Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Procopius of Decapolis.

This saint came from Decapolis by the Sea of Galilee; hence his name. In youth, he gave himself to the monastic life and passed through all those prescribed labours that purify the heart and uplift the soul to God. When a persecution on the part of the wicked Emperor Leo the Isaurian broke out over icons, Procopius stood up and defended icons, showing that their veneration is not idolatry, for Christians know that to prostrate themselves before icons is not to prostrate before dead matter but before the living saints depicted on the icons. Procopius was bestially tortured, imprisoned, beaten and flogged with iron flails. When the wicked Emperor was murdered, being already a lost soul, the icons were returned to the churches and Procopius returned to his monastery, where he spent his remaining days in peace. In old age, he entered into God's Kingdom, where he beheld with joy the living angels and saints whose images were on the honoured icons on earth. He departed this life peacefully in the 9th century.

2. Our Holy Father Thafeleus, a Syrian hermit.

He was at first in the monastery of St Sava the Sanctified, but then settled in a pagan graveyard, famed for the appearing of evil spirits and bogies. To conquer his terror by faith in God, Thaleleus settled in that graveyard and lived there for many years, enduring much from the fallen spirits both day and night. By his great faith and love towards God, he was endowed by Him with the gift of working wonders, and did much good for the sick and suffering. He died in about 460.

3. Our Holy Father Titus of the Kiev Caves.

Titus was a priest and had a sincere love for a deacon, Evagrius, as brother for brother. But, though such was their love at first, it later became a mutual malice and hatred, sown by the devil. They hated each other so much that, when one of them used the censer in church, the other turned and went outside. Titus tried many times to make peace with his adversary, but in vain. Titus became ill, and all thought that he was dying. He begged that Evagrius be brought to him, that they might forgive each other. Evagrius was brought by force to Titus's bedside, but he fled away, saying that he would not forgive Titus, either in this world or the next. As he said this, he fell to the ground and breathed his last. But Titus rose from his bed healed, and revealed how the demons had flown around him until he forgave Evagrius, and when he had done so, the demons had fled and attacked Evagrius, angels of God surrounding him himself. He died in 1190.

4. Our Holy Father Stephen.

He was first an official at the court of the Emperor Maurice, but then left his courtly service and, urged by the love of Christ, built an almshouse for the elderly in Constantinople. He died peacefully in 614.

5. The Holy Martyr Julian the Gout-Sufferer.

Because of his gout, he was unable either to stand or to walk. He was brought to trial in Alexandria on a stretcher for his faith in Christ and burned alive on a pyre, along with his pupil Chronyon, in the time of the Emperor Decius.

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