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1. St Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem.

Born in Jerusalem in the time of Constantine the Great, he died in 386, in the time of Theodosius the Great. He was ordained priest in 346, and in 350 succeeded the blessed Patriarch Maximus on the patriarchal throne of Jerusalem. He was three times deposed from his throne and sent into exile; until in the end, in the time of Theodosius, he did not return but lived a further eight years in peace and gave his soul to the Lord. He had two great struggles: one against the Arians, who became strong under Constans, Constantine's son, and the other in the time of Julian the Apostate, with this renegade and with the Jews. In a time of Arian domination, at Pentecost, the sign of the Cross, brighter than the sun, appeared stretching over Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and remaining several hours from nine o'clock in the morning. A letter was sent to the Emperor Constans about this happening, which was seen by all living in Jerusalem, and this served for the strengthening of Orthodoxy against the heretics. In the time of the Apostate, another sign took place. In order to humiliate the Christians, Julian arranged with the Jews for them to rebuild the Temple of Solomon. Cyril prayed to God that this should not happen. And there was a terrible earthquake which destroyed all that had been newly-built. The Jews began again, but again there was an earthquake, that destroyed not only the new building but also the old stones that were still in place beneath the earth. And so the words of the Lord came true: 'Not one stone shall remain on another.' Of this saint's many writings there has been kept his 'Catecheses', a first-class work, which sets out the faith and practice of Orthodoxy to the present day. A rare arch-pastor and a great ascetic, he was meek, humble, worn out by fasting and pale of face. After a life of great labour and knightly battle for the Orthodox faith, he entered peacefully into rest and went to the eternal courts of the Lord.

2. Aninus the Wonderworker.

Born in Chalce on, he was little of stature, like Zaccheu , but great in spirit and faith. He denied himself to the world at the age of fifteen and settled near the River Euphrates in a little hut, where he atoned for his sins and prayed to God, at first with his teacher Mayum and than, after Mayum's death, alone. By the power of his prayers he filled an empty well with water, healed the sick of various pains and tamed wild beasts. There was a tamed lion with him as his servant. He had insight into distant happenings. When robbers attacked a stylite, Pionius, at some distance from him, and beat him up to such an extent that he decided to come down from his pillar and go to complain to the judges, St Aninus saw his intention in his soul and sent him a letter by means of his lion, telling him to set aside his intention, to forgive his assaulters and to continue in his asceticism. He was inexpressibly generous. The bishop of Neo-Caesarea made a gift to him of a donkey, to ease his carrying of water from the river, but he gave this donkey to some poor man who had complained to him of his poverty. The bishop gave him a second donkey, but he gave that away. Then the bishop gave him a third donkey, not for his own but only to serve as a water-carrier, to be kept and returned. At the time of his death, he saw Moses, Aaron and Or coming to him and calling: 'Aninus, the Lord is calling you. Get up and come with us.' This he revealed to his disciples, and gave his spirit to the Lord whom he had served so faithfully. He was 110 years old when he finished his earthly course.


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