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The Prologue From Ohrid

MAY 2 🕪 Recording


During the reign of Emperor Hardrian (117-138 A.D.), a pagan named Catallus purchased as slaves Hesperus, his wife Zoe and their sons Cyriac and Theodulus. Since they were steadfast Christians, they would not taste anything of the sacrifices to the idols and, that which was offered to them, they tossed to the dogs and they themselves hungered but endured. Learning of this, Catallus became enraged and began to cruelly torture his slaves. At first he tortured the children, but the children remained unwavering in the Faith and, even more, sought harsher torture from their persecutors. Finally, all four were thrown into a fiery furnace where, after prayers of thanksgiving, they gave up their souls to the Lord. Their bodies remained intact and were not consumed by the fire.


On this day the translation of the relics of St. Athanasius, as well as the miracles performed by his relics, is commemorated. The life and work of this great saint is recorded on January 18.


Boris and Gleb were the sons of the great Prince Vladimir, the baptizer of the Russian people. Until his baptism, Vladimir had numerous wives and many children by them. Boris and Gleb were brothers of the same mother. Before his death Vladimir divided up the State among all of his sons. But, Svyatpolk his eldest son, the Prince of Kiev, also desired to usurp the portions intended for Boris and Gleb. That is why he dispatched men to murder Boris who was in one place and to murder Gleb who was in another place. Both brothers were exceptionally pious and, in all things, pleasing to God. They encountered death with prayer and the uplifting of their hearts to God. Their bodies remained uncorrupt and fragrant. Boris and Gleb were buried in Vishgorod where, even today, a blessed power comes from their bodies, which heals men from various diseases and sufferings.


Boris was born and educated as a pagan and was baptized under the influence of his uncle Bojan and his sister. At baptism, he was given the name Michael. Patriarch Photius sent him priests who gradually baptized all the Bulgarian people. Many Bulgarian noblemen opposed this new Faith but the new Faith conquered and the Cross glistened on many churches built by the devout Tsar Michael. The Faith among the Bulgarians, as among the Serbs, was especially established by the Five Followers, the disciples of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who preached to the people the knowledge of Christ in the vernacular: the Slavonic language.

In his old age Michael retreated to a monastery and was tonsured a monk. When his son Vladimir began to destroy his father’s work and to exterminate Christianity, Michael again donned his military uniform, girded himself with a sword, ousted Vladimir from the throne and installed Simeon, his younger son, as Tsar. After that, he again clothed himself in the monastic habit and retreated in silence where, in mortification and prayer, he completed his earthly life “in the good faith; in the correct confession of our Lord Jesus Christ; great, honorable and devout,” and took up habitation in the heavenly life on May 2, 906 A.D.



Michael the Bulgarian, the people with the Cross he baptized,
Numbered the pagans, into the flock of Christ,
And by his example, touched the hearts of men,
That the saving faith, men may love.
Built churches and paganism weeded out
And in himself, the Spirit of God glorified.
In addition, the glory and vanity of men, he abandoned.
To men, he taught truth and justice.
Did not himself, pity because of God’s Name
And for the sake of the salvation of the Bulgarian people.
Wedded was he on earth with a wreath of reigning,
And in heaven, with a wreath of eternal rejoicing.


Blessed Maksim, “fool for Christ,” walked about unclad throughout the streets of Moscow in winter. In response to the advice of men that he dress and protect himself from the cold, Maxim was known to respond: “Yes, it is bitterly cold, but Paradise is sweet!” He also responded: “For patience, God grants salvation!” When Christ Himself did not feel sorrow to give Himself over to suffering and death, why should we feel sorry for ourselves because of ourselves? He [Christ] prescribed a recipe for us; a diet for our spiritual restoration to health and He called that “an easy yoke.” “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (St. Matthew 11:30). The yoke which we impose upon ourselves is much heavier, for this yoke pulls us down deeper and deeper into spiritual illness. The earth seeks much greater sacrifices from us and does not promise us any reward after death. The earth seeks that we sacrifice even God, soul, conscience, mind and all of human and divine dignity to it and, for this, it shows a dark and putrid grave as the end of everything and reward for all. Christ seeks that we sacrifice only the earth, our beastliness and sin, vice and all wickedness and, for that. He promises resurrection and eternal life in Paradise. “Yes, it is bitterly cold, but Paradise is sweet!”


To contemplate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus:
1. How the disciples worship Him;
2. How they return to Jerusalem with great joy.


-About the source of living water and the dry cistern-

“Be amazed at this, O heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the Lord. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken Me, the source of living waters. They have dug, themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water (Jeremiah 2: 12-13).”

Is this spoken only for then or also for us today? Certainly for us today. Is this spoken only for the Jewish people or also for our people? Certainly for our people also. As it is said: Do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness. It was said not only for that time but also for all times and not only for the Jewish people but for all peoples. And so this also. This is valid today and always, for all peoples and for every man who turns his back on the source of living water in his own backyard and digs a cistern and drinks rain water from it.

The Source of living water is the Lord Himself: inexhaustible, copius and sweet. The cistern is every man’s work which is performed in opposition to God and God’s law, and from which men expect progress, happiness and satisfaction for their hunger and thirst. Such is the cistern of godlessness, avarice, gluttony, immorality, love of power, vanity, idolatry, soothsaying, and all the other things that have the devil as their advisor, sin as their digger, and false hope for their water-carrier. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, says the Lord. Be astonished at how man could become so senseless, forsaking the living water and digging a cistern in live coals that inflame his thirst even more!

O brethren, our people have also committed two evils for they forgot the Lord as the source of every good and because they went to seek, for themselves, good in evil and good through evil. Can water be found in fire? Or wheat in sand? It cannot; cannot, brethren. Even less can peace, happiness, joy and life or any other good be found in the cisterns of sin and godlessness.

O Lord, immortal source of every good which the heart of man can desire and which the mind of man can imagine, have mercy on us sinners and unworthy ones. With Your powerful right hand, turn us away from our godless and vain works and quench us with Your sweet and living water.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.