By Stan Shinn

Today’s reading from the Prologue from Ohrid reminds us that while we are called to forgive those who sin against us, we are also as a church called to champion justice, protect the innocent, and discipline the unlawful. It is a lesson sadly ignored by many of our modern day Bishops. Saint Nikolai Velimirovic describes St. Basil’s teaching on this subject:

Christianity has uprooted many barbaric customs from the society of man. But some of those customs-praiseworthy from the pagan point of view, but shameful from the Christian point of view-are, even to the present day, like hidden corruption oozing from a supposedly healed wound. One of these customs is the unlawful kidnapping of maidens. St. Basil wrote powerfully to one of his priests, after one such incident:

“Do all in your power to find and rescue this maiden. Then, return her to her parents and excommunicate the perpetrator. Also suspend those who abetted him — including their entire households-from participation in services for three years. Likewise, suspend everyone in the village to which the maiden was taken, where she was hidden or perhaps kept by force — so that all will know that a kidnapper should be driven away from them like a serpent or some other wild beast or common enemy, and that the abused should be protected.”

From the September 6 daily reading in Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich’s “The Prologue from Ohrid”, available here.