Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Gregory of Decapolis.

He was born in Isaurian Decapolis of eminent and devout parents, Sergius and Maria. When he had finished his schooling, his parents desired him to marry, but he fled to the desert and became a monk. He lived in various places: in Byzantium and Rome, and on Mount Olympus. Wherever he found himself, he made men marvel by his asceticism and miracles. It happened at times that his face was lit up with heavenly light, and that angels of God appeared to him; he looked upon the beauty of the angels and heard their blessed singing. He lived a long and godly life, and died peacefully in Constantinople in the ninth century, his soul entering into the joy of his Lord.

2. St Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople.

A disciple of St John Chrysostom, he was consecrated Bishop of Cyzicus in 426, and in 435 was chosen as Patriarch of Constantinople. He governed the Church of God as a wise hierarch. In his time, two unusual events occurred. The first was the translation of the relics of St John Chrysostom from Comana to Constantinople, at the desire of both the Emperor and the Patriarch, the Emperor Theodosius the Younger being at that time on the throne, with his sister Pulcheria.

The second event was the earthquake in Constantinople and the surrounding country. Many of the greatest and most beautiful buildings fell in the terrible earthquake. Then the Patriarch, together with the Emperor and many of the clergy, the nobles and the people, made a procession. While they were praying in this procession, a child was miraculously lifted up high into the air, finally becoming invisible to the eye. It then returned, and landed gently on the ground. Asked where it had been, the child replied that it had been lifted up to heaven among the angels, and had heard them sing: 'Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us!' Hearing this song, all the people in the procession began to sing it, and the earthquake ceased at once. From that time, this wonderful hymn was adopted by the Church. The child soon died, and was buried in the Church of St Irene. St Proclus served as hierarch for twenty years, and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in 446.

3. The Holy Martyrs Eustace, Thespesius and Anatolius.

These three were brothers from Nicomedia, of pagan parents, Philotheus and Eusebia, who later received the true Faith from Anthimus, Bishop of Nicomedia, together with their three sons. Philotheus was ordained priest. When he and his wife had died, a terrible persecution broke out under the Emperor Maximian, and Philotheus's three sons were taken for trial. Tried, interrogated and tortured in various ways, they were finally condemned to death. Angels appeared to them many times in the prison, giving them manna for food and filling their youthful hearts with strength and courage in endurance. When they were led out to the scaffold, two of their friends, Palladius and Acacius, came up to them and began to speak with them. While they were still talking, the holy martyrs gave their souls into God's hands. The soldiers then beheaded their dead bodies, and carried them off to show the judge. They suffered for Christ the Lord in about 313, and entered into the eternal Kingdom of Christ.

4. St Isaac, Archbishop of Armenia.

He was born in Constantinople at the time that his father was an envoy from the King of Armenia to the Byzantine court. He was the tenth Archbishop of Armenia, and as such governed the Church for fifty years. His episcopate was distinguished, among other things, by the translation of the Scriptures into Armenian. He was told in a vision that Armenia would, one day, fall away from the pure, Orthodox faith. This great hierarch entered peacefully into rest in 440, and went to the Lord.

5. The Three Holy Persian Maidens.

IN the days of King Sapor, these three maidens were persecuted as Christian and finally beheaded with knives. Three fig trees grew over their graves, the fruits of which healed all manner of pains and ills.


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