Prologue of Ochrid

Prologue entry for 01/03/23 (read on 01/16/23 on the Old Calendar)

1. The Prophet Malachi

Chronologically, Malachi was the last of the prophets. He was born after the return of the Hebrews from the Babylonian Captivity in 538 B.C. He was unusually handsome in countenance. According to tradition, the people called him an angel, perhaps because of his external beauty or because of his spiritual purity, or even perhaps because of his association with an angel of God. On many occasions he spoke face to face with an angel. When this occurred, others heard the angel’s voice, but they were not worthy to see the face of the angel. The young Malachi prophesied that which the angel proclaimed. He cried out against ungrateful Israel and against the lawless priests. Five hundred years before Christ, Malachi clearly prophesied the coming and the mission of John the Baptist: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me (Malachi 3:7). Mainly, he is chiefly the prophet of the day of the Dreadful Judgment. Before the day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible day (Malachi 3: 23-24). He reposed in the Lord while still young. Following him, there were no more prophets in Israel until John the Baptist.

2. The Priest-Martyr Gordius

Gordius was born in Caesarea of Cappadocia. He was an officer in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Licinius. When a terrible persecution of the Christians broke out, Gordius left the army and his rank and withdrew to the wilderness of Sinai. Alone on Mount Horeb, Gordius spent his time in prayer and contemplation on the mysteries of heaven and earth. He especially pondered the vanity and worthlessness of all that men strive and fight for on earth, and finally came to the desire to die and enter into the eternal and incorruptible life. With this desire he descended into the town at the time of certain pagan races and games. Gordius presented himself to the governor of that town, declaring that he was a Christian. In vain did the governor try, through flatteries and threats, to dissuade him from the Faith. Gordius remained unwavering and firm as a diamond, saying: “Is it not sheer folly to purchase, with this short-lived life, a life of eternal torment and spiritual death?” Being condemned to death, he joyfully hurried to the scaffold and, along the way, spoke to the executioners of the glorious and sweet teachings of Christ. With the name of Christ on his lips, Gordius offered his young body to the sword and his righteous soul to God, in the year 320 A.D.

3. Saint Genevieve

Genevieve is the patroness of the city of Paris. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving she was made worthy of the Kingdom of God, and died on January 3, 512 A.D., in the eighty-ninth year of her life.

Hymn Of Praise

The Holy Prophet Malachi

Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, oh, the day is coming! The day which like an oven will
Who will endure it? Who will survive it?
Who, with their righteousness, before the Judge will stand?
All non-believers like dry stubble will be,
Food for the hungry fire. Weeping, sighing and shrieking!
The fire overflows and moves like a river.
Here, what can the tongue of a sinner say?
O my priests, you who do not render Me praise,
Why do your tongues not sing the glory of the Lord?
Everywhere among the people, you have become despised,
Since My judgment, Law and miracles you scorn.
I, the Lord, am speaking—the Lord of hosts.
Oh, upon those odious sorcerers, the judgment severe!
When the fire pursues them, with smoke and a dreadful rumble,
Then the hand of the Lord will not caress anymore.
Repent, O people, while days remain to you,
Return to Me and I will return to you.
I the Lord am speaking, the Lord of hosts,
Return to Me and I will return to you."
Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, oh, the day is coming! The day which like an oven will

Reflection God permits humiliation and ruin to befall a proud man when he thinks that his strength is secured forever. When the pernicious Roman eparch [Governor] Tarquinius beheaded Blessed Timothy, he summoned St. Sylvester and threatened him with death if he did not reveal the whereabouts of Timothy’s inheritance and, in addition, immediately offer sacrifice to the idols. Without fear and trembling, this clairvoyant saint responded to the eparch with the words of the Gospel: You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you (St. Luke 12: 20), and that with which you boast you will bring to me (i.e. death) will occur to you. The proud eparch shackled Sylvester in chains and threw him into a dungeon, intending to kill him shortly. Having done this, the eparch sat down to eat lunch, but a fish bone became caught in his throat. From noon to midnight, the physicians struggled to save his life, but all in vain. At midnight, Tarquinius gave up his proud soul in the greatest torments. And so the prophecy of St. Sylvester was fulfilled, as also were the Biblical words: Pride goes before disaster (Proverbs 16:18).

Contemplation To contemplate the guardian angel:

  1. How he stands at my right side upholding me in everything, until I depart from the Law of God;
  2. How I have offended him on numerous occasions and how I have driven him away from me by transgressing the Law of God.


on how the Kingdom of God is gained with the heart and not with the tongue

“Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Brethren, one does not gain the Kingdom of God with the tongue, but with the heart. The heart is the treasury of those riches by which the kingdom is purchased–the heart, and not the tongue! If the treasury is filled with the riches of God (i.e., strong faith, good hope, ardent love and good deeds), then the herald of those riches–the tongue–is faithful and pleasant. If the treasury is devoid of all those riches, then its herald is false and impudent. As the heart is, so are the words. As the heart is, so are the deeds. All, all depends on the heart. Hypocrisy is helpless before men and is even more helpless before God. If then, I am a father, says the Lord through the Prophet Malachi, If then I am a father, where is the honor due to Me? And If I am a master, where is the reverence due to Me? (Malachi 1:6). That is: “I hear you call Me ‘Father,’ but I do not see you honoring Me with your heart. I hear you call Me ‘Master,’ but I do not see fear of Me in your hearts.” Our prayer, “Lord! Lord!” is beautiful and beneficial only when it emerges from a prayerful heart. The Lord Himself commanded that we pray unceasingly, not only with the tongue to be heard by men, but rather enclosed in the cell of the heart, so that the Lord can hear and see us. O Lord, majestic and wonderful, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Thy fear into our hearts, so that our hearts may stand continually upright in prayer before Thee. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.