…the Bible is not merely a history of the people of Israel. It is also a great chronicle of the soul of mankind, of the souls which would repeatedly fall and stand up again before the face of God, which repeatedly fell into sin and repeatedly repented. If we were to examine the lives of those mentioned in the Bible, we would see that each of them is presented not so much as a historical figure, an individual that did such and such, but as an individual standing before the Living God. The person’s historical or other accomplishments are accorded second place. What remains is what is most important: did that person remain faithful to God, or not. If we read the Bible and the Great Canon with that frame of reference, we will see that much of what is said about the righteous ones and sinners of antiquity is nothing less than a chronicle of our soul, of our repeated falling and rising, of our repeated sin and repentance.   [The Great Canon of St Andrew] points to Noah’s virtues and the bitterness and lack of repentance shown by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He resurrects for us the memory of the righteous patriarchs and valiant men: Moses, Joshua son of Nun, Gideon and Jephthah; he allows us to look at the King David’s piety, his fall and touching repentance; he points out to us Ahab’s and Jezebel’s impiety, and also the great paradigms of repentance—the Ninevites, Manasseh, the harlot, and the wise thief. He accords special attention to Mary of Egypt, and more than once stops the reader at the Cross and at the Holy Sepulcher of our Lord. Everywhere, he teaches repentance, humility, prayer, and self-denial.

Prayer:  We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee, for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.



Continuing with excerpts from St Nikolai’s Prologue for Lent

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

You will hear this kind of justification from many who pursue riches: “When I become rich, I will be able to perform good works!” Do not believe them, for they deceive both you and themselves. St. John Climacus knew in depth the most secret motives of men’s souls when he said, “The beginning of love of money is the pretext of alms giving and the end of it is hatred of the poor” (Step 16). This is confirmed by all lovers of money, the rich or the less rich. The average man says, “If only it were that I had money, I would carry out this and that good work!” Do not believe him. Let him not believe himself. Let him look at himself, as in a mirror, at those who have money and who are not willing to do this or that good work. That is how he would be if he acquired some money. Again, the wise John says, “Do not say that you are collecting money for the poor; so that through and by this you give help to them, in order to gain the kingdom; remember, for two mites the kingdom was purchased” (Step 16) – (St. Luke 21:2). Truly, the Gospel widow purchased it for two mites, and the rich man, before whose gates Lazarus lay, could not purchase it for all of his countless riches. If you have nothing to give to the poor, pray to God that He will give to them and, by this, you have performed almsgiving and purchased the Heavenly Kingdom.


From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’


O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not.



Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
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 Timothy’s inheritance and in addition immediately offer sacrifice to the idols. Without fear and trembling, this discerning saint responded to the eparch with the Evangelical words: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you” (St. Luke 12:20), “and that with which you boast that 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 caught in his throat. From noon to midnight, the physicians struggled to save his life but all was in vain. At midnight, Tarquinius gave up his proud soul in greatest torments. And so the prophecy of St. Sylvester was fulfilled, as also were the Biblical words: “Pride goes before disaster” (Proverbs 16:18).
From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’


But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see my failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Bodily purity is primarily attained by fasting, and, through bodily purity, spiritual purity is also attained. Abstinence from food, according to the words of that son of grace, St. Ephraim the Syrian, means: “Not to desire or ask for various foods, either sweet or costly; not to eat anything outside the designated time; not to succumb to the spirit of gluttony; not to excite hunger in oneself by looking at good food; and not to desire at one moment one kind of food and at another moment another kind of food.” Great is the fallacy that fasting and Lenten food harm the health of the body. It is a known fact that the ascetics lived the longest and were the least prone to illness. St. Daniel and the Three Children in Babylon offer us an example of this. When the king ordered his eunuch to feed these young men food from the royal table and to give them good wine to drink, Daniel told the eunuch that they did not want to accept the royal food and wine but wanted only vegetables for food (for Daniel did not want to eat the food sprinkled with the blood of the idolatrous sacrifices). The eunuch, fearing that the youths would be weakened by the fasting foods, related his fear to Daniel. Then the prophet suggested that he make a test and convince himself that the fasting food would not weaken them: to nourish the other youths at the royal court with food from the king’s table, and to feed the four of them only on pulse for the course of ten days, and then make a comparison. The eunuch heeded Daniel and did what he suggested. After ten days, the faces of the four ascetic youths were more radiant and their bodies were stronger than the bodies of the Babylonian youths who ate and drank from the king’s table.
From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’



Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see my failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.



Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Brethren, in one day, you can gain all eternity. And in one day, brethren, you can lose all eternity. You are given thousands of days on earth to determine your own personal eternal salvation or for your own personal eternal damnation. But blessed be a hundred-fold that day in which you repent of all your unclean deeds, unclean thoughts and return to God crying out for mercy! That day will be worth more to you than a thousand other days…
Brother, do not wait, do not wait for that blessed day of repentance comes by itself. You alone brother, seize firmly the first day that comes to meet you and say: “You are that, my blessed day, by which I will purchase life eternal!” Do not wait, brethren do not wait for “Behold, the Judge stands before the door!” That Judge is the Living Lord Who also created you and, until now, has seen and numbered all of your transgressions. In a day or two, He can draw you to the judgment where you will not have, not even a word of justification. Seize the day! Seize the day of repentance! Seize the day before death has seized you! “Behold, the Judge stands before the door!”
From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’

Prayer:  O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.


Friday of the Second Week of Lent
…let no one speak of the happiness of tomorrow’s day. Behold, yet this night your soul may depart your body and tomorrow you will find yourself surrounded by black demons in the tollhouses [Mitarstvo]! And yet, even this night, a man can be separated from his relatives and friends, from wealth and honor, from the sun and the stars and find himself in a totally unknown company, in an unseen place and at an unexpected judgment.
Instead of boasting of tomorrow’s day, it would be better to pray to God to “Give us this day our daily bread.” Perhaps today’s day may be our last day on earth. That is why it is better to spend this day in repentance for all our past days on earth rather than vainly fantasizing about tomorrow’s day, about the day which perhaps will not dawn for us. Vain fantasizing about tomorrow’s day cannot bring us any good, but repentance for one day with tears can save us from eternal fire.
From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’

Prayer:  Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)

Saturday   of the Second Week of Lent

God does not punish sinners because it gives Him gratification to destroy men. If that gave Him gratification, He would not have created man out of nothing. He punishes man out of more important constructive reasons, of which two are most apparent to us: First, that by punishment He corrects them and leads him on the true path of salvation; second, to frighten others from sinning. St. Isaac also thinks this when he says, “The just wise man is similar to God, for he punishes man, not to reproach him for his sin but either to correct man or to instill fear in others.” One recalcitrant young man, who ridiculed God and his parents, suddenly went insane. The entire city in which this young man lived saw, in this, the punishment of God and were terrified with the fear of God. The young man was held bound and isolated for three years. His mother wept bitterly and prayed to God for her son. One year, during the Feast of Pentecost, the mother brought her insane son to the monastery of St. Basil in Ostrog. After prayers, the insane youth was cured and became himself again. After that, he became an exemplary person and a true Christian.


From St. Nikolai’s ‘Prologue of Ohrid’


Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have Mercy on me a sinner.