Prologue of Ohrid


June 19


Saint Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the son of Joseph and Salome(*) and the brother of James, the brother of the Lord. Joseph the carpenter had four sons with Salome [the daughter of Angeja, the son of Varahina, the brother of Zacharias]: James, Hosea, Simon and Jude. This Jude is sometimes called: "Jude, the brother of James" due to his brother being better-known (St. Luke 6:16 Acts 1:14). St. Jude begins his epistle in this manner: Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James (St. Jude 1:1). Even though he could be called the brother of the Lord as much as James, he did not do this, out of humility and shame, for he did not at first believe in Christ the Lord. When the elderly Joseph, before his death, wanted to leave a portion of his estate to Jesus, as well as to his other children, all of them protested, even Jude. Only James voluntarily set aside a share of his portion and intended it for Jesus. Jude is also called Levi and Thaddeaus. There is another Thaddeaus of the Seventy Apostles (August 21), but this Thaddeaus or Jude was one of the Great Apostles. Jude preached the Gospel throughout Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumedia, Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Armenia. In Edessa, the town of Abgar, he augmented the preaching of the other Thaddeaus. When Jude was preaching in the regions around Ararat, he was captured by pagans, crucified on a cross and killed by being shot with arrows, that he might reign eternally in the Kingdom of Christ.
     (*) Not the Salome of Bethlehem, but another.


Paisius was an Egyptian by birth and language. After a vision in a dream, his mother dedicated him to the service of God. As a young man, Paisius came to the Venerable Pambo, who received him as his disciple and as a fellow disciple of the Venerable John Kolovos [The Dwarf], who later wrote the biography of Paisius. To the joy of his spiritual father, Paisius added labor to labor and ascetic feat to ascetic feat. Many times the Prophet Jeremiah, whom he especially loved and often read, appeared to him. Angels of God often appeared to him and even the Lord Christ Himself. "Peace be with you, my beloved chosen one!" the Lord Christ said to him. By the great grace of God, Paisius possessed the special gift of abstaining from food. Often he did not taste bread for fifteen days, more often for a week, and once, according to the testimony of St. John the Dwarf, he went for seventy days without partaking of anything. He waged a great struggle with the spirits of evil, who appeared to him at times exactly as they are and at times in the form of radiant angels. But the blessed servant of God did not permit himself to be deceived and beguiled. Paisius was famous throughout Egypt as a clairvoyant and miracle-worker. He took up his habitation in eternity in the year 400 A.D. The Venerable Isidore of Pelusium translated the relics of Paisius to his monastery and honorably buried them.


Zosimas was a Roman soldier during the reign of Emperor Trajan. He courageously confessed his faith in Christ the Lord, for which he endured cruel tortures. In the midst of his tortures, he heard a voice from heaven saying: "Be brave Zosimas, and sign yourself with the cross, I am with you!" Angels of God appeared to him in prison. After many tortures, Zosimas was beheaded in the year 116 A.D.


John lived a life of asceticism in the sixth century in the proximity of Jerusalem. Through his asceticism, he achieved a high degree of purity and power, so that even the wild beasts were submissive to him. John reposed in the Lord in extreme old age, in the year 586 A.D.



Paisius the great from the earliest age

Behind him, the doors of all desires he closed.

His spirit to God he lifted, his only desire,

Like all the great saints of old.

Wonderful Paisius, the monks asked:

"Which virtue to God is most pleasing?"

"That which is hidden!" to them, Paisius replied,

"And that which is made known is not pleasing to God."

When Paisius, by his life, had glorified God,

Unto him, the glorified Lord Christ appeared:

"Peace be to you, O Saint. What do you wish? Tell me.

According to your wish, so it will be. Ask and receive!"

When, from the Lord, these words he heard,

Paisius gave himself over to weeping like a child.

"O gentle Lord, a man of great sin am I,

And because of my many sins, greatly downcast am I.

According to Your mercy, forgive me my sins,

All my sins, O God, from my early youth.

And for future times, grant me strength,

That with new sins, my yoke, I will not burden,

That to the end of my life, Your will I may do

And with greater love burn for You."

The Lord, this wise desire, fulfilled for him,

And to His saint, granted a blessing.


The monks once inquired of Paisius the Great: "Father, speak to us a word of salvation. How should we  live according to God?" The elder replied to them: "Go and keep the commandments of God and preserve the traditions of the Fathers." The tradition of the Fathers is the experience of the saints in the spiritual field, the enormous experience of nearly two-thousand years, the experience of many hundreds and thousands of holy men and women. What an extremely rich depository of wisdom! What an immense mass of proofs of every truth of Holy Scripture! All that wealth, all that wisdom, all those proofs, all that experience, the Protestants have rejected! Oh, what inexpressible madness! Oh, the poverty of beggars!


To contemplate the miraculous healing of the two blind men: And behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside, heard that Jesus was passing by, and cried out, saying: "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" (St. Matthew 20:30):

1. How the two blind men cried out to the Lord: Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!;

2. How the merciful Lord touched their eyes and they saw;

3. How I also am blinded by sin; and how even I can see if I cry out to the Lord to touch me.


About revenge and the Avenger

"Say not, I will repay evil! Trust in the Lord and He will help you" (Proverbs 20:22).

Do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. The evil from your neighbor is sufficient. If you return evil for evil to him, you will double the evil in the world. If you do not return evil for evil to him, he can still burn away his evil through repentance. Thus, through patience and forgiveness, you will reduce evil in the world.

Do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil, but wait on the Lord. He sees and remembers, and in your time both you and he who does evil will know that God sees and remembers. You ask yourself: What have I done in not returning evil for evil? You have done the wisest deed that you could do in the given situation, i.e., you have relinquished your struggle to the One stronger than yourself, and the stronger One will fight victoriously for you. If you enter into battle with the evil doer, you might be defeated. But God cannot be defeated. Therefore, relinquish your struggle to the victorious and undefeated One and patiently wait.

Learn from a small child. If someone attacks a child in the presence of his parents, the child does not return the attack by attacking, but rather looks to his parents and cries. The child knows that his parents will protect him. How is it that you do not know what a little child knows? Your heavenly Parent is constantly beside you. Thus, do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil; rather look to your Parent and cry. Only in this way will you guarantee victory for yourself in the conflict with evil men.

O Almighty Lord, Who said: Vengeance is Mine (Romans 12:19 Hebrews 10:30), protect us from the unrighteous ones by Your almighty hand, and restrain us from vengeance. Counsel us by Your Holy Spirit that the greater heroism is to endure rather than to avenge.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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