Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyrs Julian and Vasilissa.

They were both of rich and noble families and, though married, agreed to live in celibacy as brother and sister. They gave their goods to the poor and embraced the monastic state; Julian founding a men's monastery of about 10,000 monks and Vasilissa one for about a thousand nuns. When a violent persecution of Christians was launched under Diocletian, Vasilissa besought God that none of her nuns should suffer torture nor repudiate the Orthodox faith. The Lord hearkened to the petition of His worthy servant and, during the next six months, took all the nuns to Himself, one by one, and finally their abbess Vasilissa. Before her own death, Vasilissa had a vision of her sisters in the other world. They were all bathed in light and were rejoicing like the angels. They appealed to their spiritual mother to join them as quickly as possible.

Julian's monastery was burned by fire, and Julian was inhumanely tortured, being killed only after the most horrible sufferings. The Lord inspired and strengthened him in his torments and he endured them with heroism, keeping faith and glorifying the name of Christ. Together with Julian were beheaded the son and wife of the persecutor Marcian, Celsus and Maronilla, who, seeing Julian's heroic and patient sufferings, were themselves converted to Christianity. Also martyred with him were twenty Roman soldiers, seven brothers from that locality, a priest named Antony and a man called Anastasius whom Julian, at the time of his own martyrdom, raised from the dead by his prayers. They all suffered with honour for Christ and became citizens of the Kingdom of heaven in about the year 313.

2. Our Holy Father George the Chozebite.

He lived the ascetic life in the seventh century in the Chozebite community on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, where our holy Father John the Chozebite first lived as a monk.

3. St Domnica.

A pagan, she came from Carthage in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius to Patriarch Macarius, accompanied by four girls who were likewise ignorant of God. He baptised them and blessed them to live as nuns. St Domnica devoted herself to asceticism with whole-hearted zeal, and did not falter in that zeal right up to the time of her death at a great age. She entered into rest in about the year 474. By the illumination of the Holy Spirit, she was able to predict the future and perform miracles through prayer.

4. St Gregory, Bishop of Ochrid.

A pious teacher and pastor of Christ's flock, he entered into rest in the year 1012. On an inscription in the Church of St Sophia in Ochrid, he is called 'Gregory the Wise'.


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