THE HOLY PRIEST

March 8

From the Prologue

The Emperor Constantine built a cathedral church of special beauty in Antioch. The people called this church "the golden church" because of the gold-plated exterior and interior and because of the many appointments of gold and silver housed in it. The emperor donated a great deal of land to this church for the upkeep of the clergy whose number was significant. The custodian of these appointments and all other precious items in the church was the presbyter Theodoretus,(*) and rare devotion. When Julian the Apostate began his reign, he denied Christ and, even though he was baptized, stirred up a persecution against Christians. Julian, his uncle of the same name, came to Antioch and began to plunder the "golden church." He summoned Theodoretus, the custodian of the treasury, to court and counseled him to deny Christ. Not only did Theodoretus refuse to deny Christ, but he also insulted the Emperor Julian because of his apostasy from the True Faith and his return to idolatry, as a dog returning to his own vomit. When the wicked judge, out of rage, urinated in the "golden church," St. Theodoretus prophesied a horrible death for him, which shortly happened. Theodoretus was beheaded by an axe for his faith in Christ. From the time that Judge Julian had urinated in the church, he felt pains in the lower part of his body. The entire lower half of his body was eaten away by worms, so that he vomited up his apostate soul in the most horrible pains. Also, according to the prophecy of Theodoretus, Felix, Julian's assistant, diedof a hemorrhage from the mouth immediately after the beheading of this righteous man. St. Theodoretus was beheaded in the year 362 A.D. and was translated to the All-glorious kingdom of Christ the King.]

(*) In the Greek Synaxarion, St. Theodoretus is commemorated on March 3.

HYMN OF PRAISE

ADAM'S LAMENT

Outside the empty Paradise, Adam folds his hands,

Banished and alienated he throbbed from pain;

The angels of heaven, until then his companions,

As beautiful dreams, flew hurriedly away,

Before the banished one, before the cursed one,

Until yesterday, the mighty proprietor of Paradise!

And Adam sobbed on the cold boulder:

Woe to my descendants! Woe to me a sinner!

For one moment, my Creator I despised

To be despised by all that was created

Throughout the days and nights, throughout the centuries long,

Instead of God, a serpent to have for a companion!

Instead of me, over all created things to rule,

Over me, now, everything will rule:

The winds and the heat, the elements of nature,

The beasts and scorpions, repulsive things and serpents.

Instead of freedom, behold, fear grips me,

And confuses my thoughts and chills me to the bone.

There is only One Who is able to help:

The One that I offended--Have mercy O God!





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