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Saint Euthymius The Great

Of noble and distinguished parents, Euthymius was born in the Armenian town of Melitene near the Euphrates river about the year 377 A.D. He was the only child, a son, born in answer to the prayer of his mother Dionisiya, who had a heavenly vision regarding the birth of Euthymius. From his youth, he lived a life of asceticism, at first in the proximity of his town [Melitene] but then, after he visited Jerusalem at age twenty-nine, in the desert between Jerusalem and Jericho called Pharan. He filled his days and nights with prayer, internal thoughts about God, contemplation and physical exertion. Around him many disciples gathered some of whom are glorious saints, such as Cyriac the Hermit, St. Sabas the Sanctified, Theotictus and others. By God's gift, Euthymius was a great miracle worker; he expelled demons, healed the gravely ill, brought water to the desert, multiplied bread and prophesied. He taught monks the love of labor saying, "If you eat bread, not of your own labor, know that you are eating of someone else's labor." When some of the younger monks wanted to fast more than others, he forbade them to do so and commanded them to come to the communal table so that they would not become prideful as a result of their excessive fasting. He also said that it was not good for a monk to move from place to place, for he said, " A tree frequently transplanted does not bear fruit. Whoever desires to do good, can do it from the place where he is."

About love, he said, "What salt is to bread, love is to other virtues." During the first week of the Honorable Fast [Lenten Season], he retreated to the desert and remained there in solitary silence and godly-thoughts until just before the Feast of the Resurrection. During his life time, a large monastery [Lavra] was established in the proximity of his cave which later, throughout the centuries, was completely filled with monks as a beehive is filled with bees. His final command was that the monastery always adhere to hospitality and that the gates of the monastery never be closed. He died at the age of ninety-seven. The Patriarch of Jerusalem was in attendance at his funeral. The patriarch waited all day long until the great masses of people reverenced the body of the saint and only in the evening were they able to complete the Office for Burial for the Dead. On the seventh day following his death, Euthymius appeared radiant and rejoicing to Domentian, his disciple. The Venerable Euthymius, in truth, was a true "son of Light". He died in the year 473 A.D.

The Holy Martyrs Innas, Nirras And Pinnas

They are considered to be the first Slavic martyrs who are mentioned in history. They are referred to as Scythians and disciples of St. Andrew the Apostle. They suffered for the Faith at the hands of their pagan neighbors on the right side of the Danube river near Varna. Tied up on the ice, Innas, Nirras and Pinnas froze and died in the Lord.


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