Prologue Search

1. St James, Bishop and Confessor.

Neither his birthplace nor the place of his episcopate are known. It is known only that he fulfilled the Law of Christ, living in strict asceticism, in fasting and prayer and that, in the time of Copronymos, he endured much hardship and suffering at the hands of the iconoclasts: hunger, imprisonment and ridicule of every sort. He finally gave his soul to God, whom he had faithfully served in this life. He lived and suffered in the eighth century.

2. Our Holy Father Cyril (Beryllus), Bishop of Catania in Sicily.

Born in Antioch and a pupil of the Apostle Peter, he governed Christ's flock well. He had the gift of working wonders by prayer: for example, he turned some bitter and undrinkable water - in a place where there was no other water in summer - into sweet, drinkable water by his prayers. He entered peacefully into rest.

3. St Thomas, Patriarch of Constantinople.

He lived in the reigns of the Emperors Maurice and Phocas, and in the time of the Patriarchs John the Faster and Cyriac. Singled-out by St John for his great devotion and zeal, he was made patriarchal vicar by that saint, and after the death of Cyriac, was chosen as Patriarch. In his time an unusual event occurred: once when there was a procession with crosses carried, they began to sway and to hit against each other. The people marvelled at this; and when the Patriarch heard it attested, he asked Theodore the Sykeote, a famous ascetic and seer, to explain what it forebode. Theodore prayed to God and revealed to the Patriarch that it indicated a great misfortune that would come on the Church and on the Greek state through internal religious and political discord. Christians would fight and would exterminate each other. And all this came quickly to pass. Thomas begged Theodore to pray to God for him, that God would take him before this happened. 'Do you command me to come to you, or shall we meet in the other world before God?' So wrote Theodore to the Patriarch Indication by this that both he and the Patriarch would die soon. And that same day the Patriarch fell ill and died, and St Theodore died very soon after. St Thomas died and went to the Lord in 610.

4. Our Holy Father Serapion.

A companion of St Antony the Great, he lived in the Nitrian desert, in charge of the monastery of Arsina which contained 11,000 monks. Palladius and Sozomenes gave him the title 'the Great'. He entered into rest in about 366. St Serapion wrote: 'Do not think that sickness is grave; only sin is grave... sickness leads us only to the tomb, but sin follows the sinner beyond it'.

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