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1. The Holy Apostle Matthias.

Born in Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah, he was a pupil of St Simeon the Host of God in Jerusalem. When the Lord began preaching the Kingdom of God, Matthias was among those who loved the Lord with all their hearts, heard His words and saw His works with delight. Matthias was at first included among the seventy, lesser apostles of Christ, but, after the Lord's Resurrection, because the place of Judas the betrayer fell vacant, the apostles chose this Matthias by lot in Judas's place as one of the twelve Great Apostles (Acts 1:23). Receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Matthias began to preach the Gospel, first in Judea then in Ethiopia, where he suffered greatly for the sake of Christ. It is held that he preached also in Macedonia, where they tried to bind him, but he became invisible to his tormentors and thus escaped danger. When he was imprisoned, the Lord appeared to him, gave him courage and set him free. He finally returned to work in Judea. There he was arrested and taken for trial before Ananias the High Priest, before whom he fearlessly witnessed to Christ. Ananias (the same who had earlier killed the Apostle James) condemed Matthias to death. They took Matthias out and stoned him to death, then cut off his head with an axe (the Roman way of executing those condemned to death. The hypocritical Jews used this method on the dead man, to prove to the Romans that he had opposed Rome). So died this great apostle of Christ, and went to the eternal joy of his Lord.

2. The Holy Martyr Antony.

He was a citizen of Alexandria. Brought before the pagan governor, he freely declared his faith and was tortured -whipped and flogged - but would not deny Christ. He was finally cast into the flames, from the midst of which he said to the people: 'My beloved brethren, do not be enslaved by your bodies, but give thought to your souls, given to you by God and kin to God and to the heavenly powers.' He thus instructed the people and, being burned in the fire, gave his holy soul to God.

3. The Holy Martyrs Julian and Marcian, and others with them.

They suffered at the hands of the iconoclasts under the wicked Emperor Leo the Isaurian, in 726, and were crowned with unfading glory.

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