Prologue Search

1. The Holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon and Apphia.

Archippus was one of the Seventy. The Apostle Paul mentions him in his Epistles to the Colossians (4:17) and to Philemon (2), calling him his fellow-soldier in the battle. The Christians' gathering-place for prayer in the town of Colossae was in the house of Philemon. The Apostle Paul, writing to Philemon, calls this 'the Church in thy house'. This was in the time when the apostles were consecrating their disciples to the episcopate - some to permanent sees and others as missionaries, travelling to various places. Philemon was one of these latter. Apphia, Philemon's wife, remained to serve the house-church with fasting. At the time of a feast of the pagan goddess Artemis, all the faithful in Colossae were, as was their custom, gathered at prayer in the house of Philemon. The pagans came to hear of this gathering, rushed in on them and seized all the Christians. They flogged Archippus, Philemon and Apphia as their leaders, then buried them up to the waist in the ground and stoned them. Philemon and Apphia died of this, but they took Archippus out of the hole barely alive and left him for the children to play with. They took knives and stabbed him all over, and thus this fellow-soldier of Paul's in the battle made a good end of his earthly road.

2. Our Holy Father Dositheus.

Dositheus was a disciple of the famous Abba Dorotheus, who lived with Saints Seridus, John and Barsanuphius the Great. He was kinsman to a general and travelled to Jerusalem to see the holy places. While he was looking at a picture of the Dreadful Judgement in some church, a woman in purple robes came up and explained many things to him. Finally, at parting, she told him that, if he sought salvation, he must fast and not eat meat, and pray frequently to God. This was the most holy Mother of God. The heart of the young Dositheus was set afire and he desired the monastic life. Dorotheus received him as his cell-servant and commanded him utterly to forsake his own will and obey his spiritual father. He left him for several days to eat as much as he wanted, then after a certain time cut his food down to a quarter, and after a while to a quarter of that, until he became accustomed to living on the smallest amount of food, always telling him: 'Eating is a habit, and one eats what one is used to eating.' He was saved and glorified by total obedience. He remains forever as an example of monastic obedience and devotion to one's spiritual father. This young saint lived early in the 6th century.


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