May 5

From the Prologue

Martin and Heraclius were both Slavs. They were persecuted by the Arian heretics in Illyria. Banished into exile, these two knights of Orthodoxy completed their earthly lives in the fourth century and took up habitation with the Lord.



Penelope, daughter of the king, at the balcony was,

When, in a row, three birds to her quickly flew.

The first a dove, white as milk, with an olive branch,

After that an eagle, in its bony beak, a wreath of flowers

Finally, a raven, with a bitter serpent, swooped and entered.

Penelope, asked the servants, could they recall what this means?

The servants remain silent. No one knows. With amazement, everyone is struck.

We are all mortal men, Appelianus the Elder said:

But harken to me Penelope, harken, beautiful child,

The Spirit of God, through these signs, to you clearly prophesies;

The dove, your serenity signifies, Irene you will be called,

The Grace of God you, the olive branch signifies

The eagle, the conqueror signifies, passions you will conquer,

The flowery wreath, glory and heavenly sweetness signify;

The raven with a serpent, the demon with his maliciousness, that is

But, by our endurance, overcome him, you will.

This, Irene heard all, and in her heart quivered,

And to the saving Faith decided to give herself completely;

What she decided, that she carried out and God helped her.

Through her holy prayers, O God, save even us.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas