The Holy Apostle Philip.

09

From the Prologue

He was born in Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee, as were Peter and Andrew. Instructed in the Holy Scriptures from his youth, Philip immediately responded to the call of Christ and followed Him (John 1:43). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Philip preached the Gospel with zeal in many regions of Asia and in Greece, where the Jews sought to kill him but the Lord saved him by the might of His wonders. The Jewish leaders, whose aim it was to kill Philip, were suddenly blinded, and found themselves in total darkness. There was a great earthquake, and the earth opened and swallowed up Philip's wicked persecutors. Many other wonders were wrought, especially the healing of the sick, by which many of the pagans came to faith in Christ. In the Phrygian town of Hierapolis, St Philip worked for the Gospel with John the Theologian, his own sister Mariamna and the Apostle Bartholomew. There was in that place a dangerous snake, which the pagans fed with care and worshipped as a god. God's Apostle destroyed the snake with prayer as though with a spear. This called forth the fury of the benighted people, and the wicked pagans seized Philip and crucified him upside-down on a tree, and then crucified Bartholomew also. At this, the earth opened and swallowed up the judge and many others with him. The terrified people ran to take the crucified apostles down, but they succeeded only in taking Bartholomew down alive; Philip had already breathed his last. Bartholomew made Stachys bishop for those baptised in the city. Stachys had been cured of blindness and baptised by Philip, having been blind for forty years. St Philip's relics were later taken to Rome. This wonderful Apostle suffered in the year 86, in the time of the Emperor Domitian.

NAME:St Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Salonica.

Gregory's father was an eminent official at the court of the Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus. The gifted Gregory, completing his secular studies, did not want to go into imperial service at court, but withdrew to the Holy Mountain and became a monk, living in asceticism at Vatopedi and the Great Lavra. He waged war against the heretic Barlaam, and finally overcame him. He was consecrated Metropolitan of Salonica in 1347, being glorified both as an ascetic and a theologian, both as a hierarch and a wonderworker. The most holy Mother of God, St John the Theologian, St Dimitrios, St Antony the Great, St John Chrysostom and angels of God all appeared to him at different times. He governed the Church in Salonica for twelve years, of which he spent one year in slavery to the Saracens in Asia. He entered peacefully into rest in 1359, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ. His relics are preserved in Salonica, where there is a beautiful church dedicated to him.

NAME:St Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium.

A Slav by birth, he was probably a Serb from the Skoplje region. He succeeded his uncle Justin on the throne in 527. Justinian's great kingship is inseparably linked with his deep Orthodox faith: he believed, and lived according to his belief. In the Great Fast, he neither ate bread nor drank wine, but ate only vegetables and drank water. He made war against the barbarians of the Danube only because they castrated their captives. This reveals his high sense of love for his fellow-men. He was successful in both his wars and his deeds, and built a great many beautiful churches, of which by far the finest was St Sophia in Constantinople. He collected and published the Laws of Rome, and himself published strict laws against immorality and licentious behaviour. He composed the hymn: 'O only-begotten Son and Word of God', which was first sung in the Liturgy in 536. He summoned the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, and died peacefully on November 14th, 565, at the age of eighty, entering into the Kingdom of the heavenly King.

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





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