Fasting is a great thing, but love is even greater. If, through fasting, demons are cast out, passions tamed, the body pacified and the spirit steadied; then, through love, God takes up His abode in man. The Lord Himself emphasized fasting as necessary, but stressed love as the main commandment.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, Jeladin Bey ruled in Odrid - a renegade from the Sultan and an independent ruler. At that time, the Church was governed by Metropolitan Callinicus. Even though of different faiths, Jeladin Bey and Callinicus were very good friends, and they often visited one another.
It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to be hanged. They were scheduled to be hanged on Great and Holy Friday. The metropolitan, completely disturbed by this, went to Jeladin Bey and began to implore him to be more lenient with the sentence. While they were conversing, the time for lunch arrived and the bey invited the metropolitan to dine. Lamb had been prepared for lunch. The metropolitan excused himself, saying that because of the fast he could not remain for lunch, and he prepared to leave. The bey was sorry and said to the metropolitan: "Choose - either you dine with me and free twenty-five men from the gallows, or you do not dine and allow them to be hanged." The metropolitan crossed himself and sat down to eat, and Jeladin freed the condemned from the punishment of death.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
27 January, Reflection