February 13

From the Prologue

At first Zoe was a prostitute and a temptress of St. Martinian. When she saw this ascetic leap into the fire in order to subdue in himself all lust, she bitterly repented, retreated to a convent in Bethlehem where, as an ascetic and recluse, heroically lived a life of mortification. Repenting of all her sins, she received from God the gift of working miracles. By the winds of the sea St. Photina was cast on the island where St. Martinian had isolated himself. Martinian immediately fled the island and Photina remained there in fasting and prayer where she died.



The monk in the fire, Zoe looked at with horror

How he burns without complaint, fear and sighing!

With horror and with shame, Zoe repented:

Just to save his soul, O what this man does!

Bowed and begged forgiveness, she began to weep,

To resist evil, asked, what to do,

To save the soul, to resist evil in the flesh.

The man of God, from joy, he too began to weep.

To Bethlehem, to the blessed Paula he sent her:

Depart woman, save yourself; go and do not perish,

Blessed Paula, all else will tell you.

Over the turquoise sea, completely humbled, Zoe departed,

Like a little sister, Paula received and instructed her.

Zoe cries, Zoe listens; endures and remains silent.

So twelve summers passed; twelve years,

As an ascetic, Sister Zoe became known.

Bathes her face with tears and before her death asks God,

Has God forgiven her? Did He or did He not?

At that moment, before the door of Zoe, a blind woman was led

That she may see; You pray, pray, pray!

In tears, Zoe prayed and the woman saw;

Zoe recognized, thus recognized that she is forgiven

Through sinners, when they repent, God is glorified,

Then, they on earth, with miracles shine like the stars.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas