February 1

From the Prologue

At age seven Peter left the home of his parents for the sake of Christ and retreated into the wilderness. Here, by fasting and prayer, Peter attained such a state of perfection that he worked many miracles by the Spirit of God. In his ninety-ninth year, he took up habitation in the eternal Kingdom of Christ about the year 429 A.D.



A golden-branched tree grew

With three golden branches,

On it, there are white birds,

White; as white as snow.

And the birds fell

Down deep,

The glowing golden tree remained,

The tall tree.

In the depths, death and darkness,

Dark and becoming darker,

Malice and hunger; sorrow and grief,

Insanity, delirium.

The birds in the blackness of pitch all were immersed;

Never again able

To soar to the heights.

The golden tree took pity on the unfortunate birds,

And a secret conversation began among the branches.

Then one branch bent over to the terrible abyss,

And raised the nest of the birds to the top of the mountain.

Thus, Christ the golden-branch bent toward the earth

And raised fallen man to the glory of the Trinity.

And now, the golden tree grows with three golden branches,

On it are white birds; white, white as snow.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas