Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Pachomius the Great.

He was an Egyptian by birth and was a pagan in his youth. As a soldier, he took part in the Emperor Constantine's war against Maxentius. After that, learning from Christians about the one God and seeing their devout life, Pachomius was baptised and went to the Tabennisiot desert, to the famous ascetic Palamon, with whom he lived in asceticism for ten years. Then an angel appeared to him in the robes of a monk of the Great Habit at the place called Tabennisi and gave him a tablet on which was written the rule of a cenobitic monastery, commanding him to found such a monastery in that place and prophesying to him that many monks would come to it seeking the salvation of their souls. Obeying the angel of God, Pachomius began building many cells, although there was no-one in that place but himself and his brother John. When his brother grumbled at him for doing this unnecessary building, Pachomius simply told him that he was following God's command, without explaining who would live there, or when. But many men soon assembled in that place, moved by the Spirit of God, and began to live in asceticism under the rule that Pachomius had received from the angel. When the number of monks had increased greatly, Pachomius, step by step, founded six further monasteries. The number of his disciples grew to seven thousand. St Antony is regarded as the founder of the eremitic life, and St Pachomius of the monastic, communal life. The humility, love of toil and abstinence of this holy father were and remain a rare example for the imitation of monks. St Pachomius performed innumerable miracles, and also endured innumerable temptations from demons and men. And he served men as both father and brother. He roused many to set out on the way of salvation, and brought many into the way of truth. He was and remains a great light in the Church and a great witness to the truth and righteousness of Christ. He entered peacefully into rest in 346, at the age of sixty. The Church has raised many of his followers to the ranks of the saints: Theodore, Job, Paphnutius, Pecusius, Athenodorus, Eponichus, Soutus, Psois, Dionysius, Petronius and others.

2. St Achillius, Bishop of Larissa.

This great hierarch and wonderworker was born in Cappadocia. He took part in the First Ecumenical Council, at which he put the heretics to shame and, both by his great learning and his great purity, gave cause for much wonder. Taking up a stone, Achillius called to the Arians: 'If Christ is a creature of God, as you say, tell oil to flow from this stone.' The heretics kept silent, amazed at this demand by St Achillius. Then the saint continued: 'And if the Son of God is equal to the Father, as we believe, then let oil flow from this stone.' And oil flowed out, to the amazement of all. St Achillius entered peacefully into rest in Larissa in the year 330. Samuel, King of Macedonia, when he conquered Thessaly, translated the relics of Achillius to Prespa, to an island in a lake that was named, and is called to this day, Achillius or Ailus.

3. Our Holy Father Silvanus.

He was at first a comedian, mimicking each and all, but then, inflamed by the love of Christ, he became a disciple of St Pachomius. 'I would be ready to give my life,' he said, 'to receive the forgiveness of my sins.'


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