May 4

From the Prologue

At first, Nicephorus was a Catholic and later embraced the Orthodox Faith. He lived the life of an ascetic as a monk on Mt. Athos with the wise Theoliptos. He was a teacher of the glorious Gregory Palamas and wrote a work on mental prayer. He presented himself peacefully to the Lord in the fourteenth century. Nicephorus taught: "Gather your mind and force it to enter into the heart and remain there. When your mind is established in the heart, it should not remain empty, but allow it to continually perform this prayer: O LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME [THE JESUS PRAYER]! Never allow it to be silent. Because of this, the entire chain of virtues will enter into you: love, joy, peace and all others, because of which your every petition to God will be fulfilled later."



Pelagia, as an angel bright

Before the emperor stood, for trial and judgment;

Brutish looking emperor, to her spoke:

With the royal diadem, I will crown you,

Among women, be my wife!

Pelagia boldly replied:

A marriage with a heathen, I loathe

Never, O emperor, will yours I be,

To me, what do you offer? A wreath of dust!

Three wreaths have I, with the Lord,

In Christ, my eternal Bridegroom.

The first wreath - for the Faith, I kept,

The second wreath - for my virginity I preserved,

The third wreath - the wreath of martyrdom.

Do not hesitate, godless emperor,

This body of dust - crush,

Crush, cut up, burn and grind,

That the soul, for the wedding soon depart,

That soon, along side my Bridegroom, I stand

The Savior, God and Immortal.

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