Prologue Search

1. The Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not-made-with-hands.

In the time that our Lord was preaching the Gospel and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people, there was in the city of Edessa, on the banks of the Euphrates, a certain Prince Avgar, who was riddled with leprosy. He heard of Christ, the Healer of every pain and sickness, and sent a portrait-painter, Ananias, to Palestine with a letter to Christ, in which he begged the Lord to come to Edessa and heal him of his leprosy. In the event of the Lord's not being able to come, the prince commanded Ananias to paint His likeness and bring it, believing that the portrait would heal him. The Lord replied that he could not come, as the time of His Passion was at hand, and He took a napkin and wiped His face, leaving a perfect reproduction of His most pure face on the napkin. The Lord gave this napkin to Ananias, with a message to say that the prince would be healed by it, but not entirely, and He would therefore send him later an envoy who would rid him of the remainder of the disease. Receiving the napkin, Avgar kissed it and the leprosy fell from his body, with just a little remaining on his face. Later, the Apostle Thaddaeus, preaching the Gospel, came to Avgar, healed him secretly and baptised him. Then the prince smashed the idols that stood at the city's gateway and placed the napkin with the face of Christ above the entrance, stuck onto wood, surrounded with a gold frame and ornamented with pearls. The prince also wrote above the icon on the gateway: 'O Christ our God, no-one who hopes in Thee will be put to shame'. Later, one of Avgar's great-grandsons restored idolatry, and the Bishop of Edessa came by night and walled-in the icon above the gateway. Centuries passed. In the time of the Emperor Justinian, the Persian King, Chozroes, attacked Edessa, and the city was in great affliction. The Bishop of Edessa, Eulabius, had a vision of the most holy Mother of God, who revealed to him the secret of the icon, walledin and forgotten. The icon was found, and by its power the Persian army was defeated.

2. The Holy Martyr Diomedes.

A doctor from Tarsus of eminent parents, he taught the people the Christian faith as he healed them. The Emperor Diocletian ordered that he be beheaded in Nicaea in 298. Those who beheaded him and took his head to the Emperor were blinded, and when they restored the head to his body, with prayer, they were healed.

3. Our Holy Father Joachim of Osogovsk.

He lived the ascetic life in the second half of the eleventh century on the mountain of Osogovsk, in a cave in a place called Sarandopor. In that place another ascetic, Theodore of the Sheepfield, to whom St Joachim appeared in a dream, built a church. Many miracles have been performed throughout the centuries over the relics of St Joachim, and are to this day.

4. The Holy Martyr Stamatius.

He was a villager, born in Volos in Thessaly. When some inhuman Aga collected the imperial tax from the people and left them in a terrible plight, Stamatius went to Constantinople with several companions, to complain to the Vizier. The Sultan's nobles bore Stamatius a grudge for his stern accusation, and they arrested him. They first tried to convert him to Islam by flattery, promising him riches, glory and honour. Then the Turks tortured him and finally beheaded him in front of St Sophia's, in 1680. Thus this soldier of Christ was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom.

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