The Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch.

17

From the Prologue

This holy man was named the 'God-Bearer' because he always carried the name of the living God in his heart and on his lips. Also, by tradition, he was thus named because he was held in the arms of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and set it among them, saying: 'Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4). This child was Ignatius. He was later a disciple of St John the Theologian, together with Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna. As bishop in Antioch, he governed the Church of God as a good shepherd, and was the first to introduce antiphonal singing into the Church, in which two choirs alternate. This way of singing was revealed to St Ignatius from among the angels in heaven. When the Emperor Trajan passed through Antioch on his way to battle with the Persians, he heard about Ignatius, summoned him and urged him to offer sacrifice to idols, so that he could be made a senator. The Emperor's urgings and threats being in vain, holy Ignatius was put in irons and sent to Rome, escorted by ten bestial soldiers, to be thrown to the wild beasts. Ignatius rejoiced to be suffering for his Lord, and prayed to God that the wild beasts should be the tomb for his body, and that none should hinder his death. After a long and difficult journey from Asia through Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus, Ignatius reached Rome, where he was thrown to the lions in the circus. They tore him to pieces and devoured him, leaving only a few of the larger bones and his heart. This glorious lover of the Lord Christ suffered in the year 106 in Rome, in the time of the Emperor Trajan. He appeared many times from the other world and worked wonders, helping to this day all who call on him for help.

NAME:St Danilo, Archbishop of Serbia.

The son of rich and God-loving parents, he was given a careful upbringing. King Milutin took him to his court, but, from love of God, he fled and became a monk in the monastery of Konculsk near the Ibar. He was later abbot of Hilandar and suffered much at the hands of the plundering Latin crusaders. He was Bishop of Banja and then of Hum, and finally Archbishop of Serbia. He was from beginning to end a strict ascetic, with a special gift of tears. He made peace between Kings Dragutin and Milutin, and later between Milutin and Stephen of Decani, and fought fiercely against the Latins and the Bogomils. Under his supervision, the monasteries of Banja and Decani were built, and he restored and built many other churches. He also recorded the lives of the Serbian kings and saints. Untiring in the service of God to the end of his life, he entered peacefully into rest in the time of King Dusan, on the night of December 19/20th, 1338. He was a great hierarch, a great ascetic, a great worker and a great patriot.

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





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