Prologue from Ochrid - January 27 [February 9]
Saint John Chrysostom, The Golden Trumpet Of Orthodoxy
The memory of this illuminary of the Church is celebrated on November 13 and January 30 but, on this date, the Church celebrates the translation of his honorable relics from the Armenian village of Comana, where he died in exile, to Constantinople, where earlier he had governed the Church. Thirty years after his death, Patriarch Proculus delivered a homily in memory of his spiritual father and teacher. He so enflamed the love of the people and Emperor Theodosius the Younger toward this great saint that all of them desired that Chrysostom's relics be translated to Constantinople. It was said that the sarcophagus, containing the relics of St. John Chrysostom, did not allow itself to be moved from its resting place until the emperor wrote a letter to Chrysostom begging him for forgiveness (for Theodosius' mother, Eudoxia, was the culprit responsible for the banishment of this saint) and appealing to him to come to Constantinople, his former residence. When this letter of repentance was placed on the sarcophagus, its weight became extremely light. At the time of the translation of his relics, many who were ill and who touched the sarcophagus were healed. When the relics arrived in the capital, then the emperor in the name of his mother as though she herself was speaking over the relics, again, prayed to the saint for forgiveness. "While I lived in this transient life, I did you malice and, now, when you live the immortal life, be beneficial to my soul. My glory passed away and it helped nothing. Help me, father; in your glory, help me before I am condemned at the Judgment of Christ!" When the saint was brought into the Church of the Twelve Apostles and placed on the patriarchal throne, the masses of people heard the words from St. Chrysostom's mouth saying: "Peace be to you all." The translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom was accomplished in the year 438 A.D.
Venerable Titus Of The Monastery Of The Caves In Kiev
At first, Titus was a soldier. When in battle he sustained a head injury, Titus withdrew from the world to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev where he was healed and then was tonsured a monk. Titus spent his time in unceasing mourning for his earlier sins. Before his death Titus was informed through a heavenly apparition that all of his sins were forgiven. His relics repose in the Caves of Theodosius.
Fasting is a great thing but love is even greater. If by fasting demons are cast out, passions tamed, the body pacified, the spirit composed then, by love, God takes up abode in man. The Lord Himself emphasized fasting as necessary but stressed love as the main commandment. In the first half of the last century, Jeladin Bey ruled in Ohrid, a renegade from the Sultan and an independent ruler. At that time, the Church was governed by Metropolitan Kalinikos. Even though of different faiths, Jeladin Bey and Kalinikos were very good friends and often visited one another. It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to be hanged. They were scheduled to be hanged on Great and Holy Friday [Good Friday]. The Metropolitan, totally disturbed because of this incident, went to Jeladin Bey and began to implore him to be more lenient with the punishment. While they were conversing, the time for lunch arrived and the Bey invited the Metropolitan to dine. Lamb was prepared for lunch. The Metropolitan excused himself, saying that because of fasting he could not remain for lunch, and he prepared to leave. The Bey was sorry and said to the Metropolitan: "Choose; either you will dine with me and free twenty-five men from the gallows, or you will not dine and allow them to be hanged." The Metropolitan crossed himself and sat down to eat and Jeladin freed the condemned from the punishment of death.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as High Priest:
- Who offers to God as a sacrifice the entire time of His life on earth;
- Who offers to God as a sacrifice His every word, His every feeling, His every thought, His every labor and His every tear;
- Who finally offers Himself completely as a man to God for man.
About the confusion of those of little faith
"What sort of man is this Whom even the winds and the sea obey?" (St. Matthew 8:27).
In these words the apostles, not yet knowing the Lord Jesus and seeing how He calmed the turbulent sea and winds questioned: "What sort of man is this Whom even the winds and the sea obey?" This is He Who created the winds and the sea. Therefore, what kind of miracle is it that His own created things obey Him? Is not the axe an obedient tool in the hands of him who made it? The Lord created everything by His word, that is why all things submit to His word.
Brethren, "What sort of man is this?" Who is He? This is the same One Who, before that, raised the winds and quieted them and Who agitated the sea and subdued it. This is the same One Who also does that today . As a man, He stood before men and rebuked the animated wind and unbridled sea in order to dispel the confusion of men as though the winds and the sea are moved and calmed either by blind chance or by some evil power; to reveal the truth for ever that the wise and beneficial power of the Creator directs and commands all the elements according to His Providence.
The apostles questioned: "Who is He?" O, Holy Apostles, He is the sinless Son of God Whose Name you will spread throughout the whole world and for Whose Name you will be tortured and slain as lambs by wolves. Who are the wolves? The wolves are those who think that the wind moves on its own and that the sea agitates and calms itself on its own, either only of itself or of the devil. O, Holy Apostles, you who asked and who received a true reply and the whole truth you proclaimed to the whole world, pray for us so that we too may be enlightened by that truth.
O Lord, All-Wise and All-Powerful, calm the winds of sin and subdue the storm of our filthy and unworthy passions.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK