April 29, 2011

Saint Basil of Ostrog (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

St. Basil of Ostrog (Feast Day - April 29)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Basil was born in Popova, a village in Hercegovina, of simple and God-fearing parents. From his youth, he was filled with love for the Church of God, and when he reached maturity he entered the Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Trebinje and there received the monastic tonsure.

As a monk, he quickly became renowned because of his genuine and rare ascetical life. Saint Basil took upon himself mortification upon mortification, each one heavier and more difficult than the last. Later, against his will, he was elected and consecrated bishop of Zahumlje and Skenderia.

As a hierarch, he first lived in the Monastery Tvrdosh and from there, as a good shepherd, strengthened his flock in the Orthodox Faith, protecting them from the cruelty of the Turks and the cunning ways of the Latins. When Basil was exceedingly pressed by his enemies, and when Tvrdosh was destroyed by the Turks, he moved to Ostrog, where he lived an austere ascetical life, protecting his flock by his ceaseless and fervent prayer.(*)

He died peacefully in the Lord in the sixteenth century, leaving behind his incorruptible relics; incorruptible and miracle-working to the present day. The miracles at the grave of St. Basil are without number. Christians and Muslims alike come before his relics and find healing of their most grave illnesses and afflictions. A great pilgrimage of people occurs there annually on the Feast of Pentecost.

(*) A new church was built upon the ruins of the old Tvrdosh Monastery in our day by Nikola Runjevac from the village of Poljica near Trebinje. A wonderful and glorious monumental church (Zaduzbina) before God and before His people.


Saint Basil, one chosen by God,
And of every affliction, wondrous healer,
With the power of your Christ, Whom you greatly loved,
The gravest of the ill, you were able to heal,
Even now, for anyone who honors you, you are able [to do]
And who firmly believe in the Living God.
O glory of the Serbian people, do not cease to help,
For the sinful, do not cease to pray.
In heavenly glory, you are a saint of God
And saints are men with a full healthy spirit,
In you [Basil] we see a true man,
Free from sin and overly filled with healing,
In whom the fire of the Holy Spirit burns,
In whom the love of the resurrected Christ stands.
To the All-powerful God and to you, we are grateful,
Because through you, God pours out abundant mercy,
Through His saint, glorious and of angelic face -
Basil the Serbian, God's chosen one!

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
From your youth you gave yourself entirely to the Lord, remaining in prayer, labor and fasting, O God-bearing Father. Because you were an example of virtues and good works to your flock, seeing your good work, God established you as a pastor and good hierarch of His Church. And after your repose, He kept your body incorrupt, O Holy Basil. Therefore, with boldness pray to Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Even as a youth, you served the Lord, O Wise one, belaboring your body with prayer and vigil. Because you were shown to be a precious vessel of the Holy Spirit, He established you as a pastor of His Church which you tended well. And as such, you departed to the Lord whom you loved. We pray to you to remember us who keep your memory with faith, that all may shout unto you: Rejoice, O most honorable Basil.