The Prologue from Ohrid: June 28
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS CYRUS AND JOHN
These holy martyrs are celebrated on January 31. On that date, their lives
and sufferings are chronicled. June 28 commemorates the translation of their
relics from Canopus to Menuthis and the numerous miracles which occurred over
their relics. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, prayed fervently to God to
destroy the idolatrous impurity in the town of Menuthis where a pagan temple was
located and where the power of the demons ruled. An angel of God appeared to
the patriarch and told him that Menuthis would be cleansed of its impurity if he
translated the relics of Saints Cyrus and John to that town. The patriarch did
this immediately. He translated the relics of the martyrs to Menuthis and built
a church there in honor of Saints Cyrus and John. Ammonius, the son of Julian
the mayor of Alexandria, was healed of scorfula; a Theodore healed of blindness;
Isidore of Menuthis was cured of a decaying disease of the liver; the wife of
Theodore from poisoning, a Eugenia of dropsy as well as many other people were
healed of various diseases and torments by the relics of these saints. This all
occurred in the year 412 A.D.
2. VENERABLE SENNUPHIUS, "THE
Sennuphius was a great ascetic and miracle-worker of the Egyptian desert.
He was a contemporary of Patriarch Theophilus and Emperor Theodosius the Great.
He is called the "Standard-bearer" because by his prayers he once
helped Emperor Theodosius to gain a victory over the army of his adversaries.
When the emperor summoned Sennuphius to Constantinople, Sennuphius replied that
he was unable to do so but sent him his tattered monastic habit and staff.
Setting out to battle the emperor donned Sennuphius' monastic habit and carried
the staff and returned victorious from battle.
3. VENERABLE PAUL, THE PHYSICIAN
Paul was a Corinthian by birth. Completing his schooling, Paul withdrew to
a monastery and was tonsured a monk. He had a difficult struggle with the
impure spirit of fornication. However, when with the power of the cross he
drove the impure spirit of fornication away from himself, that spirit created a
malicious falsehood, i.e., [the spirit] gave approval to a depraved woman to say
that she had given birth to a child by Paul. The heretics then dragged him from
the monastery, placed the child in his arms and forced him to walk throughout
the town for the people to spit on him. The baby was only a few days old. St.
Paul prayed fervently to God and said to the people: "Behold, let the child
himself say who is his father." The child stretched out its hand from the
swaddling clothes and pointed to a blacksmith and said: "That man is my
father and not Paul the monk!" The adversaries of Paul became ashamed and
God granted great healing powers to Paul so that when he placed his hand on the
sick, they became whole. Paul reposed peacefully in old age pleasing God by his
life on earth. He lived in the seventh century.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Sennuphius the Elder, in the wilderness fasts,
His body passionless, as dry bones,
But from a dry stone, as water one time,
From him flows, the Grace of the Holy Spirit;
In a deadened body, is hidden a spirit powerful
That, the glorious Emperor Theodosius heard,
And, when to set out for war, the emperor wanted,
Invited the Elder Sennuphius to come,
His blessing to give, that the emperor the devil to crush,
Numerous gifts to him, the emperor promised.
The Elder Sennuphius, into tears broke out,
To Emperor Theodosius, a reply he sends,
The roads are too distant, that he cannot come,
And with worries, cannot confuse his prayer,
For every gift, gives thanks to the emperor
And to him [Theodosius], his old monastic habit he sends,
Along with the cassock, an old staff he sends,
This, to the emperor, the gifts from the monk were!
The staff, let the emperor to take, and the habit to don,
And, in battle, every adversary he will defeat.
As a monk attired, the emperor for battle set out
Glorious victor from battle he returned.
The emperor, a pillar of victory in the city erected,
His likeness as a monk on top of the pillar, he placed,
That the faith of Emperor Theodosius, the world remembers
And of Saint Sennuphius, the miraculous power.
Protestants have rejected the miracles of God through material things. By
doing this they thought to despiritualize the Christian Faith however, in doing
this, they have impoverished and deformed Christianity. They have rejected the
action of God's power through icons, through the relics of the saints, through
the Cross and, finally, some of them even through the power of Holy Communion.
If they were to follow this erroneous path, they would have to reject even the
miracles which have occurred from the living body of the Lord Jesus, for His
body was material; the same with the miracles by the touch of the apostles'
hands and the hands of the saints, for these hands are also material and not
even to mention the rod of Moses, or the vesture of the All-holy Birth-giver of
God, of the handkerchief of the Apostle Paul and so forth. In their rejection,
Protestants stand in contradiction to the entire ancient Church. Here is one
out of thousands and thousands of proofs that God acts through things,
especially when He wants to glorify His saints: there was a tall pillar erected
in Alexandria bearing the statue of Emperor Theodosius dressed in monastic habit
and with a monastic staff in his hand. This pillar served as a memorial of the
emperor's victory which he, clad in the monastic habit of St. Sennuphius and
with Sennuphius' staff in his hands, carried against his adversaries. When God
wills, then even one garment of a saint conquers the powerful armies of
unbelievers. Who would dare to limit the actions or the methods of action of
the power of the Almighty God?
To contemplate the miraculous healing of the ten lepers: "And as He
entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers which
stood afar off" (St. Luke 17:12):
1. How the Lord by the power of His word healed the ten lepers who prayed to
2. How, even I, spiritually and morally leprous, the Lord can heal if I cry
out to Him.
"But as the One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all
your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15).
Brethren, holiness is a virtue which encompasses all other virtues. Hence
brethren, a saint is a man adorned with all virtues. But if a man is prayerful
and is not compassionate, he cannot be called holy. Or, if a man endures but
without faith and hope he cannot be numbered among the saints. Or, if a man is
very compassionate but without faith in God in truth, such a man cannot be
numbered among the saints. A saint is a perfect man such as Adam was in
Paradise; or even better, such as the New Adam was, the Lord Jesus Christ. This
is the Saint above the saints. This is the Sower of holiness on earth and the
Nurturer of the saints in history. He called us to the dignity of the saints.
He showed us the example of a true saint. He is the prototype of the saints as
He is the arch-type of man. A true man, my brethren, does not mean anything
else but a saint. A saint and a man, that is one and the same. He showed us
what it means to be a man and what it means to be a saint. The Apostle Peter
commands us: "Be you also holy in all your [living] behavior!" A
saint is not a saint in one aspect of his life but rather in every aspect of his
entire life. We must be holy in every work and aspect of our life in order to
be numbered among the saints, i.e., among men according to the prototype of the
saints and the arch-type of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
O All-holy Lord, To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.