Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyr Christina.

Born in the city of Tyre, she was the daughter of the imperial governor, Urban, an idolater. It is not known why her parents gave her the name Christina, but it carried within itself the mystery of her future following of Christ. She knew nothing of Him until the age of eleven, but, when she reached that age, her father (wanting, because of her beauty, to hide her from the world until she was fully grown) made her live on the top floor of a high tower. He gave her every comfort - slaves and gold and silver idols to which to offer daily sacrifice. But the soul of the young Christina was weighed down and suffocated in this idolatrous atmosphere. Looking out of the window by day at the sun, and by night at the wonderful constellations of shining stars, she came, through her natural understanding, to a firm belief in the one, living God. God, in His great mercy, seeing her yearning for the truth, sent His angel to her, who signed her with the sign of the Cross, named her the bride of Christ and instructed her fully in the things of God. Then Christina smashed all the idols in her rooms, incurring her father's terrible wrath. He brought her to trial and had her tortured and thrown into prison, intending that she be beheaded on the following day. But that night, Urban, in full health, gave up the ghost and went to the grave before his daughter. After that, two of the governors, Dion and Julian, continued the interrogation of this holy maiden. Christina's courage in suffering and the marvels which were performed by the power of God brought many of the pagan inhabitants of Tyre to Christianity. During Christina's torture, Dion suddenly fell dead among the people. His successor, Julian, cut off Christina's breasts and cut out her tongue. The martyr took her tongue in her hand and threw it into Julian's face, and he was instantly blinded. Finally, her sufferings for Christ were ended under a sharp sword, but her life went on in the immortal kingdom of the angels. St Christina suffered with honour in the third century.

2. Our Holy Father Polycarp, Abbot of the Kiev Caves.

He was filled with 'love for God and his neighbour, joy from a pure conscience, peace from the overcoming of all the passions, patience with the fallen and destitute, gentleness and humility to all, charity to the poor, undoubting faith in the fulfilling of the commandments, truth in the fulfilling of his vows, meekness in freedom from anger, longsuffering and so forth...'. He governed the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev so well that no worthy successor could be found after his death (for any who were worthy were prevented by humility from accepting the abbacy), and the brethren were forced to have a secular priest, Basil, as their abbot. St Polycarp entered into rest in the Lord in 1182.

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