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1. The Hieromartyr Methodius, Bishop of Patara.

He devoted himself from his youth to the ascetic life and, like a city set on a hill, was seen and called to the episcopate in the city of Patara in Lycia. Methodius was a learned and eloquent hierarch and wrote against the heresy of Origen. His words, 'inspired by God, illumine the whole world like lightning'. The pagans rose up against him, tortured him and beheaded him in 31 1, in Chalcis in Syria.

2. The Holy Martyrs Aristocies, Dimitrianus and Athanasius.

Aristocles was a priest at the cathedral church in the town of Tamasus on Cyprus, and lived a life pleasing to God. Through his great zeal for the Faith, he was made worthy to hear a voice from heaven telling him to go to Salamis to receive the crown of martyrdom. The deacon Dimitrianus and the reader Athanasius joined him. On their arrival in Salamis, these men of God began to preach Christ. The pagans seized them and, after trial by torture, beheaded Aristocies with a sword, but Dimitrianus and Athansius were cast into the flames. This was in the year 306.

3. Our Holy Father Naum of Ochrid.

His chief festival is on December 23rd, where his life is recorded, but June 20th is his summer Feast. A great crowd gathers at the monastery of St Naum for this summer festival. Many of the sick come or are carried there to receive healing through faith and prayer over the relics of this holy man. Not merely Orthodox, but people of other faiths come seeking help from St Naum. In 1926, a Moslem from Resna went there, and donated a bell to the monastery in gratitude to the saint for healing his brother and raising him from his deathbed. The donor was Jemail Zizo, and his brother who was healed was called Suleiman Zizo. Both were eminent citizens of Resna.

4. St Kallistos I, Patriarch of Constantinople.

He lived the ascetic life for twenty-eight years as a disciple of Gegory the Sinaite on Mount Athos, in the skete of Magoula attached to the monastery of Philotheou. He later founded the community of St Mamas there. He was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 1350. After four years, he left the patriarchal throne to return to Athos, but, in the reign of John Paleologus, he was again called to the throne, where he remained until his death. He died in 1363 on the way to Serres to meet the Serbian Queen Helena, who was seeking help against the Turks. He wrote the Lives of St Gregory the Sinaite and St Theodosius of Trnovo, as well as numerous homilies. It is interesting to note how St Maximus of Kapsokalyvia foretold the death of Patriarch Kallistos. On his way to Serbia, Kallistos called in at the Holy Mountain. St Maximus saw him and said: 'This elder will not see his flock again, because I hear behind him the hymn over the grave: "Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way ...".

5. St Leucius, Bishop of Brindisi.

Born in Alexandria, he entered a monastery young. He was worthy of great revelations and powerful grace, sufficient to raise the dead and drive demons from men. He was at first Bishop of Alexandria, and went to Italy in response to a command from heaven. He baptised the entire pagan city of Brindisi and built a church there to the Mother of God. After intensive and successful work for the Faith, he entered into eternity in the fifth century, in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius II.

6. Blessed Studios.

A famous nobleman and consul in Constantinople, he founded in 463 the Church of St John the Forerunner near the Golden Gates, and a monastery, named the Studion after him. This monastery became famed for its many great men, spiritual teachers, ascetics and martyrs for the Faith, among whom St Theodore the Studite is the best-known. The Latin Crusaders destroyed this monastery in 1204, but it was restored in 1293 by the Paleologue Emperor Andronicus II. The church, for some centuries a mosque, is now in ruins.


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