Augustine Sokolovski

It is important not to forget that Christians are called to virtue. At the same time, virtues can be dynamic, in action, word and way of thinking. Such virtues can be lost, they are also easy to change.

But there are static virtues that are important to acquire and much easier to keep. However, they are no less important. They are before God and beneficial in spiritual and daily life. Permanent virtues that remain with a person adorn the memory, help in communicating with others.

Grace is communication, virtue is the fruit of grace. A similar virtue is the knowledge from memory of the days of the celebration of the saints, that is, the memory of which of the saints is remembered today. It is impossible to know the names of all the saints. There are many calendars that differ from each other, Local Churches also sometimes celebrate saints in different days. However, it seems quite realistic to learn, at least in part, the days of celebration day by day.

Saints Florus and Laurus were martyrs. They suffered for Christ in the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138). Recall that most of the ancient martyrs known to us by name refer to the persecution of the era of Diocletian (284-305). Already in this chronological exclusivity of Florus and Laurus are worthy of veneration.

According to the very few historical records that have survived almost two thousand years after their suffering, the saints were masons and practiced their craft in Byzantium. This was the name of the ancient settlement, where, two centuries later, Constantine the Great I founded Constantinople in 330. Florus and Laurus were brothers.

The Saints experienced conscious conversion to Christ and were baptized as adults. The apostles who passed on the faith to them were their teachers and comrades in the profession, Maximus and Proclus. It is important not to forget that each person has not only a Guardian Angel, but also his own Apostle. According to the plan of the Church, godparents should be such. By the way, if profanation is allowed in this case, the wrath of God can be severe. “Cursed is he who does the work of God negligently,” says Scripture (Jer. 48:10). The Sacrament of Baptism is the true work of God in creating man new.

In the early days of Christianity, the Roman Authority did not usually engage in formal, systematic persecution. Persecution was sporadic. Christians were usually killed on denunciation. Often denounced by colleagues in the profession from the Gentiles, in order to get rid of competitors.

When the teachers of the holy brothers, Maximus and Proclus, suffered in this way for Christ, they, having learned about it, withdrew to Illyria. So in Roman times the historical region in the Balkans was called. Presumably, they chose to live in the vicinity of the modern Macedonian city of Skopje. Here they received a new construction contract and began their work.

The building was to become a pagan temple. Recall that usually idols stood inside such temples, and sacrifices and other actions were performed outside. The pagans did not know prayer in the biblical sense. Everything was subordinated to the fulfillment of the rule and the execution of the ritual. The progress of the work, according to the life, was monitored by the son of the city priest.

According to the vita, once a part of the structure collapsed on a young man. He was severely wounded, and his eye was completely damaged. In a rage, the priest unleashed his anger on Florus and Laurus. The pagans looked for cause and effect relationships in everything. Therefore, the accusation fell on the brothers that what had happened was the wrath of the gods. Thus, the suspicion arose that they were Christians.

According to the Gospel, the Lord Jesus, knowing that the accusation of messianism would lead Him to the Cross, entered Jerusalem. Thus, He made his suffering inevitable. Radicalizing the course of tragic circumstances, He indicated that His suffering was voluntary, and, at the same time, brought universal salvation closer. In a similar way, Saints Florus and Laurus did not make excuses, but, together with their workers, performed a night service in the still unfinished church. The priest's son, through the prayer of the Church, received healing. So, the pagan temple became the topos of conversion.

When news of this reached the local ruler, the workers were executed. Their cruel death, and they were burned, became a baptism of blood. Paraphrasing the title of Lindemann's song, we can say that only by the predestination of God, fire and water converge. Saints Florus and Laurus were thrown alive into a well and covered with earth. Centuries later, their relics were found.

When the relics of the martyrs were uncovered, the pandemic among animals stopped. That is why Saints Flor and Laurus are depicted on icons with horses. This touching detail not only reminds us that in popular piety they are the patrons of domestic animals, but also points to that messianic time when, according to Paul, all creation, rational and animal, will be released into the freedom of the glory of the God’s children (cf. Romans 8:21).