Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Good Example for Young Women

It is a formidable task in this degenerate age to find good role models for the young ladies in our lives, be they friends or relatives, whose souls are still being formed.  In this respect, the lives of the saints are all the more valuable to us. 

The Holy Martyr Zlata of Meglin, Bulgaria, is but one example of a righteous and courageous life we could share with them.  While many in the South do not face a physical threat like that of the marauding Turks (at the present - though not too many generations ago they did; and perhaps we should be ready for the return of such bands as Christianity dwindles in influence), still the subtle pressure of renouncing Christ (if not in words, then in deeds) remains.

Let us learn from and honor this holy one who contested for Christ in the same year that our forefathers were unfortunately buried in the mundane, wringing their hands over the question of Adams or Jefferson for President.

Zlata was born of poor peasant parents (who also had three other daughters) in the village of Slatina, in the province of Meglin. She was a meek and devout girl, wise in the wisdom of Christ and golden, not only in name but also in her God-fearing heart. Once when Zlata went out to get water, some shameless Turks seized her and took her to their home. When one of them urged her to become a Moslem and be his wife, Zlata fearlessly replied: ``I believe in Christ and Him alone do I know as my Bridegroom. I will never deny Him, even though you subject me to a thousand tortures and cut me into pieces.'' When her parents and sisters found her, her parents said to her: ``O daughter, have mercy on yourself and on us, your parents and sisters; deny Christ in words only, so that we can all be happy, for Christ is merciful. He would forgive such a sin, committed due to the necessities of life.'' Her poor parents, sisters and relatives wept bitterly. However, the noble soul of St. Zlata resisted such diabolical snares. She answered them: ``When you counsel me to deny Christ the true God, you are no longer my parents or my sisters. I have the Lord Jesus Christ as my father, the Theotokos as my mother, and the saints as my brothers and sisters.'' The Turks then cast her into prison for three months, flogging her every day until her blood soaked the ground. Finally, they suspended her upside down and lit a fire, to suffocate her with the smoke; but God was with Zlata, and gave her strength in suffering. At last they hanged her from a tree and cut her into small pieces. Thus, this brave virgin gave her soul up to God, and went to dwell in Paradise in the year 1796. Pieces of her relics were taken by Christians to their homes for a blessing.

The Holy Great-martyr Zlata of Meglin
The Turks tortured St. Zlata of golden heart,
Tormented her to death for Christ the Living God.
Golden Zlata wept not, nor did she waver,
But surrendered her whole heart to the Lord of Heaven.
The tears of parents and sisters were in vain:
Zlata sought delight through sufferings, true delight-
The delight that Christ prepares for wise virgins,
The joy that the Bridegroom bestows upon faithful brides.
The cage of the body of Zlata the Golden was destroyed,
And her soul was freed from its fragile prison.
Zlata rose up to Paradise, joyful in soul,
Taking her place among the royal, holy angels.
St. Zlata, once a poor peasant girl,
Is now glorified in Paradise as a queen.

Source:  St Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid, for the day of 13 October:

This translation of the Prologue is copyright © 1999 Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America and is hosted on the website of the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America.

This version includes not only the Lives of the Saints, but also the Hymns of Praise, Reflection, Contemplation and Homily sections for every day, just as Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic wrote it in the original Serbian text. This first, complete version in English was translated by Reverend T. Timothy Tepsic and Very Reverend Janko Trbovich.

This internet publication is intended for the private use of people of good will and cannot be copied, published, or used in any other form without the written consent of the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America, the copyright owner.

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