Prologue Search

1. The Hieromartyr Acepsimas, Bishop of Naeson, and others with him.

The eighty-year-old Acepsimas, filled with every Christian virtue, was sitting one day in his house with his guests when a child, filled with the Spirit of God, ran up to the aged bishop, kissed him on the head, and said: 'Blessed is this head, for it will be martyred for Christ!' This prophecy was soon fulfilled. King Sapor raised a fierce persecution of Christians throughout Persia, and St Acepsimas was seized and taken before a prince who was also a pagan priest. When the bishop had been arrested and bound, he was approached by one of his household, who asked him what he wanted done about his house. The saint replied: 'It's no longer my house; I'm going to a higher home, and shall not return.' After long interrogation, he was thrown into prison, whence, the next day, were brought a seventy year-old priest called Joseph and a deacon, Aeithalas. After three years' imprisonment and many sufferings, Acepsimas was beheaded, and Joseph and Aeithalas were buried up to the waist in the ground, being stoned by a group of men who were without mercy towards Christians. Joseph's body, by God's providence, disappeared that night, and above Aeithalas's body there grew a tree, which healed all manner of disease and pain. Five years passed, then the wicked and jealous pagans cut down this tree. These soldiers of Christ suffered in Persia in the fourth century, in the time of the pagan King Sapor.

2. The Holy and Great Martyr George.

On this day we celebrate the translation of St George's relics from Nicomedia to the city of Lydda in Palestine, where he suffered in the time of the Emperor Diocletian (284-305). The sufferings of this wonderful saint are recorded on April 23rd. At the time of his death, St George asked his servant to take his body and carry it to Palestine, to the place where his mother was born, and where he had much land that he had given away to the poor. His servant did this. In the time of the Emperor Constantine (305-337), a beautiful church was built in Lydda by devout Christians, and. on the occasion of the consecration of that church, the saint's relics were translated and buried there. Innumerable miracles have been wrought by the relics of St George, Christ's great martyr.

3. Our Holy Father Elias of Egypt.

He lived in asceticism near Antinoe, the capital of the Thebaid. He spent seventy years on and inaccessible rocks in the wilderness. He ate only bread and dates and, as a young man, fasted whole weeks at a time. He healed all manner of pains and weaknesses. He became very shaky in old age, and entered into rest at the age of 110, going to the joy of his Lord. 'Keep your mind from malicious thoughts of your neighbours, knowing that such thoughts are hurled by diabolical power, to keep your mind from your own sins and from seeking God', he said.


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