Prologue Search

1. The Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina.

This holy hierarch was born in Antioch at the time that the Lord Jesus walked as a man among men on earth. Hearing of Christ's miracles, Pancratius's parents desired to see the Lord, the wonderworker. They came to Jerusalem, bringing Pancratius, where they saw Jesus, heard His words and witnessed His miracles. There Pancratius met the Apostle Peter. After the Lord's Ascension, both parents and their son were baptised in Antioch. Pancratius retired to a cave in Pontus, where the Apostle Peter found him and, in consultation with the Apostle Paul, installed him as bishop of Taormina in Sicily. St Pancratius worked great wonders in that town. He destroyed idols, baptised the unbaptised and instructed the baptised, and governed the Church of God. A pagan general, Aquilinus, hearing that the whole town of Taormina had become Christian, set out with an army to the town to destroy it. Holy Pancratius encouraged the faithful to be fearless, and he himself went out from the city with the clergy, carrying in his hands the unconquerable sign of the precious Cross. When the soldiers drew near to the town, a darkness fell on them and they were seized with great terror. A great confusion arose, so that they fell over one another and were stabbed and cut about by their own swords. Thus that godly man, Pancratius, saved his city and his flock by the power of his prayers before God. He was finally stoned to death by some envious and wicked pagans, and entered into rest in the Lord. His holy relics are preserved in Rome.

2. The Hieromartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna in Crete.

As an old man of eighty-four, he was tortured for Christ during Decius' reign. Cast into the flames, he was saved by the providence of God. Then the judge pronounced this sentence: 'Just judgement cannot tolerate that Cyril, having been delivered from fire, remain among the living. I therefore command that he be killed with the sword.' The old man joyfully laid his head under the sword and was beheaded, to live eternally in the Kingdom of Christ.

3. Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs Patermuthius and Copres.

Both were Egyptians, martyred by the Emperor Julian the Apostate. The first was aged seventy-five and the second forty-five. The Emperor succeeded in turning Copres from the Christian faith to idolatry. The apostate Copres cried: 'I am Julian's, not Christ's!' When old Patermuthius rebuked him and brought to his mind the thought of eternal torment, Copres was distressed and cried out before the Emperor: 'I am Christ's, not Julian's!' They were both beheaded. One of the Emperor's soldiers, Alexander, who saw their courage in suffering and himself became a Christian, suffered together with them. They suffered with honour for Christ, and went to Christ in the year 361.

4. Our Holy Fathers Patermuthius and Copres.

Although they have the same name, these two are different from the above. This Patermuthius was at first a robber leader, but, after a wondrous vision, he turned to the true Faith. What happened was this: he had climbed onto the roof of a house belonging to a devout woman, with the intention of getting into the house that way and stealing. Sleep fell on him, and he saw in a dream a Man who commanded him to cease doing evil and repent. He was not only baptised but also became a monk.

Both of them were great wonderworkers. By God's grace, they healed men of every pain and ill, brought sinners back to the true path and had the gift of prophecy. A sinner lying on his deathbed begged Patermuthius to prolong his life that he might repent. The saint prayed, and then told him that God had given him three ears more. The sinner repented, and died exactly three years later. They entered into rest in the Lord in great old age, at the end of the fourth century.

5. St Theodore, Bishop of Edessa, and others with him.

He became a monk at the age of twenty, and spent thirty-six years as a monk. Then, in the time of the Emperor Michael and Empress Theodora, he was chosen as Bishop of Edessa. He died in 848. Together with him are commemorated his teacher, St Theodosius Stylites of Syria, his brother St John, and St Aderus, a rich nobleman who left his wife and became a monk.

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