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1. St Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa.

The brother of St Basil the Great, he was at first a married priest, but when his wife, the blessed Theosevia, died, he was chosen and consecrated as Bishop of Nyssa. He was distinguished by great secular learning and spiritual experience, and was a great preacher, a translator of the Scriptures and a theologian. As a result of his opposition to the Arians, they did everything in their power to crush him, regarding him as their chief enemy. They were so successful in this that, in the reign of the Emperor Valens, their confederate, they managed to depose him from his episcopal seat and drive him into exile. This was in 376. The holy Father spent several years in patient exile, enduring poverty and humiliation. In 381, he took part in the Second Ecumenical Council, and it is thought that he formulated the final part of the Creed concerning the Holy Spirit. Finally, finishing his life at a great age in about the year 395, he entered into the Kingdom of God and has been commemorated through all succeeding ages as a great light in the Church.

2. Our Holy Father Ammon of Egypt.

He was an Egyptian ascetic. At the age of fourteen, he strove and prayed to God to kill all anger in him. He achieved such perfection of goodness that he was no longer aware of the existence of evil in the world. He was an outstanding expert in the Scriptures, and entered into rest at the beginning of the fifth century.

3. St Marcian.

He was born in Rome, but lived as a priest in Constantinople to the end of his life, during the greater part of the reign of Marcian and Pulcheria. The inheritor of great wealth from his parents, he spent it unstintingly on two objects: the building or restoring of churches, and charity to the poor. He built two new churches in Constantinople, dedicated to St Anastasia and St Irene and famed as beautiful and holy places. When asked why he spent so much of his wealth on churches, he re lied- "If I had a daughter and was-giving her in marriage to some nobleman, would I not expend much gold to adorn her as a worthy bride? Here, I am adorning the Church, the Bride of Christ." This great man, while being so generous to the churches and the poor, was very hard towards himself, following the evangelical counsel: "Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content" (I Tim. 6:8). It was written of him: "He was utterly in God and God in him", and he went to God, full of years and good works, in the year 471.


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