Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyr Andrew Stratelates.

He was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army in the time of the Emperor Maximian. A Syrian by birth, he served in his native land. When the Persians attacked the imperial Roman army, this Andrew was entrusted with the command in the battle against the enemy whence his title: commander, stratelates. A secret Christian, although as yet unbaptised, Andrew commended himself to the living God, and, taking only the cream of the army, went to war. Before the battle, he told his soldiers that, if they all called upon the aid of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies would become as dust scattered before them. All the soldiers, fired with enthusiasm by Andrew and his faith, invoked Christ's aid and attacked. The Persian army was utterly routed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch, some jealous men denounced him as a Christian and the imperial governor summoned him for trial. Andrew openly proclaimed his steadfast faith in Christ. After harsh torture, the governor threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the Emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew's popularity among the people and in the army, the Emperor ordered the governor to set Andrew free, but to seek another occasion and another excuse (not his faith) to kill him. By God's revelation, Andrew came to know of this imperial command, and, taking his faithful soldiers (2,593 in all) with him, went off to Tarsus in Cilicia, where they were all baptised by the bishop, Peter. Persecuted here also by imperial might, Andrew and his companions withdrew deep into the Armenian mountain of Tavros. There in a ravine, while they were at prayer, the Roman army came upon them and beheaded them all. Not one of them would recant, all being determined on death by martyrdom for Christ. On the spot where a stream of the martyrs' blood flowed down, a spring of healing water sprang forth, healing from every disease. The bishop, Peter, came secretly with his people and buried the martyrs' bodies in that same place. They all suffered with honour at the end of the third century and were crowned with wreaths of eternal glory, entering into the Kingdom of Christ our God.

2. Our Holy Father Theophanes.

Born in Jannina, he left everything as a young man and went to the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk in the monastery of Docheiariou. In fasting, prayer, vigils and the stripping away of all that was unnecessary, he stood out among all the monks, and was consequently chosen in due time as abbot. Later, through some disagreement with the monks, he left the Holy Mountain and, with his nephew, went to Berea in Macedonia, where he founded a monastery dedicated to the most holy Mother of God. When this monastery began to flower with the spiritual life, he left his nephew in charge and went to Naousa, where he founded another monastery, in honour of the Holy Archangels. He died peacefully some time in the fifteenth century. His wonderworking relics rest today in Naousa, and reveal God's great power.

3. The Holy Martyrs Timothy, Agapius and Thecla.

They suffered for Christ in the time of the wicked Emperor Diocletian. Timothy was burned by fire, and Agapius and Thecla thrown to the wild beasts.

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