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1. The Assembly of the Seventy Apostles.

In addition to the twelve Great Apostles, the Lord chose besides seventy other, lesser, apostles and sent them to preach to the Jews. He sent them out two by two before His face, to each town and place, saying: "Behold, I send you as sheep among wolves" (Lk. 10: 1-5). But as Judas, one of the Twelve, fell away from the Lord, so some among these Seventy withdrew from Him, not with the intention of betraying Him but from human weakness and lack of faith (Jn. 6:66). And as Judas's place was filled from among the other apostles, so the places of these were filled with others chosen. These apostles laboured in the same way as the twelve Great Apostles; they were the assistants of the Twelve in the spreading and strengthening of the Church of God in the world. They suffered much torture and malice, from men and from demons, but their firm faith and burning love for the risen Lord made them conquerors of the world and heirs of the Kingdom of heaven.

2. St Eustathius, Archbishop of Serbia.

Born in the diocese of Budim, of God-fearing parents, he became a monk as a young man in Zeta, then moved on to greater asceticism at Hilandar. In time he became abbot of Hilandar, was then chosen to be Bishop of Zeta and, after some time had elapsed, to be Archbishop of Serbia. He was a man of great virtue and led Christ's flock with zeal and love. He entered peacefully into rest at a great age in 1279, exclaiming as death drew near: "Into hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."' His relics are preserved in the crypt of the church at Pec.

3. The Eunuch of Queen Candace.

The Apostle Philip baptized this negro eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). After hisbaptism, the eunuch returned home and began to teach about Christ. He was the first apostle of the Faith among the negroes of Ethiopia. He died a martyr and was counted worthy of the Kingdom of God.

4. Our Holy Father, the Martyr Onuphrius of Hilandar.

He was possessed of great anger towards his parents in his youth, and declared to the Turks that he wished to become one of them. He immediately repented of these words, went to Hilandar and there became a monk. Tormented by his conscience, he determined on martyrdom. So, with the blessing of his spiritual father, he went to Trnovo and presented himself to the Turkish authorities, stating that he was a Christian and mocking Mahomet, as a result of which he was slain on January 4th, 1818, at the age of 32. The body of this spiritual hero was lost, as the Turks threw it into the sea.


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