The Holy Prophet Jeremiah.

Commemorated May 1 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

Born 650 years before Christ in the village of Anathoth, not far from Jerusalem, he began to prophesy at an early age, during the reign of King Josiah (Jer. 1:1- 19). He preached repentance to the King and nobles and the false prophets and priests, and, in the time of that King Josiah, barely escaped death at the hands of the enraged nobles. He prophesied to King Jehoiakim that his burial would be like that of an ass; that is, he would be cast dead out of Jerusalem and his body would be for a long time dragged around the ground without burial (22:18). For this, Jeremiah was thrown into prison. Being unable to write there, he sent for Baruch, who stood outside the window of the prison while Jeremiah dictated to him. When the King read this prophecy, he took the paper in fury and threw it into the fire. By the providence of God, Jeremiah was saved from prison, and the words of the prophecy were fulfilled upon Jehoiakim. He prophesied to King Jeconiah that he would be carried off to Babylon with his whole family and that he would die there, all of which quickly came to pass (24: 1; 27:20). Under King Zedekiah, he put a yoke on his neck and walked through Jerusalem prophesying the fall of the city and slavery under the yoke of Babylon (27:2). He wrote to the slaves in Babylon, telling them that they would not return to Jerusalem but would remain for seventy years in Babylon, which came to pass (25:11). In the valley of Topnet, near Jerusalem, where the Jews had brought children to the idols for sacrifice, Jeremiah took a whole pot in his hands and smashed it in front of the people, prophesying the imminent crushing of the Jewish Kingdom (19: 10-11). The Babylonians soon over-ran Jerusalem, killed King Zedekiah, burned the city down and utterly destroyed it. They slaughtered an enormous number of Jews in the valley of Topnet, in the place where children had died as sacrifices to idols and where the prophet had broken the pot. Jeremiah, with the Levites, took the Ark out of the Temple and bore it off to the mountain of Nebo, where Moses had died, and hid it in a cave. He hid the fire from the altar in a deep well. He was forced by some Jews to go with them to Egypt, where he lived for four years and was then stoned to death by his countrymen. He prophesied to the Egyptians the destruction of their idols and the coming there of a Virgin with a Child. There is a tradition that Alexander the Great himself visited the grave of the Prophet Jeremiah,* and ordered that his body be moved and buried in Alexandria.

Author's note: The Egyptians almost deified St Jeremiah, and they therefore buried him as a king. He was regarded as a wonderworker after his death. The dust from his tomb was taken as a medicine against snake-bite, and today many Christians invoke his help against it.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK





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