The Holy Martyr Zossima the Hermit.

September 19

From the Prologue

A Sicilian prince, Dometian, went hunting in the mountains with his servants. In the hills, he saw an old man surrounded by wild beasts that were as tame as lambs. Asked who he was, the old man replied that his name was Zossima, and that he was a Christian and had lived a long time with the beasts, who were better than the persecutors of Christians in the city. This outraged Dometian, who was himself a harsh torturer of Christians, and he bound Zossima and sent him ahead to Nazareth, to torture him there and thus intimidate those who believed in Christ. When he had wounded him all over and left him bloodied with blows, he tied a rock round his neck and hanged him from a tree. Then the prince mocked at him: 'Command a wild beast to come, and we'll all believe!' The holy martyr prayed to God, and an enormous lion appeared. Coming up to Zossima, it took the weight of the rock with its head, to ease the martyr. With great fear, the prince freed Zossima, who soon after that gave his soul into the hands of his Lord.

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

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