The Prologue of Ochrid: September 20th
1. The Holy and Great Martyr Eustace (Placidus).
He was a great Roman military leader in the time of the Emperors
Titus and Trajan. Although a pagan, Placidus (for that was his
pagan name) was a righteous and merciful man, like the centurion
Cornelius, who was baptised by the Apostle Peter (Acts 10). Going
hunting one day, he found a stag. By the providence of God, a
shining Cross appeared among the stag's antlers and the voice
of God came to Placidus, telling him to go to a Christian priest
and be baptised. Placidus was baptised, along with his wife and
two sons. At his baptism, he received the name Eustace, his wife
the name Theopiste and their sons the names Agapius and Theopistus.
After his baptism, Eustace went back to the very place where
the revelation through the stag had occurred, and thanked God
on his knees that he had brought him to the truth. At that, the
voice of God came to him again, foretelling suffering for His
name and strengthening him. Then Eustace secretly left Rome with
his family, with the intention of hiding among simple people
and serving God in an unknown and humble way. Arriving in Egypt,
he was immediately beset by trials. Some wicked barbarian carried
off his wife, and his two sons were seized by wild beasts. But
the barbarian quickly came to a bad end, and a herdsman saved
the boys from the wild beasts. Eustace settled in the Egyptian
village of Vadisis, and there lived as a village hireling for
fifteen years. After this, the barbarians descended on the Roman
Empire, and the Emperor Trajan was sorry that his brave commander
Placidus, who had been victorious wherever he had fought, was
not with him. The Emperor sent two of his officers to seek the
great general throughout the Empire. By God's providence, these
officers, who had been friends of Eustace, came to this village
of Vadisis, found him and took him to the Emperor. Eustace gathered
the army together and defeated the barbarians. On the way back
to Rome, Eustace went and found his wife and sons. When he arrived
in Rome, the Emperor Trajan had died and the Emperor Hadrian
was on the throne. When Hadrian summoned Eustace to offer sacrifice
to idols, Eustace told him that he was a Christian. The Emperor
put him to torture, together with his wife and sons. When the
wild beasts did them no harm, he threw them into a white-hot
metal ox. On the third day, they took out their bodies, dead
but untouched by the fire. Thus this glorious general gave to
Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's,
and entered into the eternal Kingdom of Christ our God.
2. The Holy Prince Michael and his Counsellor Theodore.
Prince Michael of Chernigov went to the Tartar horde with his
counsellor, Theodore, at the invitation of their ruler, Bati.
When they refused to follow the Tartar custom of passing through
fire and worshipping idols on being received by Bati, they were
beheaded, in 1244. Their relics, the witnesses of their death
by martyrdom for the sake of Christ, are preserved in the Church
of the Archangel in Moscow.
3. Our Holy Father, the Martyr Hilarion.
A monk of the Holy Mountain, he suffered voluntarily for the
Christian faith at the hands of the Turks in Constantinople on
September 20th, 1804. His wonderworking relics are preserved
in the Church of the Transfiguration on the island of Proti.