The Prologue of Ochrid: September 24th
1. The Holy Protomartyr Thecia, Equal to the Apostles.
Thecla was born in Iconium of eminent pagan parents. She was
betrothed at the age of eighteen to a young man, at the time
that the Apostle Paul came to Iconium with Bamabas to preach
the Gospel. Listening to Paul for three days and nights, Thecla
turned utterly to the Christian faith and vowed to live in virginity.
Her mother, seeing that she shunned her betrothed and thought
no more of marriage, first talked to her and then beat her and
starved her. Finally, she gave her over to the judges and demanded,
wicked mother that she was, that 'Mecla be burned. The judge
threw her into the flames, but God preserved her unharmed. Thecla
then became a follower of the Apostle Paul, and went with him
to Antioch. Attracted by Thecla's beauty, an elder of the city
attempted to take her by force, but Thecla tore herself out of
his grasp. The elder denounced her to the governor as a Christian
who was averse to marriage. The governor condemned her to death
and threw her to the wild beasts, but the animals would not touch
the body of this holy virgin. Amazed at this, the governor asked:
'Who are you, and what is the power that you have in you, that
nothing can do you harm?' Thecia replied: 'I am a servant of
the living God.' Then the governor let her go free, and she began
to preach the Gospel and succeeded in bringing many to the true
Faith, among whom was an eminent and honoured widow, Tryphena.
After this, St Thecla, with the blessing of the Apostle Paul,
withdrew to a solitary place near Seleucia. She lived a long
time there in asceticism, healing the sick with miraculous power
and in this way bringing many to Christianity. The doctors in
Seleucia were jealous of her and sent some young men to assault
her, hoping that, in losing her virginity, she would lose also
her miraculous power. Thecla fled from these insolent young men
and, when she saw that they would catch her, prayed to God for
help in front of a rock, and the rock opened and hid the holy
maiden and bride of Christ. This rock was her hiding place and
her tomb . St Chrysostom says of this wonderful Christian heroine
and saint: 'I seem to see this blessed virgin going to Christ
with virginity in one hand and martyrdom in the other.'
2. St Stephen, King of Serbia, the First-Crowned (Simon the Monk).
Crowned king at Zica, his foundation, by his brother and spiritual
father, St Sava, he was a devout Christian and a wise and peaceloving
ruler. Stephen, together with St Sava, raised Orthodoxy to great
heights among his people. At his desire, St Sava made him a monk
at the time of his death, giving him the name Simon. He entered
into rest in the Lord on September 24th, 1224, and his relics
are preserved at Studenica.
3. St David (formerly Prince Dimitrije).
Son of Vukan, Stephen's brother, he built the monastery at Lim,
at which he himself became a monk.
4. The Holy Prince Vladislav.
Son of King Stephen, he built the monastery of Mileseva, whither
he took St Sava's relics from Trnovo. He was distinguished by
a rare compassion for the poor. On the coinage of his time, he
had inscribed: 'The servant of God Vladislav'.