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1. The Hieromartyr Hermolaus.

He was a priest in Nicomedia in the time of the Emperor Maximian, and was with the twenty thousand martyrs condemned by the Emperor to be burned in their church (see December 28th). Hermolaus somehow escaped death on that occasion, together with two other priests, Hermippus and Hermocrates. Hermolaus baptised St Panteleimon, with whom he was brought to trial, tortured and finally beheaded. Hermippus and Hermocrates suffered with them, and they were all crowned with wreaths of victory and glory in the Kingdom of Christ. They suffered with honour in about 304.

2. Our Holy Mother, the Martyr Paraskeva.

Born in Rome of Christian parents, she was brought up from her earliest youth in the Christian faith and gave herself wholeheartedly to the fulfilling of God's commandments in her life. She brought others to the Way by means of her true and deep faith and devout life. When her parents died, Paraskeva gave all her goods away to the poor and received the monastic habit. As a nun, she preached the truth of Christ with ever more burning zeal, not hiding from anyone, even though the Christian faith was at that time subject to bloody persecution by the Roman authorities. Wicked Jews denounced Paraskeva for preaching a forbidden faith, and she was brought to trial before the Emperor Antoninus. All the Emperor's flattery was unavailing in shaking the faith of this servant of God. She was then put to torture by fire, and a white-hot helmet was placed on her head, but God saved her miraculously and she escaped and left Rome. She again began to go from city to city, there to bring the pagan people to the true Faith. In two more cities she was brought before princes and judges, and tortured for her Lord, performing on these occasions great miracles by the power of God and quickly recovering from her wounds. The pagans, as ever, called her miracles magic, and ascribed her recovery to the power and mercy of their gods. St Paraskeva once said to a prince who was torturing her: 'it is not your gods, O Prince, who heal me, but my Christ, the true God.' She was finally beheaded by a Prince Tarasius. Thus gloriously ended the fruitful life of this holy woman. Her relics were later taken to Constantinople. She suffered for Christ in the second century.

3. Our Holy Father Moses the Ugrian.

He was at the court of the young Prince Boris of Russia. Then, when the godless Svyatopolk murdered Boris, Moses escaped and fled to Kiev. A little later, he was taken to Poland as a slave by King Boleslav, and sold for 1,000 gold pieces to a young and depraved widow, the wife of one of Boleslav's dead generals. This wicked woman tried to turn Moses to debauchery, but he would not be turned, having vowed to live chastely before the Lord. She then suggested marriage to him, but he refused. Moses secretly received monastic profession from a monk of the Holy Mountain, and appeared before his owner in his monastic habit. She bound him, and ordered that he be flogged and his private parts cut off. He spent five full years in hopeless enslavement to this evil woman, five years of pain and torture. But suddenly King Boleslav perished in a rebellion, in which this woman was also killed. Then Moses was free to go back to Kiev, where, with St Antony, he gave himself to prayer and silence. Overcoming all his vices, he helped many to free themselves from theirs; and his holy relics helped many (see the life of St John the Longsuffering on July 18th). After ten years of silence in the Caves, St Moses entered into rest on July 26th, 1043, and went to the eternal and virginal Kingdom of Christ.

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