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The Prologue From Ohrid

MARCH 20 🕪 Recording


This glorious monastery, which still exists today, was visited by our own Serbian St. Saba and endowed by several Serbian rulers. Many times it was attacked by brutal Arabs, pillaged and laid waste. But, by the Divine Providence of God, it was always restored and is preserved until today. During the reign of Constantine and Irene, it was attacked and pillaged by the Arabs. The monks did not want to flee but, counseling with their abbot Thomas, they said, “We have fled from the world into this wilderness for the sake of our love for Christ and it would be shameful if we fled from the wilderness out of fear of men. If we are slain here, we will be slain because of our love for Christ for Whose cause we came to live here.” Having decided, they awaited the armed Arabs, unarmed as lambs before wolves. Some of the monks the Arabs killed with arrows and some they sealed off in the cave of St. Sabas. They lighted a fire at the entrance of the cave and all were suffocated by the smoke. Thus many of them died as martyrs for the sake of Christ and were translated into the Kingdom of Him Whom they loved and for Whose love they perished. They suffered honorably prior to the Feast of the Resurrection in 796 A.D., during the reign of Constantine and Irene and Elijah, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. A just punishment quickly befell these savage attackers. Returning to their tents, they began to quarrel among themselves and in mutual combat all were slain. This occurred in the year 796 A.D.


This was the Samaritan woman who had the rare fortune to converse with the Lord Christ Himself at the Well of Jacob, near Sychar (St. John 4:4-31). Believing in the Lord, Photina afterwards went to preach His Gospel with Victor and Josiah her two sons, and with her five sisters, Anatolia, Phota, Photida, Parasceve and Cyriaca. They had gone to Carthage in Africa. There they were arrested and taken to Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero and were thrown into prison. By God’s Divine Providence, Domnina, the daughter of Nero, came into contact with St. Photina and was converted to the Faith of Christ by her. After imprisonment they all suffered for the sake of Christ. Photina, who for the first time was enlightened with the light of truth at the well of Sychar, was now thrown into a well where she died and entered into the eternal kingdom of Christ.



The Samaritan Woman met Christ at the well.
And was enlightened with the light of Christ, Himself.
Under Nero, her life she ended in another well.
And her spirit she gave to Christ God, her Lord.
Her glorious sons were Victor and Josiah,
Both, the saintly mother enlightened with holiness.
Five sisters suffered for the Name of Christ,
With her were translated to heaven, their reward to receive.
O, penitent Photina, wonderful sufferer,
How your countenance with eternal light now glows.
At one time, not even water did you give to the Savior,
Finally, even your blood for Him, you shed.
Your soul at one time darkened, while yet a Samaritan you were,
When you became a Christian, above the sun’s rays, you shown.
In Sychar, you proclaimed Christ with fear,
In the center of Rome, by your death you witnessed to Him.
Love, every fear, destroys and makes one a hero,
O, Photina, love, forever, glorified you.
Two or three Romes, can Nero burn down
But the soul of Christians cannot burn.
The vessels of clay, Nero can smash
But, over the spirit of Photina, did not have any power.
O, immortal saint, help us now,
By your prayers, before the Throne of Christ the Savior.


God does not punish sinners because it gives Him gratification to destroy men. If that gave Him gratification. He would not have created man out of nothing. He punishes man out of more important constructive reasons, of which two are most apparent to us: First, that by punishment He corrects them and leads him on the true path of salvation; second, to frighten others from sinning. St. Isaac also thinks this when he says, “The just wise man is similar to God, for he punishes man, not to reproach him for his sin but either to correct man or to instill fear in others.” One recalcitrant young man, who ridiculed God and his parents, suddenly went insane. The entire city in which this young man lived saw, in this, the punishment of God and were terrified with the fear of God. The young man was held bound and isolated for three years. His mother wept bitterly and prayed to God for her son. One year, during the Feast of Pentecost, the mother brought her insane son to the monastery of St. Basil in Ostrog. After prayers, the insane youth was cured and became himself again. After that, he became an exemplary person and a true Christian.


To contemplate the Lord Jesus crucified on the cross:
1. How blood flows from His hands and drips to the ground;
2. How blood flows from His feet and drips to the ground;
3. How blood flows from beneath His ribs and drips to the ground.


-About the battle of the Lamb with the beasts-

“They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings” (Revelation 17:14).

Who speaks these marvelous words? John, who saw God. Who is this Lamb? Christ the Lord. Who is this Lord of Lords and King of Kings? Christ the Lord. With whom will He wage war and whom will He defeat? He will defeat the beast which has seven heads and all those whom receive authority, honor and riches from the unclean beast. The Lamb among the beasts! St. John also saw the Lamb as the Victor over all the beasts. Christ among the demons! One would say, “They will devour Him!” Nevertheless, the terrified demons cry out to Him for mercy and flee from Him without turning back. Christ among His tormentors! One would say, “They will destroy Him forever.” Nevertheless, He resurrects and conquers and they flee from Him in terror and perish. The Church among the heathens! One would say, “They will flood her [The Church] like the waves over a small island.” Nevertheless, the pagan kingdoms sank and fell apart and the Church still exists, flourishes and advances. The Faith of Christ among the pungent philosophers and theoreticians! One would say, “They will out-smart it [The Faith] and banish it [The Faith] from the world.” Nevertheless, they steer one another into lies and persecutions but the Faith of Christ saves men. Reverence among the blasphemers of God and apostates from God! One would say, “We will soil it!” Nevertheless, they are smothered in their own filth and reverence preserves itself in unsoiled purity. Christian meekness and tearfulness in the midst of tyrants and abductors! One would say, “It will die of hunger!” Nevertheless, it lives and walks satiated, while the tyrants and abductors suffer from starvation. The Lamb among the beasts! Nevertheless, the Lamb is the Victor.

O Lord, Meek and Good, Lamb of God, all caressing, imbue us with Your meekness and goodness, so that even we may share in Your victory.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.