March 24

From the Prologue

Zacharias was the son of Carion the Egyptian. Zacharias left his wife and children and became a monk. He took his father with him because his mother was unable to care for him. Even though Zacharias was younger than most of the elders in the Scete, he was favored with greater gifts of Grace than many of the others were. He felt that his whole being was on fire with the Grace of God. To the question of St. Macarius: "Who is the ideal monk?" Zacharias replied, "He who continually compels himself to fulfill the commandments of God." To the question of Abba Moses: "What does it mean to be a monk?" Zacharias removed his monastic head gear [Kamilavka] and trampled it underfoot and said, "If a man is not shattered as this, he cannot be a monk." He was a great light among the monks of the wilderness and while still young died to the Lord.



What is the worth of man, O Lord, You said,

That the whole vast world as his property, he acquires,

When, either today or tomorrow, he must die,

And the accumulated wealth outlive him will.

What worth is it that upon his head, a crown he sets,

When behind him, he must leave it?

To him, what good is gold and a pile of silver,

When through his withered ribs, grass grows?

What good is silk, pearls and food,

When, upon him alive, the sun does not gaze?

Of what help is the world, if he loses his soul.

Without the soul, the body is lowered into the grave.

His body and soul, both have died,

And to its grave, each of them hurries.

Two lifeless ones, then men, do bury,

For neither of them, do men bitterly mourn.

Anyone who has a mind, over his soul, let him guard,

You gave to all a reminder clear:

The soul is the only thing that can be saved,

All else in the world, and even the world itself will perish.

When we know Your counsel, O dear Lord,

Still, Your power and help we need.

Help our sinful soul, O Good One,

That the smoke of vanity suffocate it not.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas