Prologue of Ohrid

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September 21

1. THE HOLY APOSTLE QUADRATUS

Quadratus, one of the Seventy, was a disciple of the Great Apostles. He preached the Gospel in Athens and was at first bishop of Athens after St. Publius, and afterward bishop of Magnesia. Quadratus was highly educated in secular wisdom, and rich in the grace of the Holy Spirit. His biographer says of him: He was as the morning star among the clouds (Sirach 50:6). The clouds were the darkness of Hellenic paganism, without the light of piety. The Holy Apostle Quadratus, through the word of God, shone upon the Hellenes as a great light, illuminating the darkness, destroying the foul sacrifices, crushing the idols, and destroying the demonic temples by his prayer. However, darkness always hates the light, and the pagans hated holy Quadratus. First they stoned him, as once the Jews did St. Stephen. Then they threw him into prison and gave him no bread until he gave up his holy soul, and went to dwell in the Kingdom of Christ, his God.
St. Quadratus wrote an Apologia for Christianity and gave it to Emperor Hadrian. This Apologia had such an effect on the pagan emperor that he ordered that Christians not be persecuted without specific cause. St. Quadratus suffered in about the year 130. He is buried in the city of Magnesia, where he suffered.

2. THE HIEROMARTYRS HYPATIUS, BISHOP OF EPHESUS, AND ANDREW THE PRESBYTER

Both Hypatius and Andrew were born in Lycia, and were friends from childhood. When they matured, both of them dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the service of God-Hypatius as a strict monk and ascetic, and Andrew as a priest among the people and a preacher of God's word. Because of their great virtues, Hypatius was consecrated bishop of Ephesus, and Andrew was ordained a presbyter. Both suffered martyrdom under the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian. After horrible tortures for holy Orthodoxy they were beheaded in 730, and passed from this transitory life to life eternal.

3. SAINT DIMITRI, BISHOP OF ROSTOV

St. Dimitri's life is celebrated on October 28, but today we commemorate the finding of his miracle-working relics in 1752.

4. THE SYNAXIS OF THE SAINTS OF THE MONASTERY OF THE KIEV CAVES

The blessed work of asceticism begun by the industrious and great God-pleaser Anthony grew throughout the centuries like a fruitful olive tree. The numerous saints who shone as stars in Anthony's Caves are each celebrated on their own day. Today, however, the whole assembly of them is commemorated together and called upon by the faithful for aid.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE HOLY APOSTLE QUADRATUS
 
St. Quadratus, like the morning star,
 
Shone forth the light of the Holy Gospel,
 
Shone forth rays through the thick darkness, 
 
And grace upon empty hearts.
 
Quadratus dispelled the confusion of men's thoughts,
 
Illumining the forebodings in men's hearts,
 
Illumining them with the light of Christ,
 
And enlightening the world with Christ's wisdom.
 
Unbelievers converted to the Most-high God, 
 
And received cruel wounds for Christ.
 
To Hadrian, the persecutor of the Cross,
 
Quadratus wrote a great defense 
 
With the eloquence and the skill of the Hellenes
 
And the simplicity of Christian truth.
 
Quadratus succeeded: the emperor was persuaded
 
To protect the Holy Church from evil.
 
O Quadratus, Christ's disciple,
 
Wise defender of the Holy Church,
 
In word and deed, you were God's servant-
 
With unfading glory, you are now crowned!
 
To you, we Christians pray fervently:
 
Help us, O holy Apostle!
 
Help us to overcome misfortunes,
 
And to endure all sufferings for Christ.
 
REFLECTION


If only we begin with the firm intention to live according to God's law, we need not be afraid of any assaults by unreasonable men. For he who truly begins to live according to God's law finds that all things done to him by men happen for his benefit, and to the glory of God. One especially need not fear being compelled to move from a place that he loves to a place that he doesn't care for. Instead of empty fear and fruitless lamentation, it is better to seek out God's intention for us. What harm did the evil actions of Joseph's brothers do to him? Did not his involuntary departure to Egypt glorify him, save his brothers from famine, and create the necessary conditions for all the wondrous things God worked through Moses in Egypt and in the wilderness? The pagans and heretics often drove Orthodox Christians into barbarian regions. What did they accomplish by that? Did they destroy Orthodoxy? No-rather, they strengthened it even more in the souls of the persecuted, and spread it among the barbarian peoples. The evil heretic Lucius exiled the glorious Macarius, with several Tabennisiot ascetics, from Egypt to a barbarian island, where the entire population worshiped idols. But by the teachings and example of these holy men, the entire populace of the island was soon baptized. That island was later renamed the "Island of Repentance.''

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate God's miraculous saving of Jerusalem because of the righteousness of Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 20):

1. How a multitude of Moabites and Ammonites set off against Jerusalem;

2. How King Jehoshaphat prayed to God, and it was revealed to him through the prophet that the battle is not yours, but God's (II Chronicles 20:15);

3. How the Moabites and the Ammonites fought among themselves, and perished to the last man.

HOMILY

on the divinity of the Son and His unity of Essence with the Father

He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (John 14:9).

Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us (John 14:8). To these words, the Lord Jesus replied: Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (John 14:9). Thus replied the Lord to His disciple. Philip wanted to see God with his bodily eyes. Yet, for three years he looked upon Christ, and did not recognize Him as God. Why? Because, before the descent of the Holy Spirit, Philip looked with the body at the body. In other words, he perceived with bodily eyes, and saw the Lord Jesus Christ as a man. He still had not seen the divinity in the Son of God Incarnate, and yet he sought to see God the Father! He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. By this the Lord did not want to say that He was God the Father, but that He and the Father are of one Essence. Insofar as God could reveal Himself to men, He revealed Himself through the Son, who appeared to men as a man. God the Father did not become incarnate; God the Holy Spirit did not become incarnate; but God the Son did become incarnate. How, then, could He show His Father to the bodily eyes of a mortal man? This is precisely why the Son became incarnate, to reveal Himself to men-Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit: consubstantial unity, in three Persons. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. Here, the Lord speaks of His divine nature. In that, he is completely equal and of one Essence with the Father. So it is that, had Philip perceived the divine nature of Christ, he would not have made the request: Show us the Father. Naturally, he could not have seen the divine nature, as it is spiritual and invisible; but he could see-and see clearly-the great works of Christ as a manifestation of His divine nature. Brethren, even today, some men say: "Show us God and we will believe!'' We should say to them: "Behold, we show you the Lord Jesus-believe!'' "I have been with you for nineteen centuries, O men, and have you not recognized Me?'' Nineteen centuries filled with His glory, miracles, power, grace, mercy, saints and martyrs! And there are still imbeciles who ask: "Where is God?''

O Lord Christ our God, open the spiritual eyes of those who still do not see, that they may see the majesty of Thy glory.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.



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