The greatest treasure of any realm is the saintly and good men who live in it. Compared to this wealth, all other wealth is as nothing. Devout Christian emperors considered holy men within their realm as the greatest of God's blessings. The holy Emperor Constantine the Great said: "I give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that in my days there exist three divine lights: Blessed Anthony, Abba Elonius and Abba Euchius."
Before the battle of Kulikovo, crucial for the Russians, the devout Prince Dimitri Donskoy went to the forest of Radonezhwith with his chief assistants and dukes, to seek out the Venerable Sergius, and he implored his intercession before God. Even though the prince prepared his army for a war of liberation against the Tartars, he placed greater hope in the prayers of one holy man than in a vast army and many weapons.
On the confusion of those darkened by sin
"Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" (Lk. 7:49)
Thus asked the unrepentant sinners: "Who is this?" This is He Who feels most the sting of human sin, and upon Whom all the sins of mankind fall as blows. This is He Who once in Paradise looked upon sinless man. This is He Who created man without sin, and this is He Who Himself is without sin, from all eternity and forever.
Only he can forgive who can also seek revenge. The strong man seeks revenge by reprisal. The weak man seeks revenge by hatred. If you are able to return the delivered blow and you do not do it, it still does not mean that you have forgiven, until you uproot the anger from your heart. Great is the One Lord, Who can both seek revenge and forgive. Great is He in His justice, for He will seek revenge on the unrepentant sinner. Great is He in His mercy, for He will forgive the penitent sinner.
Of, if only men would know the power of the forgiveness of sins! Behold, when the sins of the blind man were forgiven, he saw. When the sins of the deaf man were forgiven, he heard. When the sins of the hunchbacked woman were forgiven, she stood erect. When the sins of the woman with the issue of blood were forgiven, she also was healed. When the sins of the man afflicted by insanity were forgiven, he became sane. When the sins of the man possessed with demons were forgiven, he was freed. When the sins of the harlot were forgiven, she too was cleansed. When the sins of the dead man were forgiven, he lived again!
Oh, how terrible is the chain of sins! How heavy are the chains of many sins! These chains are not loosened by sinful hands. But when the hands of the All-pure Lord touch them, they become loosened and fall apart of their own accord. When the voice of the Pure One reaches them, they fall apart. And from the glance of the Pure One, they fall apart. Yes, even from the thoughts of the Pure One, they fall apart - these terrible chains of sins.
"Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" O sinners, this is the Lord, all-pure - and because of purity, almighty.
O Lord, all-pure almighty, free us from the chains of sins.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
26 January, Reflection & Homily