Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyrs Agathopous and Theodulus.

The first was a deacon and the second a reader in the Church in Salonica; the first adorned with the white hairs of age and the second with the chastity of youth. In the time of Diocletian' hunting of Christians, these two were summoned for trial. They went there joyfully, and, each holding the other by the hand, went in crying: 'We are Christians!' The whole court's urging them to deny Christ and worship idols was in vain. After long imprisonment and starvation, they were condemned to death by drowning in the sea. Their hands were bound behind them and a large stone tied to their necks, and they were taken off to be drowned. When they went to throw Agathopous into the depths, he cried out: 'Lo, by second baptism we are washed from all our sins, and will go cleansed to Christ Jesus!' The sea quickly threw their drowned bodies onto the shore, and Christians gave them burial. St Theodulus appeared to his friends in the form of a shining angel in white raiment and commanded them to distribute all his remaining goods to the poor. These great soldiers of Christ suffered with honour under the Emperor Diocletian and Faustinus the governor of Salonica, in the year 30.

2. Our Holy Father Mark of Trache.

He is also known as 'the Athenian' because Athens was his birthplace. When he had finished his higher schooling in Athens, his parents died. He pondered within himself on the inevitability death, and that one must prepare in good time for a holy depart from this world. He gave his goods away to the poor and seated him self on a plank in the sea, with profound faith in God's help and the prayer that God would lead him wherever He desired. And, by the providence of God, he was kept safe and taken to Libya (or Ethiopia), to a mountain called Trache. Mark lived in asceticism that mountain for ninety-five years, seeing neither man nor beast. For thirty whole years he had an intense struggle with evil sprits, and was tormented by hunger and thirst, cold and heat. He ate earth and drank sea-water. After thirty years of the most intense sufferings, the conquered demons fled from him and angels of started bringing him food every day in the form of bread, fish and fruit. St Serapion visited him just before his death, and later recorded the wonderful life of this saint. Mark was asking Serapion if there were in the world any Christians who could say to the mountain they were on: 'Get up and cast yourself into the sea', and it would do so. At that moment the mountain began to move like a wave. But Mark raised a hand and quietened it, such being miraculous power of this man of God. At the time of his death, prayed for the salvation of all men and gave his soul into God's hands. St Serapion saw an angel bearing Mark's soul, and a hand extended from heaven to receive it. St Mark lived for a hundred and thirty years and entered into rest in about 400.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK