Prologue of Ohrid


August 3


Venerable Isaac is also celebrated separately, on May 30. St. Dalmatus was once an officer during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, and the emperor held in great esteem. When the spirit awakened in him, he despised all earthly things. He resigned his rank, taking his only son Faustus to St. Isaac's community on the outskirts of Constantinople, where they both were tonsured as monks. Elder Isaac rejoiced that Dalmatus was completely devoted to a God-pleasing life. When Isaac approached the hour of death, he appointed Dalmatus as abbot in his place. Later, this community was named after him. Dalmatus devoted himself to fasting, and fasted for forty days at times, conquering the invisible demonic powers. He participated in the Third Ecumenical Council [Ephesus, 431 A.D.] and fought against the Nestorian heresy. Pleasing God, he died peacefully in the fifth century. His son Faustus supported his father in everything, and, after a God-pleasing life, also died peacefully in this Dalmatus community.


Cosmas was a monk from the Lavra of Pharan. He was well versed in Holy Scripture. So much did he value the words of St. Athanasius the Great that he said to his disciples: "If you have no paper when you hear something quoted from the writings of St. Athanasius, write it down on your handkerchief." In his old age, Cosmas went to Antioch, to the see of Patriarch Gregory (+584 A.D.), and there ended his life. The patriarch ordered that the body of Cosmas be buried in the monastery of the partiarchate. One man in particular frequently came to the grave of Cosmas, honoring the saint and praying to God there. Asked why he did this, he revealed that he had been paralyzed for twelve years, and that St. Cosmas had healed him.


Anthony was born in Rome in 1086 A.D. of devout and wealthy parents. By then, the Roman Church had separated from the Eastern Church, and all who remained faithful to the Eastern Church were being persecuted by the Roman clergy. Anthony was among the persecuted. He distributed all of his inherited wealth and was tonsured a monk. Anthony lived am ascetic life, and among his labors, he stood on a rock in the sea for fourteen months. As he persisted, the rock separated from its base and floated to Novgorod, miraculously. In Novgorod, Archbishop Nicetas received Anthony kindly, and helped him build a church to the Holy Birth-giver of God, which would become a monastery. Anthony lived a long time as the abbot of this monastery, and manifested the great power of God's grace through many miracles. He died peacefully in the year 1146 A.D., and took up his abode in the mansions of the Lord.


Salome was the mother of the Apostles James and John, the wife of Zebedee, and the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. She served the Lord during His earthly life, and was deemed worthy to be among the first to proclaim His Resurrection.



A man alone on a  lifeless rock:

Surrounded by the foaming, turbulent sea!

Anthony, in God, immersed,

His mind, to God, ceaselessly raised,

And the prayers of his heart ascended.

The rock floated and Anthony remained still,

Thinking of nothing but God, fearing no evil.

Evil itself fears a true hero,

And even more, a true monk.

Righteous men, providence guides,

And, through the saints, God glorifies Himself.

Through Anthony, God is glorified.

Anthony, like a star, shone

In the great city of Novgorod,

Where, to the people, the miracle he proclaimed.

Anthony took care to acquire humility,

His mind to God, ceaselessly raised.

His humble soul, to God, was a sweet sacrifice,

And his prayer was true, sacrificial incense;

Anthony was both incense and sacrifice.

God never saw the saint as one dead,

As the clairvoyant saint never thought God to be dead.


Holy souls read Holy Scripture with great diligence, concentrating on every word, and placing themselves before the mirror of the Word of God as before the Dread Judgment. Their diligence was so great in this, that some of the ascetics undertook distant journeys in order to find a spiritual sage who would interpret a word or a saying from Holy Scripture for them. Of course, whenever it was possible, this was accomplished through correspondence. From this, a large collection of the letters of the saints have survived, including those of Saints Basil, Gregory, Chrysostom, Isidore of Pelusium, Nilus of Sinai and many others. One day, St. Cosmas pondered on the words of the Lord Christ--when He, in the Garden of Gethsemane, asked His disciples if any of them had a sword, and when His disciples said to Him: Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said to them, it is enough (Luke 22:38). Being unable to explain these words himself, St. Cosmas crossed over the wilderness to the distant Lavra of Pirga, where dwelled the illustrious Abba Theophilus, to inquire of him. With great difficulty, St. Cosmas succeeded in reaching his goal. Theophilus explained to him: "The two swords signify the two-fold order of a God-pleasing life: deeds and visions, or labor and awakening the mind to godly thoughts and prayer. Whoever has both of these is perfect."


To contemplate the ingratitude of the Jews toward God the Deliverer, and on God's punishment of them (Judges 13):

1. How the sons of Israel, yet again, did that which is wicked before the Lord;

2. How the Lord gave them over into the hands of the Philistines for forty years;

3. How the ungratefulness of a liberated people toward God the Deliverer is punished by bondage under foreigners, even today.


About human ingratitude, unseen even among the animals

"The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider" (Isaiah 1:3).

The ingratitude of man is most strongly exposed by the gratitude of animals. When the irrational ox knows who his master is, and when the ass knows from whose crib it is fed, how then can rational man not know about God, His Creator and Nourisher? The word "Israel" means "one who sees God." And every rational man should, by his rationality, be "one who sees God," and knows God, and feels the presence of God, and serves God as the meek and wonderful Jacob once did. But when rational man, whose entire dignity is in the knowledge of God, does not know God--when the "one who sees God" becomes blind toward God--then the dignity of the ox and the ass is raised above that of such a man. For oxen, without exception, recognize the master; and asses, without exception, recognize the one who feeds them; while among men there exists exceptions. There are men--very often leaders of men--who do not recognize their Lord or their Nourisher. In all of created nature, godlessness is a disease only among men; for godliness is the condition of normality and health only for men, and not for animals. Thus, godlessness is not the disease of animals but of men (alas, only of men!), for only they are destined to be "ones who see God" and, when they lose their godliness, they become poorer than the ox and the ass.

This is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, the Prophet of God.

O God of meek Jacob, of Israel the enlightened one "who sees God," help us to maintain our human dignity--the dignity of one "who sees God"--so that, every day and every hour, we may know and recognize You with gratitude, as our Lord and Nourisher.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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