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St Bucolus, Bishop of Smyrna.

He was a disciple of St John the Theologian, who consecrated him bishop of the city of Smyrna. There were few baptised Christians in Smyrna, and St Bucolus shone like a lamp in the pagan darkness. He was adorned with all the virtues, especially gentleness and meekness. Before his death, Bucolus named the famous Polycarp as his successor in the episcopate, then he peacefully departed this life and went to the Lord.

The Holy Martyr Fausta.

Suffering for Christ in the reign of the Emperor Maximian (between 305 and 311), she made her torturers marvel by her heroism and brought them to the Christian faith. These were the eighty-year-old pagan priest Evilasius and Maximus the Eparch. When the judge threatened Fausta with even harsher tortures, she asked him to have a picture of her made, showing her enduring all the tortures with which he was threatening her. When it was ready and shown to her, holy Fausta said: 'As this picture feels no torture, so my body does not feel the torture of your punishments, for my soul is established in the Lord.' The judge cast her into a cauldron of boiling water, where this thirteen-year-old girl departed this life with prayer on her lips, and went to Paradise.

The Holy Martyr Dorothea.

An eminent and beautiful maiden from Caesarea in Cappadocia. The administrator of the district, Sapricius, gave Dorothea into the care of two pagan sisters, Christina and Kallista, to turn her from Christ. But it happened the other way about: Dorothea succeeded in bringing both sisters to the Christian faith. Sapricius in fury ordered that the sisters be tied together back to back, cast into a vat of pitch and then set alight. He then condemned Dorothea to death. She listened to the sentence with joy and cried out: 'I thank Thee, O Christ, Thou Lover of souls, that Thou callest me to Thy Paradise and leadest me to Thy most holy court!' A nobleman, Theophilus, who was present laughed at these words and called out to Dorothea: 'Here, you bride of Christ; send me apples and wild roses from your bridegroom's paradise!' 'Yes; I'll do that!', the martyr replied. When Dorothea was at the place of execution, a handsome youth suddenly appeared with three marvellous apples and three red wild roses. This was an angel from God, and it was winter-time. At Dorothea's bidding, the angel took them to Theophilus and said: 'Here is what you asked for.' When Theophilus received the message and saw the gift, he was very much afraid. Everything within him turned topsy-turvy, and he rejected paganism and became a Christian. He was tortured and killed for Christ, and his soul quickly followed Dorothea's to the Lord's Paradise.

St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

A great light in the Church, he was a kinsman of the Emperor and grandson of the famous Patriarch Tarasius. He was a forceful protector of the Church from the power-seeking of the Pope and other Roman perverters of the Faith. He passed through all the ranks from layman to patriarch in six days, being made Patriarch at Christmas, 858. He departed this life in the Lord in about 895.

Our Holy Fathers Barsanuphius and John.

Great ascetics from Gaza, gifted with insight and wonder-working power, they left us a well-known book of answers to various questions on the spiritual life. They lived in the sixth century.

The Holy Martyrs Martha and Mary and their brother Lycarion.

All three were crucified for Christ, then stabbed to death with a lance.


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