Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyr Agrippina.

St Agrippina was born and brought up in Rome. She trained herself from childhood to live by the Gospel, expelling the stench of the passions from her heart with the sweet-smelling perfume of purity and chastity. She was betrothed to Christ the Lord, and suffered as a bride of Christ in the reign of the Emperor Valerian. She endured beating with staves until her bones were crushed. An angel of the Lord appeared to her to strengthen her, until she surrendered her soul to God under fresh tortures. Her friends, Vassa, Paula and Agathonica, took her relics to the island of Sicily and buried them there. A church was later built there in her name, where countless miracles were wrought over her relics. She entered into eternal rest and was crowned with glory in the year 275.

2. The Holy Martyrs Eustochius and Gains, and those with them.

Eustochius was a pagan priest in the time of the Emperor Maximian, but, seeing the heroism of the Christian martyrs, he cast off his paganism and was baptised by Eudoxius, Bishop of Antioch. Gradually Eustochius brought his kinsfolk to the Christian faith, and his kinsman Gaius was baptised together with his three children: Probus, Loillas and Urban. All these, and some others with them, were brought before the judge, tortured and beheaded in Lystra for the sake of their faith in Christ the Lord, and thus their souls entered into His immortal Kingdom.

3. Commemoration of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God.

When the Tartar king, Ahmet, lay siege to Moscow, Prince Ivan Vasillievitch came with troops to defend the city. Although this prince's forces were smaller in number and weaker than the Tartar army, they yet emerged victorious, for an indescribable terror fell on the Tartars and they ran off in confusion in all directions. All attributed this unexpected success to the icon of the most holy Mother of God, for the whole people had begged her aid for deliverance from the Tartars. This day, June 23rd, is set aside in the land of Russia for the commemoration of this miracle.

4. The Tale of Theophilus's Repentance.

Consumed with envy towards his bishop, this man gave his soul to the devil and set down in writing his rejection of Christ and of His holy Mother. He then repented of his deed and wept bitterly, imploring the Mother of God for forgiveness. After forty days of fasting and tearful prayer, he received back the paper on which he had written his denial, and which he had given to the devil. He went to the church and openly confessed his sin to the bishop and the people. When the bishop had spoken the words of forgiveness and given him Communion, Theophilus's face shone like the sun. Here is an example of how the merciful Lord not only forgives the sins of all those who repent, but also makes them into saints.

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