In addition to the Scriptures and lives of the saints, the reading of spiritual books is extremely important for our lives as Christians.
Constantly inundated by false ideas and suggestive advertising, it is critical that we nourish our souls with Godly material on a daily basis. Spiritual reading is most effective as part of our daily prayer rule, when our hearts are warm and receptive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
Saints Remembered Today
In the Orthodox Church there are saints commemorated every day.
The Prologue of Ohrid
One of the most accessible collections of these daily lives of saints is called the Prologue of Ohrid. Each day holds a few brief accounts of the saints remembered, a hymn, a homily, and a spiritual reflection. The Prologue is available in the following formats:
Here is the reading from The Prologue for today:
1. The Hieromartyr Hierotheos.
He was a friend of Dionysius the Areopagite, and received the Christian faith from the Apostle Paul a little after Dionysius. This Apostle later made him bishop in Athens. At the time of the Dormition of the most holy Mother of God, Hierotheos arrived in Jerusalem and took part in the funeral. With his divine singing, he brought heartfelt joy to many and showed himself to be greatly inspired. He laboured greatly for the sake of the Gospel, brought many pagans to the truth, governed his flock well and finally ended a martyr for Christ, who gave him a twofold wreath in His heavenly Kingdom: of the hierarch and of the martyr.
2. St Stephen Stiljanovic.
A Serbian despot, born of the Pastrovic family, he governed the Serbian people during a most difficult period, struggling courageously against the Turks and the Latins. A righteous and godly man and a patriot, this great prince can be compared with St Alexander Nevsky or with the holy king John Vladimir. He entered into rest at the beginning of the sixteenth century (according to some, in 1515). A light appeared at his grave at night, by means of which his holy relics were found, being kept for a long time in the monastery of Sisatovac in the Fruska Gora* and then, during the Second World War, taken to Belgrade and placed in the Cathedral beside the body of Prince Lazar. His wife Helena, seeing Stephen's uncorrupt relics and the miracles wrought by them, became a nun and gave herself to asceticism till her death.
*Translator's note: A mountain range in north-east Yugoslavia.
3. Our Holy Father Ammon of Nitria.
An Egyptian and a wine-grower by profession, he was forced by his kinsmen to marry against his will, but he would not live with a woman. On the first day, he called his bride his sister and counselled her, together with him, to guard her virginity for the sake of greater good things from heaven, and they lived thus for a whole eighteen years. Later, by mutual arrangement, his wife founded a womens' monastery in their house and Ammon went off to the Nitrian desert, where he gave himself to the ascesis of solitude. He received great gifts of insight and wonderworking from God for the purity of his heart. A man and woman brought him their insane son that he might heal him by his prayers, but Ammon would not do so. After long pestering on the part of the parents, Ammon said: 'The sickness and health of your son are in your hands. Return the stolen ox to the widow (and he named her), and your son will be healed.' The parents, amazed at such insight on the saint's part, acknowledged their sin and promised that they would return the stolen ox as soon as they got home. Then holy Ammon prayed to God, and the child was healed. Ammon was a close friend of St Antony the Great. When Ammon died in Nitria in about 350, St Antony saw from his cell window the soul of Ammon in the heights, and said to the brethren: 'Abba Ammon has today moved on, and I see his holy soul being borne by the angels into heaven.'
4. Our Holy Father Paul the Simple.
He lived in the world as a married man to the age of sixty. Catching his wife in sin, he left everything and went to St Antony in the desert, becoming a monk at his hands. Although he was simple and unlettered, he achieved such spiritual perfection that he saw every man's soul as ordinary men see each other's bodies. He was a great wonderworker and, in some things, outstripped St Antony himself. He died in great old age, in 340, and went to angelic joy.From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK