1. The Holy Martyr Basiliscus Basiliscus was a kinsman of St. Theodore the Tyro. He was tortured together with Eutropius and Cleonicus. When the latter two were crucified and had died (March 3), then Basiliscus was returned to prison. At that time the emperor’s deputy was being replaced, and so Basiliscus remained imprisoned for a long time. Basiliscus prayed with tears that God would not deprive him of a martyr’s death. After he prayed at length, the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to him, promised to fulfill his wish, and sent him to his village to bid farewell to his mother and brothers. Then a new deputy, Agrippa, arrived and ordered that Basiliscus be brought from the village immediately. While Basiliscus was on his way from the village to the town of Amasea, the Lord worked a great miracle through His martyr, as a result of which many people believed in Christ. Agrippa ordered the martyr to offer a sacrifice to the idol Apollyon. “‘Apollyon’ means ‘destroyer,’” said Basiliscus, and with fervent prayer he turned the idol into dust and burned the temple with fire from heaven. The frightened Agrippa attributed this to magic and ordered that Basiliscus be beheaded. At that moment, Agrippa went insane. In his madness, he went to the scaffold, found a little blood of the martyr in the dust, and placed it under his belt, and was healed. Coming to his senses, he was baptized. Marinus, a citizen of Comana, later built a church over the relics of the saint, at the place of Basiliscus’s execution, and many afflicted people found healing there.

  2. The Holy Martyr Jovan Vladimir, King Of Serbia Jovan Vladimir was of princely lineage from Zahumlje. His grandfather was called Hvalimir and his father Petrislav. As a ruler, he was wise, merciful, meek, chaste and brave. He fervently prayed to God and voluntarily built churches and supported them. However, he had difficult struggles both internally and externally: internally from heretics and the Bogomils, and externally from Tsar Samuel and Tsar Basil who wanted to conquer him. Samuel captured him deceitfully and cast him into prison. While he languished in prison an angel of God appeared to him and foretold that he would shortly be freed, but that he would die a martyr’s death. Getting to know him better, Samuel grew to like him and gave his daughter Kosara to be his wife. When Samuel died, his son Radomir was crowned Tsar. But Vladislav, Radomir’s twin brother, slew Radomir, then deceitfully summoned Vladimir and beheaded him in the year 1015 A.D. The relics of this saintly king are preserved incorrupt in his monastery near Elbasan, and numerous miracles have been worked over them throughout the ages and to this day. In 1925 a church was built to honor this crowned martyr near the Monastery of St. Nahum, since Jovan Vladimir had been a benefactor of that glorious monastery.

  3. The Second Ecumenical Council This Council was called during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great in Constantinople in the year 381 A.D. Its goal was to confirm the Orthodox teaching concerning the Holy Spirit. Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, had erroneously taught that the Holy Spirit was God’s creature and not a Divine Person [Hypostasis], and therefore not equal to the Father or the Son, or One in Essence with Them in the Holy Trinity. Macedonius was condemned by this Council, and the teaching about the Holy Spirit was added to the Nicaean Creed [the Symbol of Faith].

  4. The Holy Righteous Melchisedek, King Of Salem Melchisedek was a contemporary of our forefather Abraham. According to the words of the Apostle Paul he was a king, a priest and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7).

Hymn Of Praise Melchisedek, King Of Salem

Melchisedek, king of Salem, Whence is his family? He was a king and a priest Of the Highest King–God He was greater than Abraham; He was and remains a mystery. He blessed Abraham; To him, Abraham gave a tribute. He was a king and priest in the world, And became a forefigure of Christ. He proclaimed peace and justice; He was and remains a mystery. His origin and end are unknown, As is the length of his earthly life, But it is known that he lived– A beautiful example of a man. King, saint, righteous one: Such was Melchisedek– A prophet and forefigure of Christ. A prophet he was, without words, But with a most beautiful personality. A prophet he was, without words; A prophet–with righteousness and mercy.

Reflection How was Moses able to fast for forty days? How were the many Christian ascetics able to live a long life in extreme abstinence from food and drink? For the physical man who does not know about the spiritual life, this is impossible to believe. It is impossible even to prove it to him, for the understanding of it is achieved only by experience. When the torturers of St. Basiliscus detained him for three days without food and water, and when they did offer him food to eat, he refused, saying that he was not hungry. “I am,” said he, “filled with immortal food and do not want to receive mortal food. You are fed by earthly bread, but the heavenly word of God feeds me; wine makes you happy, but the grace of the Holy Spirit makes me happy; meat satisfies you, but fasting satisfies me; physical power strengthens you, but the Cross of Christ strengthens me; gold makes you rich, but the love of Christ enriches me; clothing adorns you, but good works adorn me; you are made happy with laughter, but I am comforted by the Spirit through prayer.” Behold this man, one of many, in whom the word of the Lord was confirmed: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God! (Matthew 4:4).

Contemplation Contemplate the grace of God the Holy Spirit in the Mystery [Sacrament] of Baptism:

  1. How that grace cleanses man from original sin;
  2. How it brings man to participation in the freedom of Christ.

Homily on the bodies of men as temples “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). How is it, brethren, that our bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit? Because we are bought with a price. The Lord Jesus bought us with His cares, labors, sufferings and death. Because of this price we were made worthy to become the temple of the Holy Spirit. But someone will say: “That price was paid a long time ago, and we live twenty centuries later!” It is all the same: the price was not paid for one time and for one generation, but rather for all times and for all generations from Adam to the Dreadful Judgment. And if billions and billions of human beings are born on earth, the price is paid for all of them. The price is so great and rich that, if all the sand in the sea were changed into men, the price would be sufficient. Brethren, from what moment do our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit? From the moment of our baptism. Although the price is paid for all men, only those who are baptized become the temple of the Holy Spirit. Brethren, what is the consequence of the Holy Spirit taking up His abode in us? The consequence is this: that we are not our own anymore. When the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in our bodies, then He becomes the Master over us, and not we us over our bodies or over ourselves. Then, brethren, we are the possession of God the Holy Spirit. Brethren, what did it mean at the Mystical Supper [Last Supper], when the Lord washed even the feet of Judas, and Judas received a piece of bread from the Lord, when the Scripture says: Satan entered into him (John 13:27). Oh, what dreadful words! Oh, what a horrible punishment for the traitor of God! Brethren, does this not mean that when we reject God, Who washes and feeds us, the Spirit of God departs from us and Satan settles in His place? Oh, what a harsh meaning! Oh, what a terrible reminder to all of us who are baptized! The Holy Spirit settled in us during our baptism and made us a temple for Himself. But the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us by force, but rather according to our good will. If we transgress against Him, He departs from us; Satan enters in His place, and our physical temple is transformed into a pigsty. O All-good Holy Spirit, do not leave us. Have mercy on us and forgive us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.