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1. Ss Cyril and Methodius, Equal to the Apostles.

They were brothers from Salonica, of eminent and wealthy parents, Leo and Maria. The elder brother, Methodius, spent ten years as an officer among the Slavs in Macedonia, and thus learned the Slavic language. After that, Methodius went off to Olympus and gave himself to monastic asceticism, and Cyril (Constantine) later joined him there. When the Khazarite king, Kagan, sought preachers of the Christian faith from the Emperor Michael, the Emperor commanded that these two brothers be found and sent to the Khazars. They converted Kagan to the Christian faith and baptised him, together with a great number of his nobles and an even greater number of the people. After some time, they returned to Constantinople, where they compiled a Slavic alphabet of 38 letters and began to translate the service books from Greek into Slavonic. At the invitation of Prince Rastislav, they went to Moravia, where, with great devotion, they spread and confirmed the Faith, made more copies of the books, brought them priests and taught the young. They went to Rome at the invitation of the Pope, and Cyril fell ill and died there, on February 14th, 869. Then Methodius returned to Moravia and laboured at the confirming of the Faith among the Slavs until his death. After his death - he entered into rest in the Lord on April 6th, 885 - his disciples, the Five Followers, with St Clement as bishop at the beginning, crossed the Danube and moved towards the south, to Macedonia, where, from Ochrid, they continued the work among the Slavs that Cyril and Methodius had begun in the north.

2. The Hieromartyr Mocius.

A Roman by birth, and a priest in Amphipolis in Macedonia, he suffered in the time of Diocletian. He destroyed a statue of the god Dionysius by his prayers, which roused some of the pagans to fury against him but brought others to the Faith. He was beheaded for Christ in 295.

3. St Nicodemus, Archbishop of Pec.

This great hierarch was a Serb by birth. He lived in asceticism on the Holy Mountain, and was abbot of Hilandar. After the death of Sava the Third, he was chosen as archbishop of 'all the Serbian lands and those bordering the sea', in 1317. He crowned King Milutin in 1321. He also translated the Jerusalem Typikon* into Serbian. In the Preface of this book he says: 'Almighty God, who knows our weaknesses, will give us spiritual strength, but only if we first make an effort.' He sincerely loved the ascetic life, and laboured to deepen it in the land of Serbia. He laboured tirelessly to uproot the Bogomil heresy and confirm the Orthodox faith. He entered into rest in the Lord in 1325 and his wonderworking relics are preserved in the monastery at Pec.

*A Typikon is a book of rubrics for the ordering of church services and of monastic life - Translator.

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