37). Whoever is justified will receive life. Whoever is condemned will receive death. Therefore, do you see how life and death are in the power of the tongue? The Apostle James says: If anyone does not offend in word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by a bridle the whole body (St. James 3:2).

The unexplored mystery of words is truly great, and the influence of words cannot be measured or estimated. Today the words of men can be carried by artificial instruments from one end of our planet to the other. A word spoken by a tongue in America can be heard by an ear in Europe. Is not this an image of the All-hearing God? O my brethren, we cannot whisper anything to the earth that the heavens will not hear. Our every word comes before the assembly of the angels of God. Hades receives our every evil word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal death, and Paradise receives every good word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal life. Truly the Old Testament sage speaks wisely and reminds us opportunely with the words: Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

O Lord our Savior, eternal Word of God, help us to bridle our tongues so that they do not speak to our destruction. Help us to speak with the tongue only that which is according to Your holy will and that which is for our eternal salvation in immortal life.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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