Prologue Search

1. St Michael, Bishop of Synnada.

From his childhood, this wise and holy hierarch consecrated himself to the service of Christ. He laboured in asceticism together with Saint Theophylact of Nicomedia. Once, in a time of drought, these two holy men caused an abundance of rain to fall on the earth by their prayers. Because of the life of asceticism and chastity that Michael had led from his early youth, he was chosen and consecrated by Patriarch Tarasius as Bishop of Synnada. He took part in the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787. At the wish of the Emperor, he visited Caliph Harun al-Rashid to conduct peace negotiations. In the time of the wicked Emperor Leo the Armenian, he was deposed from his episcopal throne for his veneration of the holy icons and sent into exile, where he died in want and poverty, faithful to Orthodoxy to the end. He entered into the Kingdom of Christ the King in 818.

2. Our Holy Father, the Martyr Michael.

On the death of his parents, this Michael gave all his goods away to orphans and went on pilgrimage to the holy places in Jerusalem. He then entered the monastic community of St Sava the Sanctified and became a monk. Although quite young and ruddy of face, he became withered and pale from much fasting. At that time, the Arabs held sway over Jerusalem. It once happened that Michael's spiritual father sent him to the town to sell some handwork. A eunuch of an Arab princess met him on the street and took him to the princess to display his wares. When the princess beheld the handsome monk, she began to burn with an impure lust, and proposed to the monk a carnal sin such as Potiphar's wife once proposed to chaste Joseph. When. Michael refused her impure suggestion and turned to flee, the enraged princess gave orders that he be beaten with staves and taken to the Sultan with the false accusation of blasphemy against Mahomet. The Sultan urged him to accept Islam, but he refused. They gave him strong poison, hoping to kill him, but he drank it all up with no ill-effect at all. Then the Sultan commanded that he be slain with the sword in the centre of Jerusalem. The monks found his body and carried it to St Sava's monastery, where they gave it burial. St Michael suffered for Christ and was glorified in the 9th century.

3. Our Holy Mother Euphrosyne, Princess of Polotsk.

She was the daughter of Prince Vseslav of Polotsk. When her parents wished her to be married, she ran away to a monastery and became a nun. An angel of the Lord appeared to her three times to show her the place where she was to build a new monastery for virgins. She brought her own sister, Evdokia, into monasticism and many other young girls from the ranks of the aristocracy. One kinswoman of hers, Zvenislava, a princess of Borisov, brought all her wealth, clothing and precious jewels, and said: 'I count all the beauty of this world as naught, and wish to give these fine things, prepared for my marriage, to the Church of the Saviour. And I desire to espouse myself to Him in a spiritual marriage, and to bow my head beneath His easy, and light yoke.' Euphrosyne professed her too, and gave her the name Evpraxia. In old age, Euphrosyne evinced a desire to die in Jerusalem, and prayed for this boon. God heard her prayer, and she did indeed die in the monastery of St Theodosius in Jerusalem on May 23rd, 1173, during a visit there.

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