Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Joannicius the Great.

This great spiritual light was born in the village of Marykata in the province of Bithynia, of his father Myritrices and his mother Anastasia. He was a shepherd as a youth. Whilst tending his sheep at pasture, he would often retreat into solitude and remain in prayer the whole day, having encircled his flock with the sign of the Cross so that it should not wander off and get lost. After that, he was called into the army, and caused men to marvel at his courage, particularly in the wars against the Bulgarians. After his military service, Joannicius withdrew to Olympus in Asia Minor, where he became a monk and gave himself entirely over to asceticism, persevering in it till his death in great old age. He laboured in the ascetic life for over fifty years in various places, and had from God most abundant gifts of wonderworking: he healed all sicknesses and pains, drove out demons, tamed wild beasts, possessing a particular power over snakes; he walked dryfoot through water, became invisible to men when he so desired and foretold future events. He was distinguished by an outstanding humility and meekness. In outward appearance, he was like a giant, huge and strong. He took an active part in the destiny of God's Church, for, during the iconoclast period he was at first deluded, but then tore himself away and became an ardent defender of reverence towards the icons. He had a great friendship with Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople. Joannicius lived for ninety-four years, and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in 846. He was a great wonderworker both during his lifetime and after his death.

2. The Hieromartyrs Nicander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the Priest.

Both were ordained by the Apostle Titus. They were distinguished by their great zeal for the Faith and their great labours in winning pagans for Christ the Lord. Because of this, a complaint was brought against them before a certain magistrate, Libanus, and he gave them over to fierce torture. They were stoned and dragged over stones; they underwent imprisonment and suffered hunger, and endured many other tortures which no mortal man could endure without God's special aid. The Lord appeared to them in various ways and, when they were thrown into a fiery furnace, sent them His angel to soothe the flames for them. They were finally buried alive by their soul-less tormentors and covered with earth. But it is in vain that men put others to death when the Lord gives life, and they dishonour in vain those whom the Lord glorifies.


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