The Prologue of Ohrid: September 10th
1. The Holy Martyrs Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora.
They were three sisters from some place in Asian Bithynia. Brought up
in a Christian spirit, they withdrew from the city into the desert,
desiring to lift up their minds to God and free themselves from the
illusory world, and thus to live their lives in purity and virginity as
true brides of Christ. They gave themselves to fasting, prayer and
toil, and God adorned them with the gift of wonderworking. When people
began to bring the sick to them for healing, they became known against
their will. A certain governor, Fronton, heard of them and brought them
to trial. Seeing them, the governor was amazed at their beauty, for,
although they were nuns and their bodies were withered, their faces
were radiant, illumined by an inner peace and the grace of God. The
governor at first flattered them and promised to send them to the
Emperor, who would give them in marriage to his nobles, but, when he
realised that his flattery and promises were having no effect on these
brides of Christ the Lord, he ordered that Menodora be put to torture
and her sisters be thrown into prison. After harsh torture, the
governor cried to Menodora, all wounded and covered in blood: 'Offer
sacrifice to the gods!' To this the holy martyr replied: 'Don't you see
that I am doing nothing but offer myself in sacrifice to my God?' When
she expired under torture, the governor brought out her two sisters and
stood them beside Menodora's dead body, and, pointing to it, urged them
to deny Christ. As they remained steadfast, he tortured them to death.
At that, a thunderbolt fell from the sky and killed the soul-less
Fronton and his servants. Christians buried the bodies of these holy
martyrs, who suffered some time between 305 and 311, in the time of
Galerius, and entered into rest in the Kingdom of Christ.
2. St Pulcheria the Empress.
Daughter of the Emperor Arcadius, she vowed to remain in perpetual
virginity, and, as an earnest of this vow, had a table of gold and
precious stones made for the cathedral. She reigned together with her
brother Theodosius the Younger, and was greatly zealous for the
Orthodox faith. It was at her instigation that the Third Ecumenical
Council in Ephesus was summoned, which condemned the Nestorian heresy.
She built the famous church of the Mother of God at Blachernae in
Constantinople. After Theodosius's death, she married Marcian, who was
chosen as Emperor, and lived with him as a brother. It was she who
found the relics of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. She entered into rest
in the Lord on September 10th, 453, at the age of fifty-five.
3. Ss Apollos, Lucius and Clement.
Apostles among the Seventy: Apollos (Acts 18:24-25) was bishop in
Smyrna before St Polycarp. St Lucius (Rom. 16:21) was bishop in
Laodicea and St Clement was bishop in Sardis.
4. The Three Holy Women of Constantinople.
A noblewoman of Constantinople with her two handmaids, they scorned the
vanity of the world and withdrew to solitude, where, after eleven years
of asceticism, they entered into rest in the Lord.