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. St Zacharias, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The Persian King Chozroes attacked Jerusalem, ransacking the city, in the time of the Greek Emperor Heraclius, in 614. He took the Precious Cross off to Persia and enslaved an enormous number of Christians, including Patriarch Zacharias. The Jews supported him in his wickedness towards the Christians. It is recorded, among further malice on the part of the Jews, that they bought 90,000 Christian slaves from Chozroes and killed them all. The aged Patriarch spent fourteen years in slavery. Many marvels were wrought in Persia by the Precious Cross, and the Persians exclaimed: 'The Christian God has come to Persia!' The Emperor Heraclius later compelled King Chozroes to return the Precious Cross to Jerusalem, together with the Patriarch and the remaining slaves. The Emperor himself carried the Cross into the Holy City on his back. St Zacharias spent his remaining days in peace, and went to the Lord in 632. Patriarch Modestus deputised for him on the patriarchal throne, and after him came St Sophronius (see March 1lth).
2. Our Holy Father Timothy.
A hermit in a place called Symbola on Asiatic Olympus, Timothy entered a monastery very young and spent his earthly life in fasting, prayer, vigils and unceasing toil right up to a great age. He remained pure and chaste throughout his life. God gives power over evil spirits to the pure and chaste, and this gift He gave to Timothy. Through careful watching over his soul, Timothy built within himself a glorious abode for the Holy Spirit. This holy man entered into rest in 795.
3. St Eustathius (Eustace), Archbishop of Antioch.
A great zealot for, and protector of, Orthodoxy, he was especially prominent at the First Ecumenical Council, where he disproved by erudite reasoning the teaching of the Arians. With the other holy fathers, Eustathius confessed the truth that Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, is equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit by divine essence. After the death of the Emperor Constantine, the Arians somehow again gained the ascendancy and began hotly to persecute Orthodoxy. St Eustathius was deposed from his throne and exiled first to Thrace and then to Macedonia. He suffered much and long, until at last he gave his holy soul to God in about 345.
4. St John III Scholasticus, Patriarch of Constantinople.
A lawyer, he was ordained priest and became Patriarch in 565. He wrote Canons which have been included in the Nomocanon. In his day, the Cherubic Hymn and the prayer 'At Thy mystical supper' were introduced into the Liturgy. He departed this life peacefully and gave his soul to God in 577.From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK