Prologue Search

1. The Feast of the Girdle of the Holy Mother of God.

At her Dormition, the most holy Mother of God left her girdle to the holy Apostle Thomas. This girdle was later taken to Constantinople and kept there in a sealed casket in the church of the Mother of God at Blachemae, founded by the Empress Pulcheria. This casket was never opened until the time of the Emperor Leo the Wise (886-912). Leo's wife, the Empress Zoë, was taken sick in soul and, as the result of a mysterious vision, desired that the girdle of the holy Mother of God be placed upon her. The Emperor asked the Patriarch, and the casket was opened. The girdle was taken out and placed upon the sick Empress, who immediately recovered. This feast was instituted as a memorial of this wonder. One part of this girdle is to be found in Georgia, in Zugdid. This came about as follows: The daughter of the Emperor Romanus was healed by the aid of this girdle and, later, when her father gave her to King Abuchaz of Georgia, she took a part of this girdle with her. By order of the Russian Tsar Alexander 1, a special church was built in Mingrelia in Zugdid, where this piece of the wonderworking raiment of the holy Mother of God is kept.

2. St Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

He followed St Anatolius as Patriarch, and was a contemporary of St Marcian (Jan. 10th) and St Daniel Stylites (Dec. 11th). The famous monastery of the Studion was founded in his time, thus named for the Roman senator Studius, who came to Constantinople and, with Patriarch Gennadius' blessing, built the church of St John the Forerunner and the monastery beside it. Gennadius was very gentle and abstinent. He was never willing to ordain any man who did not know the whole Psalter by heart. He presided at a local Council in Constantinople at which simony in the Church was anathematised. He worked miracles, and learned of his death in a vision. He governed the Church for thirteen years, and went peacefully to the Lord in 471.

3. The Hieromartyr Cyprian.

He was born of unbelieving parents, and was himself reared in paganism. He became known in Carthage as a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric. He was married, but, when he became a Christian, he stopped living with his wife and gave himself to an unceasing study of the Holy Scriptures and the perfecting of his character. For his rare virtues, he was ordained priest and very soon consecrated bishop. He was both compassionate to Christians and firm with heretics. He wrote a number of learned books, guided by the Spirit of God, writing especially strongly against idolatry, Judaism and the Novatian heresy. His writings on virginity, martyrdom, alms, patience, prayer to God and so forth are beautiful and gentle. He suffered in the time of Valerian, in 258. At the time of his death, he prayed to God, blessed the people and left twenty-five gold pieces for the executioner who would behead him. See the matchless generosity and greatness of a true Christian!

4. St John, Metropolitan of Kiev.

A Bulgarian, he went to Kiev in 1080 and at once achieved such eminence that he was quickly raised to the rank of Metropolitan. He wrote a letter to Pope Clement, in which he denounced him for certain practices that the Roman Church had introduced. He governed the Church for eight years, and entered peacefully into rest in 1089.

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