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1. The Holy Apostle Thomas.

He was one of the twelve Great Apostles. Through his doubt of the Resurrection of the Lord Christ, a new confirmation was given of that wonderful and saving event, for the risen Lord appeared again to His disciples, to convince Thomas. The Lord said to Thomas: 'Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing', and Thomas cried: 'My Lord and my God! (John 20). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the apostles cast lots to see who would go where to preach the Gospel, it fell to Thomas to got to India. He was somewhat saddened at having to go so far away, but the Lord appeared to him and comforted him. In India, St Thomas converted many, both rich and poor, to the Christian faith, and founded a Church there, making priests and bishops. Among others, St Thomas converted two sisters, Tertiana and Mygdonia, wives of Indian princes. Both sisters were ill-treated for their faith by their husbands, who would not live with them after their baptism, and divorced them. Being freed from their marriages, they lived godly lives till their deaths. Dionysius and Pelagia, a couple at first betrothed to each other, heard the Apostle's teaching and did not live together, but devoted themselves to the ascetic life. Pelagia died a martyr for the Faith and Dionvsius was made bishop by the Apostle. Prince Misdaeus, the husband of Tertiana, whose wife and son luzanes Thomas baptised, condemned the Apostle to death, and sent five soldiers who ran him through with their lances, and thus the holy Apostle Thomas gave his soul into the hands of his Christ. Before his death, he, with the other apostles, was miraculously borne to Jerusalem for the funeral of the most holy Mother of God. Arriving late, he grieved bitterly and, at his request, the tomb of the Most Pure was opened, but the body was not there; the Lord had taken His Mother to His heavenly home. Thus St Thomas first, by his unbelief, confirmed the faith in the Resurrection of the Lord and then, by his late arrival, revealed to us the wondrous glorification of the Mother of God.

2. Our Holy Father, the New Martyr Macarius.

Born in Cion in Bithynia, of Christian parents Peter and Anthusa, he was baptised with the name Manuel. His parents had him taught tailoring as a trade, then his father embraced Islam and moved to Brussa. Once, when Manuel went to Brussa in the course of his work, his father found him and put great pressure on him to follow his example. Manuel refused, but in vain: the Turks circumcised him by force. Then Manuel fled to the Holy Mountain and became a monk in the skete of St Anne, receiving the name Macarius. He was a model monk for twelve years, but his soul could find no peace. 'Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father' (Matt. 10: 33) - these words of Christ's were constantly ringing in Macarius' ears. He therefore resolved, with his elder's blessing, to go to Brussa and openly confess his faith in Christ before the Turks, calling Mahomet a false prophet. After being flogged for a hundred and thirty days and enduring even harsher tortures, he was beheaded with the sword in Brussa on October 6th, 1590. A part of his wonderworking relics is preserved in the skete of St Anne on Mount Athos.


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