Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyr Paraskeva (Petka).

She was born in the city of Iconium of rich and Christ-loving parents. After their death, the maiden Paraskeva began to give her goods away to the poor and needy, all in the name of Christ the Lord. When a persecution arose under Diocletian (284-305), Paraskeva was taken for trial before the governor of that area. When the governor asked her name, she said that she was called a Christian. The governor rebuked her for not giving her ordinary name, but Paraskeva said to him: 'I had first to tell you my name in eternal life, and can then give you my name in this transitory life.' After flogging her, the governor threw her into prison, where an angel of God appeared to her and, healing her of her wounds, comforted her. She destroyed all the idols in the pagan temple by her prayers. After long and harsh torture, she was beheaded with the sword and entered into eternal life.

2. St Arsenius, Archbishop of Pec.

A great hierarch of the Serbian Church and the successor of St Sava, Arsenius was born in Srem. He became a monk while still a young man, and gave himself to wholehearted asceticism for his soul's salvation. Hearing of the wonderful personality and deeds of St Sava, Arsenius went to him at Zica, where the saint received him with kindness and drew him into the brotherhood at the monastery. Seeing rare virtues in Arsenius, Sava soon installed him as abbot of the Zica community. When the Hungarians over-ran the land of Serbia, Sava sent Arsenius south to find a more secluded spot for the archiepiscopal seat. Arsenius chose Pec, and there built a monastery and church to the Holy Apostles, which later became dedicated to the Lord's Ascension. Before his second departure for Jerusalem, Sava designated Arsenius to succeed him on the archiepiscopal throne and, when Sava died at Trnovo on his way home, Arsenius urged King Vladislav to take Sava's body onto Serbian soil. He governed the Church wisely for thirty years, and entered into rest in the Lord on October 28th 1266. On the wall of the altar at Pec is written: 'O Lord our God, hearken; visit and bless this church ... remember it, and me, the sinner Arsenius'. He was buried there in the church at Pec.

Translator's note: St Arsenius's relics are now in the monastery of Zhrebaonik in Montenegro.

3. The Holy Martyr Terence.

A Syrian, he suffered for the Christian faith together with his wife and their seven children. After many tortures, during which the power of God was shown, they were all beheaded with the sword.

4. St Stephen of St Sava's.

The writer of many beautiful Canons, he lived in the community of St Sava the Sanctified near Jerusalem. He later became a bishop, and entered peacefully into rest in 807.

5. St Athanasius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

An opponent of union with Rome, in contrast to his predecessor, John Beccus (1275-1282), he was an ascetic and a man of prayer from his childhood. Beloved of the people, he incurred the displeasure of some of the clergy for his moral strictness. He withdrew to his monastery on Mount Ganos, where he lived in even stricter asceticism than formerly. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him and chided him gently for leaving his flock to the wolves. When he had prophesied the day of the earthquake in Constantinople, the Emperor Andronicus called him back to the patriarchal throne, much against his will, and he later secretly withdrew again to his asceticism, entering into rest at the age of a hundred. He was a wonderworker and a seer.

6. St Dimitri, Bishop of Rostov.

A great hierarch, preacher, writer and ascetic, he was born near Kiev in 1651, and died in 1709. Among many other glorious works of instruction that he wrote, especially noteworthy is the translation and publication of the Lives of the Saints. He foresaw his own death three days before, and died while at prayer. He was a great light of the Russian Church, and of Orthodoxy in general. He had heavenly visions during his life; he served the Lord with zeal and entered into the heavenly Kingdom.


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