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Our Holy Father Isidore of Pelusium.

He was an Egyptian, the son of eminent parents and a kinsman of the Patriarchs of Alexandria Theophilus and Cyril. Completing his secular studies, he renounced his riches and worldly standing and gave himself wholly to the spiritual life for the love of Christ. He was a great and ardent interpreter and defender of the Orthodox faith. The historian Nicephorus states that St Isidore wrote more than 10,000 letters to various people, in which he reprimanded one, advised another, consoled a third, instructed a fourth. 'It is more important to be proficient in good works than in golden-tongued preaching', he writes in one letter. In another, he says: 'If a man wishes his virtues to appear great, let him regard them as small and then they will be truly shown to be great.' The first and fundamental rule for Isidore was: first do and then teach, after the example of the Lord Jesus. At a time when St John Chrysostom was undergoing persecution and the whole world was divided into two camps, one for and one against this great pillar of Orthodoxy, St Isidore stood on the side of Chrysostorn. He wrote to Patriarch Theophilus, saying what a great light Chrysostom was in the Church and begging that the hatred of him should cease. He lived long and laboured greatly, glorifying Christ the Lord in his life and his writings, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ in about 450.

Our Holy Father Nicolas the Confessor.

This saint was from the island of Crete. He went to Constantinople to visit his kinsman Theodore, abbot of the Studite monastery, and remained there to become a monk. As a monk, Nicolas followed all the ascetic practices that are prescribed for the soul's salvation. During a persecution of the Church on the part of Leo the Armenian, Theodore and Nicolas were harshly tortured, humiliated, beaten with bull-whips and finally thrown into prison, where they spent three years. After the death of St Theodore, Nicolas became abbot of the Studium. Even during his lifetirne, God blessed him with the power to work miracles. He healed Eudocia the wife of the Emperor Basil, and Helen the wife of the patrician Manuel. To Theophilus Melisenus, a distinguished nobleman who had lost several children, he prophesied, in blessing his new-born daughter, that she would live and be fruitful, a prophecy that was later fulfilled to the joy of her parents. On the very day of his death, he called the monks together and asked them what they lacked. 'Wheat', they replied. Then the dying man said: 'He who sustained Israel in the wilderness will send you abundant wheat in three days.' And indeed, a boat full of grain, sent by the Emperor Basil, arrived below the monastery on the third day. Nicolas entered into the heavenly Kingdom on February 4th, 868, at the age of 75.

The Holy New Martyr Joseph.

Born in Aleppo, he had pressure put upon him by the Turks to embrace Islam. Joseph not only refused, but began to denounce the falsehood of Islam and extol the Christian faith. For this he was tortured and beheaded in 1686.


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