Prologue Search

1. The Holy Martyrs Vera, Nada and Lubov (Faith, Hope and Love), and their mother Sophia.

They lived and suffered in Rome in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. The wise Sophia (as her name - Sophia - wisdom, indicates) was left a widow and, as a Christian, steeped herself and her daughters in the Christian faith. At the time that Hadrian's persecuting hand stretched out over the virtuous house of Sophia, Vera was twelve, Nada ten and Lubov nine. The four of them were brought before the Emperor, with their arms entwined 'like a woven wreath', humbly but firmly confessing their faith in Christ the Lord and refusing to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. At the moment of their passion, the mother urged her valiant daughters to endure to the end: 'Your heavenly Lover, Jesus Christ, is eternal health, inexpressible beauty and life eternal. When your bodies are slain by torture, He will clothe you in incorruption and the wounds on your bodies will shine in heaven like the stars.' The torturers inflicted harsh torture on Vera, Nada and Lubov one by one. They beat them, stabbed them and threw them into fire and boiling pitch, and finally beheaded them one after the other. Sophia took the dead bodies of her daughters out of the town and buried them, and stayed by their grave in prayer for three days and nights, then gave her soul to God, hastening to the heavenly company where the blessed souls of her daughters awaited her.

2. The Holy Martyr Agathocleia.

She was a servant of one Nicolas and his wife Paulina, who were at first Christians but forsook Christianity and turned again to idol-worship. Holy Agathocleia refused to follow the example of her masters, and for this was harshly tortured both by them and by the judge. Finally, her mistress killed her by pouring burning coals on her neck, but God glorified His handmaid in His heavenly kingdom.

3. The 156 Holy Martyrs of Egypt.

They were all Egyptians, and suffered for Christ the Lord in 310, some by the sword and some by fire. Among them were two old bishops, Peleus and Nilus, a priest, Zeno, and two renowned men, Patermuthius and Elias. With them also suffered Bishop Silvanus and an eminent, blind old man, John, who knew the Scriptures by heart and recited them to gatherings of Christians. They were all crowned with wreaths and entered into the eternal Kingdom of Christ.

4. The Holy Martyr Theodota.

She endured eight years of harsh torture on the part of the governor, Simplicius, who finally went out of his mind. She was beheaded with the sword in the time of the Emperor Alexander Severus, in about 230.


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