Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyr Aquilina.

Born in the Palestinian town of Biblos of Christian parents, little Aquilina was already, at the age of seven, living as a true Christian, and by the age of ten was so filled with divine understanding and the grace of the Holy Spirit that she used to preach Christ with great power and zeal to her girl friends. When Diocletian's persecution began, Aquilina was handed over to the imperial governor, Volusianus, who was more like a beast than a man. He ordered that she first be flogged and then that a heated rod be passed through her ears and brain. Until the last moment, the virgin Aquilina freely and clearly confessed Christ the Lord; but when her brains started flowing with her blood from her head, she fell as if dead. Believing her to be indeed dead, the governor ordered that her body be taken outside the city and thrown onto a dungheap for the dogs to eat. But, during the night, an angel of God appeared to her and said: 'Arise and be healed!', and the maiden arose and was restored to health, and stood a long time expressing her gratitude and praise to God and begging Him not to deny her a martyr's death. A voice was heard from heaven: 'Go; and it shall be to thee as thou desirest', and Aquilina went into the city. The city gates opened of their own accord for her, and she passed through them and went to the governor's palace like a ghost, standing before his bed and showing herself to him. The governor was seized with unspeakable terror when he saw the maiden whom he had thought dead. On the following day, he ordered the executioner to take Aquilina out and behead her with the sword. Before her execution, she knelt in prayer and surrendered her spirit into God's hands, leaving her dead body to be beheaded by the executioner. Her relics gave healing to many of the sick. St Aquilina was twelve years old when she suffered for the Lord; she endured her Passion and was crowned with a wreath of martyrdom in the year 293.

2. St Triphyllius, Bishop of Levcosia in Cyprus.

A pupil of St Spiridon and later his fellow-bishop on the island of Cyprus, he was a merciful man, pure in thought, chaste in his life, a living fountain of tears', and a great ascetic. He governed Christ's flock well and, when he went to his rest, received his crown among the great hierarchs in heaven. He entered peacefully into rest in 370.

3. St Anna and her son John.

Taken as an orphan into the house of a nobleman and treated as an adopted child, she was cared for and educated in that house. The rich man considered her worthy to be married to his son. When the old man died, the family urged the son to put his wife away because of her low birth and to marry another more suited to his rank and wealth. The rich man's son feared God and did not want to do this. Seeing her husband in difficulties with his family, Anna secretly left him and ran off to a distant island where there was not a living soul. She was pregnant, and soon gave birth to a son. They laboured on the island for thirty years in fasting and prayer. Then, by divine providence, a hieromonk landed on the island. He baptised her son and named him John. Anna lived her ascetic life in the fifth century, and died peacefully.

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