Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father David.

Born in Salonica, where he at first lived the ascetic life in a shelter he had built in an almond tree, he later continued his asceticism in Thessaly. He purified himself so greatly by fasting, prayer and vigils that he was made worthy to receive great grace from God. Once he took a live coal in his hand, placed incense on it and censed the Emperor with no sort of protection for his hand. The Emperor, when he saw this, bowed down to the ground before David, who amazed the people by his countless miracles. He entered peacefully into rest in the blessedness of eternity in 540.

2. Feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.

This icon was in Constantinople in 1383, but, seventy years before the fall of that city, it suddenly appeared in the sky near the village of Tikhvin in northern Russia. A church and a monastery were built where it came to rest. Countless miracles were wrought through this wonderworking icon; many of the sick, especially, receiving healing from it.

3. Feast of the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God.

Luke the Evangelist painted this icon on wood himself. When the most holy Mother of God saw it, she was pleased with it and blessed it. St Luke presented the icon to Theophilus, a state official for whom he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. The icon was later taken from Antioch to Jerusalem, and sent from there by the Empress Evdokia to Constantinople as a gift for Pulcheria, the Emperor's devout sister. Pulcheria placed it in the Church of Blachernae, which was her own foundation. The most holy Mother of God once appeared to two blind men and led them into the church to her icon, and restored the sight of them both. For this reason, the icon has become known as 'Hodigitria'- 'She who shows the way'. When the armies of the Persian king, Chozroes, and of Kagan, leader of the Scythians, attacked Constantinople, Patriarch Sergius carried the icon around he city ramparts, and the most holy Mother of God saved the Christians from the unbelievers. The forces of the enemy became confused. the sea began to heave about and the boats began to sink. The enemy soldiers who remained alive saved themselves by fleeing. Ever since then, a commemoration of this miracle wrought by the most holy Mother of God has been held on the Saturday of the Fifth Week of the Great Fast, with the reading of the Akathist. During the iconoclast period, this icon was taken to the monastery of the Pantocrator and sealed up in a wall with a burning lamp hanging before it. It was found later, unharmed by its immuring.

4. Feast of the Icon of the Mother of God of Lydda or Rome.

Patriarch Gennadius sent this icon to Rome for safety during the iconoclast persecution. It floated there on the water by itself, more swiftly than any ship, and, when the iconoclasts had tired of their persecution, floated back to Constantinople in the same way.

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