Our Holy Father Titus of the Kiev Caves (January 27)
St John Chrysostom, the golden trumpet of Orthodoxy (January 27)
Fasting is a great thing, but love is greater. If it is by fasting that devils are driven out, passions tamed, the body calmed, the spirit steadied, it is by love that God makes His abode with men. The Lord Himself emphasised fasting as necessary, but proclaimed love as the greatest commandment. In the first half of last century, Jela-din Bey ruled over Ochrid. He was a rebel against the Sultan and an independent governor. At that time the Church was ruled by Met-ropolitan Kalinik. Jeladin and Kalinik, although of different faiths, were very good friends and often visited each other. It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to death by hanging, and the execution was to take place on Great Friday. The Metropolitan, deeply distressed by this event, went to Jeladin and besought him to mitigate the sentence. While they were talking, the hour of the mid-day meal arrived, and the Bey invited the Met-ropolitan to eat with him. A dish of lamb had been prepared for the meal. The Metropolitan excused himself, as the fast prevented him from remaining to eat, and prepared to leave. The Bey was angered and said to him: `Choose; either you eat with me and free twenty-five people from hanging, or you refrain and they hang.' The Met-ropolitan crossed himself and sat down to lunch, and Jeladin freed the people from the death sentence.
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as the High Priest: 1. who brings to God as a sacrifice the whole of His earthly life. 2. who brings to God as a sacrifice every word of His, every feeling, every thought,everyeffortand every tear. 3. who brings to God the whole of Himself as a human, on behalf of man.
-on the perplexity of those of little faith.
`What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him' (Matt. 8:27)?
The Apostles questioned thus among themselves, not yet knowing the Lord Jesus and seeing Him as the calmer of the stormy sea and winds. Who is this to whom the winds and the sea hearken? It is He who created the winds and the sea. Is it so great a wonder that His own creatures should hearken to Him? Is not a hatchet an obedient tool in the hand of him who wields it? The Lord has created all things by His Word; therefore all things are obedient to His word.
Who is this, my brethren? It is He who aforetime raised up the winds and calmed them, who stirred up the sea and subdued it. 1t is He who does this today. As man, He stood before men and rebuked the dancing wind and the unrestrained sea, in order to dispel the mistaken belief of the people that the winds and sea move and are stilled by blind chance or by some evil power; that He might reveal the truth once and for all that the mind and beneficent power of the Creator directs and orders all the natural elements by His providence.
`Who is this?' asked the apostles. It is the sinless Son of God, O holy apostles, whose name you are to bear throughout the world, and for whose name you are to be tortured and slaughtered as lambs by wolves. Who are the wolves? They are those who think that the wind blows of itself and the sea is stirred up and calmed either of itself or of the devil. O holy apostles, who asked and who received the true answer, and proclaim this truth to the whole world, pray for us, that we also may be enlightened by this truth.
O all-wise and almighty Lord, still Thou the winds of sin and calm the storm of our filthy and unworthy passions. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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