Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Simeon Stylites of the Wonderful Mountain.

This wonderful and holy man was born in Antioch in 522, in the reign of the Emperor Justin I the Elder. His father perished in an earthquake and he was left alone with his mother, Martha. When he was six years old, he went away into the desert to John, a spiritual teacher there and, under his guidance, gave himself to a strict asceticism of fasting and prayer, to the wonderment of all who saw him. Whilst enduring fearful demonic trials, he received great comfort and grace from the Lord and His angels. Christ the Lord appeared to him in the form of a handsome youth, and, after this vision, Simeon's heart was inflamed with great love for Christ. He spent many years on a pillar, praying and singing psalms. Led by God, he took himself off to the mountain called `Wonderful' by the Lord Himself, and is known as 'of the Wonderful Mountain' because of this. The measure of his love for God was such that rare grace was given him, by the help of which he was able to heal every sort of illness, tame wild beasts and perceive the most distant regions of the earth and the hearts of men. He was taken out of the body and saw the heavens, conversed with angels, harried the demons, prophesied, spent thirty days at a time without sleep and even longer without food, receiving nourishment at the hands of angels. The words of the Saviour: 'He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do' (Jn 14:12), were completely fulfilled in him. In the year 596, at the age of seventy-five, Simeon went to the Lord, to the eternal enjoyment of the vision of the face of God in the company of the angels.

2. The Holy Martyr Meletius Stratelates, with 1218 soldiers and their wives and children.

Accused of the destruction of a pagan temple in the reign of the Emperor Antoninus, Meletius gave forth his holy soul nailed to a tree. Many solders under his command, who refused to deny Christ their Lord, suffered with honour in the second century, an went to the Kingdom of Christ our God.

3. Our Holy Father Nikita Stylites.

He lived an unrestrained and vicious life as a youth. When once he happened to enter a church, he heard the words of the Prophet Isaiah: 'Wash you (your sins), make you clean' (1:16). The words penetrated deeply into his soul, and effected a complete change in his life. Nikita left his home, his wife and his land and entered a monastery close to Pereyaslavl, where he laboured until his death in strict asceticism. He enveloped his body in chains and shut himself up in a pillar, being therefore known as a Stylite. God granted him great grace, and he healed people afflicted with various torments. He healed Michael, Prince of Chernigov, of palsy. One day some evildoers saw the chains on him and, seeing them gleam, thought them to be silver, so they killed him one night, took the chains off him and carried them away. This happened on May 16th, 1186. He appeared to a certain elder, Simeon, after his death and told him to place the chains, when they were found, in the grave beside his body.

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