Prologue Search

1. St Sylvester, Bishop of Rome.

Born in Rome, he was skilled from his early years in secular learning and in Christian doctrine, and his life was always governed by the precepts of the Gospel. He made good use of the tuition of a priest, Timothy, whose death for the Faith he witnessed, and, seeing the example of his teacher's self-sacrifice, nourished himself in that same spirit for the rest of his life.

He became Bishop of Rome at the age of thirty, and reformed certain Christian customs; abolishing, for example, the Saturday fast that had up to that time been the rule among some Christians, and decreeing that only Great Saturday and those Saturdays that fall within fasting seasons should be so observed.

By his prayers and miracles, he was instrumental in the conversion and baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his mother, Helena, and assisted Queen Helena in the finding of the Holy Cross. He governed the Church for twenty years, and, finishing with honor his earthly life, entered into the heavenly Kingdom in the year 335.

2. Our Holy Father Seraphim of Sarov.

He was one of the greatest Russian ascetics and wonderworkers, with profound spiritual discernment. Born in 1759, he departed this life in 1833. He was distinguished by a great humility. When being praised by all the world, he referred to himself as "the poor wretch Seraphim".

3. St Theodota.

The mother of the holy brothers Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers. She lived a life pleasing to God, and brought up her sons to do the same.

4. Our Holy Father Ammon of Tabennisi.

He was a great ascetic of the fifth century and had charge of the Tabennisiot monastery in Upper Egypt, about 3,000 monks living in asceticism under his direction. He had the blessed gifts of wonderworking and spiritual discernment. When one of his monks asked him for counsel, he said to him in reply: `Be as a transgressor in prison and ask repeatedly, as he would: "When will the Judge appear?" So thou also, ask thou this with fear.'

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