Prologue Search

1. St Artemon, Bishop of Seleucia.

He was born and educated in Seleucia. When the Apostle Paul came to that city, he saw Artemon, confirmed him yet more strongly in the Christian faith and made him bishop of the city. Artemon guided Christ's flock with love and zeal as a physician to the souls and bodies of his people, and entered into eternity in great old age.

2. Our Holy Father James the Confessor.

He suffered for the sake of the holy icons under the Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-20). He was a monk and a brother of the Studite monastery. When the great Theodore of the Studion was sent into exile, James was given over to great tortures to force him to renounce the veneration of icons. But he remained steadfast and faithful to Orthodoxy to the end. They returned him to his monastery beaten and tortured when the evil Emperor Leo had made a bad end. He died of his grievous injuries there in the monastery, and entered into the company of the citizens of heaven.

3. The Hieromartyr Parthenius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

Born on the island of Mitylene, he was Bishop of Chios for a long time, and was later chosen as Patriarch. But, because of false allegations that he was working against the state, the Turks at first tried to force him to embrace Islam and, when he refused decisively, hanged him in 1657.

4. Commemoration of the Miracle at the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev.

Two friends, John and Sergius, swore brotherhood before the icon of the holy Mother of God in this monastery. John was a rich man, with a five-year-old son, Zachariah. John fell ill, and at his death commended his son to the care of Sergius, and left in Sergius's keeping a large sum of silver and gold for him to hand over to Zachariah when he had grown up. When Zachariah came of age, however, Sergius denied receiving anything from the deceased John. Then Zachariah said: 'Let him swear before the same icon of the most holy Mother of God, in front of which he accepted brotherhood with my late father, that he received nothing from John, and then I will seek nothing more from him.' Sergius agreed, but when he had sworn this and went up to kiss the icon, some force held him back and would not allow him to come near. Then, tormented all at once by a demon, he began to cry out: 'Holy fathers Antony and Theodosius, do not let this merciless angel destroy me!' The demon had attacked him by God's permission. He then told them of all the money which John had left. But when they opened the box, they found double the amount. Taking it, Zachariah gave it to the monastery and was himself tonsured as a monk. He lived a long time and was worthy of God's great gifts, entering peacefully into eternity.

5. Our Holy Father Zacharias.

He was the son of Carion the Egyptian, who left wife and children to become a monk. The father took Zacharias with him, since his mother was unable to provide for him. Although younger than many of the elders in Scetis, he received greater gifts of grace than many of them. He felt as if his whole interior was aflame with the grace of God. Zacharias replied to the question of St Macarius, 'Who is a true monk?' saying: 'He who constantly restrains himself in the fulfilment of God's commandments.' And to the question of Abba Moses: 'What does it mean to be a monk?', Zacharias took off his hat and trod it underfoot, saying: 'If a man be not so broken, he cannot be a monk.' He was a great light among the monks in the desert, and went to his peace in the Lord at an early age.

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