The Prologue from Ohrid: January 26
1. THE VENERABLE XENOPHONT AND MARIA AND THEIR SONS
JOHN AND ARCADIUS
They were prominent and wealthy citizens of Constantinople. Xenophont and his
wife Maria lived a God-pleasing life and dedicated all their attention to the
Christian upbringing of their sons. When their sons reached majority, they were
sent to study in Beirut; but it so happened that a storm capsized their boat. By
the Providence of God, John and Arcadius were somehow saved. They were tossed
ashore by the waves but in two different places so that each thought the other
was drowned. Out of grief for each other, they both became monks in two
different monasteries. After two years, their grieving parents came to Jerusalem
on a pilgrimage to pay homage before the holy shrines. There, with the help of
the "discernment" of a spiritual father, first the brothers met and, after that,
the parents with their children. Out of gratitude to God, Xenophont and Maria
distributed their entire estate to the poor and both of them were tonsured. The
history of these four souls is touching and it shows how the Lord wonderfully
guides the fate of those who believe in Him; how He permits pain and sorrow upon
them that they may, later on, be strengthened in faith, in order to lead them
into still greater joy. They lived and died in the Lord in the fifth century.
2. VENERABLE SIMEON THE OLD ONE [VETNI]
Simeon was a companion and friend of St. Paladius. From his early youth until
his death, Simeon lived a life of asceticism in a cave. He established two
monasteries and died in the Lord in the year 390 A.D. He is called the Old One
or Vetni to distinguish him from Simeon the Stylite who, lived an ascetical life
3. SAINT DAVID, EMPEROR OF THE GEORGIANS (1089-1130
David renewed and strengthened the State of Georgia. As a great zealot for
the Christian Faith, he built many new churches and restored the old ones
throughout Georgia. David is considered as the regenerator of the Orthodox Faith
HYMN OF PRAISE
In this strange world, we are exiled,
In a dungeon with royal sons, slaves
Wayward children in sorrow seek their father
The strange world calls them to satiate them with sweetness.
Where will the spirits of the heroes be appeased
In a strange world, whose every sweetness is death?
In a strange world, which breathes death and smells of death,
That which is written in the morning is erased at night.
And the exiled crown prince sighs for the kingdom,
For the immortal kingdom, high above the firmament,
Where the Father rules and nothing is strange,
Where nothing is known about death neither moldy smell.
O, all-amazing world, a frightening cage!
Whoever is bound to Christ, breaks your ties,
And becomes free of everything and everyone,
That one neither goes with you nor flees from you,
But prepares worthily to depart from you
Into the arms of the Father, into the kingdom of freedom.
The greatest treasure of any realm is the saintly and good men who live in
it. Compared to this wealth, all other wealth is as nothing. Devout Christian
emperors considered holy men in their realms as the greatest of God's blessing.
The holy Emperor Constantine the Great spoke: "I give thanks to the Lord Jesus
Christ that in my days there exist three divine lights: Blessed Abba Anthony,
Abba Elenius and Abba Euchius." Before the battle of Kulikovo, crucial for the
Russians, the devout Prince Dimitri of Don, with his chief assistants and dukes,
went to the forest of Radonez to seek out the Venerable Sergius and implored his
intercession before God. Even though the prince prepared his army for a
liberating war against the Tartars, somehow, he placed greater hope in the
prayers of one holy man than in a vast army and many weapons.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as Prophet:
1. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied to individuals (as to: Peter, John and
Judas and the other apostles) that which will happen to them in the future;
2. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied the future of Jerusalem and other
cities, the Jewish people and the Church of God;
3. As a Prophet Who clearly prophesied the end of the world and His Second
About the confusion of those darkened by
"Who is this Who even forgives sins" (St. Luke
Thus asked the unrepentant sinners: "Who is this [Jesus Christ]?"
This is He Who mostly feels the sting of human sin; upon Whom all the
sins of mankind fall as blows. This is He Who, at one time in Paradise,
looked upon man as sinless. This is He Who created man without sin, and
This is He Who Himself is without sin from always and forever.
Only He can forgive who can also seek revenge. The strong man seeks revenge
by reprisal. The weak man seeks revenge by hatred. If you are able to return the
delivered blow and you do not do it, does not mean that you forgave until you
uproot the root of anger from your heart. Great is the One Lord Who can also
seek revenge and forgive. Great is He in His justice for He will seek revenge on
the unrepentant sinner. Great is He in His mercy for He will forgive the
Oh, if only men would know the power of the forgiveness of sins! Behold, when
the sins of the blind man were forgiven, he saw. When the sins of the deaf man
were forgiven, he heard. When the sins of the hunchbacked woman were forgiven,
she stood erect. When the sins of the woman with the issue of blood were
forgiven, she also was healed. When the sins of the man afflicted by insanity
were forgiven, he became sane. When the sins of the man possessed with demons
were forgiven, he was freed. When the sins of the prostitute were forgiven, she
too was cleansed. When the sins of the dead man were forgiven, he also became
Oh, how terrible is the chain of sins! How heavy are the chains of many sins!
These chains are not loosened by sinful hands. But when the hands of the
All-Pure Lord touches them, they, of their own accord, become loosened and fall
apart. When the voice of the Pure One reaches them, they fall apart. And, from
the glance of the Pure One, they fall apart. Yes, even from the thoughts of the
Pure One, they fall apart - these terrible chains of sins. "Who is this Who
even forgives sins?" O sinners, this is the All-Pure Lord and because of
O, Lord, All-Pure and Almighty free us from the chains of sins.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.