Prologue Search

1. St Mary Magdalene.

One of the myrrh-bearing women, and equal to the apostles, she was born in Magdala by the Lake of Gennesaret, of the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits, of which she was freed and healed by the Lord Jesus. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life, and also stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and lamented bitterly with the most holy Mother of God. After the Lord's death, she visited His tomb three times; and when He rose again, she saw Him twice, once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women. She travelled to Rome, went before Tiberias Caesar and presented him with a red egg, greeting him with the words: 'Christ is risen!' At the same time, she denounced Pilate to Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Caesar listened to her, and moved Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul, where this unjust judge died under imperial displeasure after a terrible illness. After that, she returned from Rome to Ephesus, to St John the Theologian, whom she helped in his task of preaching the Gospel. With great love for the risen Lord and with great zeal, she proclaimed the holy Gospel as a true apostle of Christ. She died peacefully in Ephesus and was buried, according to tradition, in the same cave in which the seven young men (see August 4th) had been in a charmed sleep for a hundred years. They came to life, and then died. St Magdalene's relics were then taken to Constantinople. Near the Garden of Gethsemane, there is a beautiful Russian church dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.

2. The Hieromartyr Phocas.

Today we commemorate the translation of his relics from Pontus to Constantinople in about 404. The chief commemoration of this saint is on September 22nd, where an account of his life and sufferings is set down. Today, a particular miracle by this saint is also commemorated. A man, Pontinus, was taken by Arabs, who fettered him, tied his hand behind his back and left him to die. Lying on his face on the ground and being incapable of movement, Pontinus cried out: 'Holy Martyr Phocas, have mercy on me and save me!' Thus saying, he fell asleep, and saw Phocas in a dream, coming to him, taking him by the hand and saying: 'The Lord Jesus Christ forgives thee!' When the man awoke, he found himself free from all his bonds. He got up and went home, and took St Phocas as his family patron.

3. Our Holy Father Cornelius of Pereyaslavl.

Made a monk at the age of fifteen by an elder called Paul, he later withdrew to the desert in quest of silence. He spent thirty years in silence, never speaking a word to anyone, so that many thought that he was dumb. He was so emaciated from fasting that he looked like a skeleton. He received the Great Habit just before his death, and entered into rest on July 22nd, 1693.

4. The Holy Martyr Marcella.

This saint is greatly venerated on the island of Chios. In her church, miracles are performed throughout the years, but her life is not known. According to tradition, Marcella was a young girl who was left motherless very young. Her pagan and bestial father desired to live with his daughter as though she were his wife. Marcella fled from her father, but he, infuriated like a wild beast, found her and cut her to pieces. Near her church there are several rocks which now and then become saturated with blood. The people take these rocks to the church, pray to St Marcella and then touch the sick with them, and they are healed.

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