The Prologue from Ohrid: January 14
1. SAINT SAVA [SABAS], ARCHBISHOP OF THE
Sava was born in 1169 A.D. He was the son of Stephen [Stefan] Nemanja the
Grand Zupan of the Serbs. As a young man, Sava yearned for the spiritual life
for which he fled to the Holy Mountain [Mt. Athos] where he was tonsured a monk
and with rare zeal lived according to the ascetical rule. Stefan Nemanja
followed the example of his son and came to the Holy Mountain where he was
tonsured a monk and died as Simeon, the monk. Sava obtained the independence of
the Serbian Church from the [Byzantine] emperor and patriarch and became the
first Archbishop of the Serbs. Together with his father, he built the Monastery
Hilendar and, after that, many other monasteries, churches and schools
throughout the Serbian lands. On two occasions, he made a pilgrimage to the
sacred places in the Holy Land. He restored peace between his two brothers who
were estranged because of a struggle for power. He restored peace between the
Serbs and their neighbors. In establishing the Serbian Church, he was, through
that, establishing the Serbian State and culture. He instilled peace between all
the Balkan peoples and worked for the benefit of all for which he was loved and
respected by all the Balkan peoples. To the Serbian people he gave a Christian
soul which did not perish with the collapse of the Serbian State. Sava died in
Trnovo, Bulgaria, during the reign of Emperor Asen, having become ill following
the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 12, 1236 A.D. King
Vladislav translated his body to the Mileshevo Monastery from which Sinan Pasha
removed it and burned it on Vracar in Belgrade, April 27, 1595 A.D.
2. VENERABLE MARTYRS: THE FATHERS OF SINAI AND
These holy martyrs, were slain by the Saracens, those fathers of Sinai in the
fourth century and those fathers of Raithu in the fifth century.
3. SAINT HILARY, BISHOP OF POITERS
Hilary was an ardent combatant against the heresy of Arius in the west. He
suffered much because of his defense of Orthodoxy. Hilary wrote many papers; the
most important thesis was about the Holy Trinity. He died in the Lord in the
year 362 A.D.
4. SAINT NINA, THE ENLIGHTENER OF THE
Nina was a relative of St. George the Great Martyr and Juvenal, the Patriarch
of Jerusalem. Her parents belonged to the nobility in Cappadocia and since they
both were tonsured in the monastic state, Nina was educated under the tutelage
of Patriarch Juvenal. Hearing about the people of Georgia, the virgin Nina, from
an early age, desired to go to Georgia and to baptize the Georgians. The
All-Holy Mother of God appeared to Nina and promised to take her to this land.
When our Lord opened the way, the young Nina, indeed, traveled to Georgia where,
in a short period of time, she gained the love of the Georgian people. Nina
succeeded in baptizing the Georgian Emperor Mirian, his wife Nana and their son
Bakar, who, later on, zealously assisted in Nina's missionary work. During her
lifetime, Nina traveled throughout Georgia, mainly to convert the entire nation
to the Faith of Christ, exactly at the time of the terrible persecution of the
Christians at the hands of Emperor Diocletian. Having rested from her many
labors, Nina died in the Lord in the year 335 A.D. Her body is entombed in the
Cathedral Church in Mtzkheta. She worked many miracles during her life and after
HYMN OF PRAISE
Virgin most beautiful, Nina of noble birth,
By Divine Providence became the Apostle to the Georgians,
In defiance of the persecution by Diocletian, the Emperor,
With the Cross, she baptized Emperor Mirian
His wife Nana and his son Bakar,
Through them, all the people and the elite of the leaders,
With the Cross of the Son of God, baptized them all,
Saint Nina, Apostle to the Georgians.
From her youth, Nina prayed to God
That Djul (the Rose) - Georgia, she baptize.
For that which she prayed to God, the good God granted:
From Nina's hand, the Cross shown
To docile Georgia where it shines even now,
Where Nina's hand blesses even now.
There is Nina's grave, overwhich a church glistens,
Glorifying Saint Nina and the Lord Christ.
If, at times, the dogmas of the Faith seem to be like solid food, first
endeavor to fulfill the moral dogmas of Christianity, then the understanding of
the dogmas of the Faith will be revealed to you. Inquisitive questioning of
higher things without effort regarding the improvement of your life does not
bring any benefit. At one time, the monks of Egypt reflected about Melchisedek
and not being able to come to a clear understanding about the mysterious
personality of this ancient king and high priest, invited Abba Copres to their
assembly and asked him about Melchisedek. Upon hearing this, Copres struck
himself three times on the mouth and said, "Woe to you Copres! You left that
which God commanded you to do and you question that which God does not require
of you." Hearing him, the monks were ashamed and dispersed. St. John Chrysostom
writes, "And, if we adhere to the true dogmas and are not concerned about our
behavior, we will not have any kind of benefit; and in the same way, if we
concern ourselves about our behavior and neglect true dogmas, we will receive no
benefit for our salvation. If we want to be delivered from Gehenna and to gain
the kingdom, we need to be adorned on both sides: correctness of dogmas and
To contemplate the mercy of the Lord Jesus:
1. Toward sinners and toward those who are ill;
2. Toward the people who are confused as a flock without a shepherd;
3. Toward mankind in general for whom He allowed Himself to be crucified.
About the visions of the invisible
"We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen" (2
We see this material and transient world, but we look to that spiritual and
We see earthly joy, often interrupted by tears and sighs and, in the end,
always concluded in death; but we look to spiritual joy among the angels and
saints of God in the heavens, to joy uninterrupted and eternal.
We see sufferings and failures of the righteous in this life; but we look at
their glory and celebration in that world.
We see many successes, glory and honor of the unrighteous in this life, but
we see their defeat, condemnation and indescribable torment in eternity.
We see the Church of God often humiliated and persecuted in this world, but
we look to the final victory of the Church over all of her enemies and
adversaries both visible and invisible.
Brethren, we often see tyrants and abductors as rulers and wealthy men in
this age, and we see saints as poor, dejected and forgotten, but we look at the
other kingdom, the Kingdom of God, eternal, sinless and immortal in which the
saints will reign without one, no, not one tyrant or abductor.
O Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may
see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to
fulfill Your law.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.