Prologue Search

1. Our Holy Father Chariton the Confessor.

Chariton was an eminent and devout citizen of the city of Iconium. Imbued with the spirit of his compatriot, St Thecla, Chariton openly confessed the name of Christ. When a harsh persecution of Christians broke out under the Emperor Aurelian, Chariton was immediately brought to trial before the governor. The judge ordered him to worship false gods, to which Chariton replied: 'All your gods are furies, which were aforetime through pride cast out from heaven into the nethermost hell.' Chariton openly showed his faith in the one, living God, the Creator of all, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. Then the governor ordered that Chariton be so beaten and tortured that his whole body became covered with wounds until it was like one great wound. After the evil death of Aurelian, whose evil-doing caught up with him in the end, Chariton was released from torture and imprisonment. He travelled to Jerusalem, but on the way was seized by robbers from whom he was freed by God's providence. He did not return to Iconium, but withdrew to the wilderness of Pharan, where he founded a community and gathered a group of monks together. Having given a rule to this community and desiring to escape the praise of men, he withdrew to another desert near Jericho where, in time, he founded another community, called after him. He finally founded another community, Souka, called in Greek the Old Lavra. He died at a great age and entered into the glory of his Lord on September 28th, 350, and his relics are preserved in his first monastery. The practice of tonsuring monks is attributed to St Chariton.

2. The Holy Prophet Baruch.

A disciple and faithful friend of the holy prophet Jeremiah, he foretold the return of the Jews from slavery in Babylon and the coming of the Son of God on earth. It is held that he was killed by the Jews in Egypt, as was the Prophet Jeremiah, in the seventh century before Christ.

3. The Holy Martyr Mark the Shepherd.

In the time of Diocletian, Magnus, governor of Antioch, went hunting with his soldiers. Chasing a wild beast, the soldiers saw that it fled to the shepherd, Mark, who was keeping his flocks just there. The beast stood fawning around Mark, the man of God. Seeing this, thirty of the soldiers, being instructed in the Faith by Mark, came to belief in Christ and were immediately beheaded. The governor bound Mark, took him to the town, summoned three brothers, Alexander, Alphaeus and Zossima, and ordered them to make instruments of torture to use on Mark, but the three of them, having talked with St Mark, embraced the Christian faith and refused the governor's command. The governor condemned them to death, and ordered that molten lead be poured into their mouths. After this, holy Mark was beheaded and his body placed in the temple of Artemis, which temple was then destroyed by God's power.

4. The Holy Martyr Vatsfav (Wenceslas), King of the Czechs.

The grandson of St Ludmilia, he lived as king in spiritual striving in the Faith like the great ascetics, and strengthened the Orthodox faith among his people. He took care when sitting in judgement that no innocent man should suffer. In his zeal for the Christian faith and his love for his neighbour, holy Vatslav bought pagan children who had been sold as slaves and immediately baptised them, bringing them up as Christians. He translated St John's Gospel into Czech and brought the relics of St Vitus and his grandmother, Ludmilia, to Prague. His brother Boleslav invited him to stay and killed him at his court. Immediately after this, Boleslav began to make German priests and to have the Liturgy celebrated in Latin. Holy Vatslav suffered in 919. His relics are reserved in Prague.


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