Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyrs Cerycus and Julitta.

Holy Julitta was of noble birth. She was widowed young, and left with a newborn child, Cerycus. She lived in Iconium, a city of Lycaonia, and was a very devout Christian. She had her son baptised immediately after his birth and, when he was three years old, instructed him in the Faith and taught him to pray insofar as a child of that age is capable of learning. When Diocletian launched a persecution of Christians, much innocent blood was shed in the city of Iconium. Julitta took her son and hid from the wrath of the pagans in the town of Seleucid, but things were no better there. Julitta was arrested as a Christian and brought to trial. Seeing Julitta so courageously proclaim her faith in the Lord Jesus, the judge, to distress her and make her waver, took the child in his arms and began to kiss it. But Cerycus shouted: 'I am a Christian; let me go to my mother!', and he began to scratch the judge, turning his face away from him. The judge was furious, threw the child to the ground and kicked it, and the child rolled down the stone steps and gave his holy and innocent soul to God. Seeing how Cerycus suffered before her, Julitta was filled with joy and gave thanks to God that her son had been counted worthy of the wreath of martyrdom. After harsh torture, Julitta was beheaded, in the year 304. The relics of Ss Cerycus and Julitta have wonderworking power to this day. A part of the relics of these saints is to be found in Ochrid, in the Church of the Holy Mother of God, the Healer.

2. St Vladimir, Great Prince of Russia.

Vladimir was the son of Prince Svyatoslav, and grandson of Igor and Olga, and was at first completely pagan in faith and life. Learning of the existence of various faiths, he began to examine them, to decide which was best. He therefore sent envoys to Constantinople. When they returned, they told the Prince that they had been at a service in the Orthodox Church of St Sophia, and that they had been 'out of ourselves, not knowing if we were on earth or in heaven'. This inspired Vladimir to be badtised, receiving the name Vasilii, and to baptise his people. The chief idol, Perun, was dragged off the hill of Kiev and thrown into the Dnieper. Embracing the Christian faith, Vladimir utterly changed his way of life and devoted all his labour to the perfect fulfilling of the demands of his faith. He decreed that churches be built throughout the land on the places where the idols had been pulled down, and himself built a beautiful church in Kiev to the most holy Mother of God. This church was built on the selfsame spot where St Theodore and his son John suffered martyrdom for Christ (see July 12th). With the same irresistible force with which Vladimir earlier upheld idolatry, he now spread Christianity. He entered into rest in the Lord in 1015.


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