The Holy Martyr Barlaam.

November 19

From the Prologue

He was born in Antioch, and was harshly tortured by the dishonourable judge for his faith in Christ the Lord. The judge decided to use ridicule, and to put such pressure on him that he would offer sacrifice to idols. He accordingly took him to the temple and applied fire to his palm, putting incense on the fire with the thought that the martyr would be forced by the pain to throw the fire and incense from his hand in front of the idols, and thus involuntarily offer them incense. But this heroic soldier of Christ held the fire on his palm, and would not cast it before the idols, until his fingers were burned and fell off, and his palm was burned through and fell to the ground with the fire. 'He had a right hand stronger than fire', said St Basil the Great, 'for, though the flames consumed it, still the hand held the fire as ash.' Chrysostom writes: 'The angels looked from the heights; the archangels beheld, for the scene was majestic, surpassing in truth all human nature. Lo, who would not wish to see a man who made such an ascetic endeavour and did not feel that which it is common to man to feel; a man who was himself the altar of sacrifice, and the sacrifice, and the priest?' When his hand had burned off, his body fell dead to the ground and his soul went to the eternal rest of his Lord and Saviour. This glorious and heroic elder suffered in the year 304.

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





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