Our Holy Father John, and those martyred with him from the Community of St Sava the Sanctified near Jerusalem
This famous monastery, both visited by St Sava of Serbia and endowed by various Serbian rulers, is in existence today. Several times fallen to the savage Arabs, plundered and left empty, it has always been restored by the providence of God. In the time of the reign of Constantine and Irene it fell to the Arabs and was plun-dered. The monks would not flee, but took counsel together with their abbot, Thomas, saying: `We have fled from the world into this wilderness for the love of Christ; it would be shame to us now to flee from the wilderness from fear of men. If we are killed here, we shall be killed through love for Christ, for whose sake we have come here to live.' And, so deciding, they awaited unarmed the armed Arabs, as lambs before wolves. The Arabs killed some of them with arrows, and others they shut into the cave of St Sava and lit a fire at the en-trance to suffocate them in the smoke. And thus many of them died as martyrs for the sake of Christ and went to the Kingdom of Him whom they had loved and for the sake of whose love they had perished. They suffered with honour before Easter in 796, in the time of Patriarch Elias of Jerusalem. But a just punishment quickly fell on their savage destroyers. Returning to their tents, they began to quarrel, and in the ensuing battle killed each other off.
* 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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