March 15

From the Prologue

Nicander was skinned and then beheaded for his faith in Christ. As a physician, his crime was that he ministered to Christian martyrs and honorably buried their martyred bodies. He suffered honorable in the year 302 A.D.



From every state, the Lord chooses His army,

Everyone in whom the flame of love and faith burns;

From among physicians, sages, peasants and laborers,

From among emperors and fishermen--an army of martyrs!

The sword beheaded, the Lord received the wise Alexander,

The sword beheaded, the Lord took the merciful Nicander,

The sword beheaded eight beautiful and young apples,

Beneath the sword, the All-sustaining Hand receives them.

Those whom the world from its sheepfold scoops up and discards

With His tender hand, the Lord gathers as the most beautiful blossoms.

Shoveled aside as a weed, the first citizen

Agapius, the Lord, as His son, received.

Ten martyrs and glorious men

Now, sing in eternity in the angelic choir.

It is not the same to die, to die, although for what:

Some of the dead are blessed and others cursed.

Who dies for Christ's sake, with him is blessing,

Who dies persecuting Christ, curse is with him.


Love for whomever or for whatever, even love for oneself can, in time, grow cold in man, can be lost altogether and can even be twisted into hatred. But the love of man for God, once gained and established, is more difficult to cool off, except if one loses his mind. In the first instance man diminishes or erases his love either out of change in himself or because of a change in the objects of his love. In the second instance man can diminish his love toward God only because of a change in him and never because of a change in God. All of this is neatly and clearly explained by St. Isaac the Syrian saying, "There is a kind of love that is similar to a brook following a rainfall which quickly ceases after the rain stops. But there is a love similar to a spring which erupts through the earth, which never ceases. The first love is human love, and the second love is Divine Love." St. Simeon the New Theologian, speaks about Divine Love, "O Holy Love! You are the end of the Law. You overcome me; You warm me; You inflame my heart to immeasurable love for God and my brothers. Out of love, God became man. Out of love, He endured all His life-giving suffering in order to deliver man from the throes of Hades and bring him to heaven. Out of love, the apostles completed their difficult course. Out of love, the martyrs shed their blood in order not to lose Christ."

Redeeming the Time

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas