Naum of Preslav

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Icon of Saint Naum
Our holy and God-bearing father Naum of Preslav (or Naum the Miracle-worker of Ohrid) was a preacher who enlightened Bulgaria with the faith of Christ. His feastday is celebrated on December 23.

Life

Saint Naum flourished during the reign of Michael the king of the Romans, son of Theophilos the iconoclast, in 842. At this time Sts. Cyril and Methodius and Clement lived in Bulgaria, where they struggled to enlighten the deceived nation of the Bulgarians with the faith of Christ and orthodoxy. Naum followed his illustrious predecessors in everything. He preached the faith while being beaten, mocked, and suffering persecutions and scourges from the unbelievers and enemies of Christ.

Because the aforementioned fathers, i.e. holy Cyril and Methodius and Clement the equals of the apostles, wanted to translate the Scriptures from Greek to Bulgarian using the letters and words which they had devised to be understood by Bulgarians, they thought it reasonable to submit this work to Pope Hadrian of Rome so that it might receive authority and approval from him as well.

Thus Naum went to Rome with them, and Pope Hadrian accepted them with honour and courtesy. God produced many miracles in Rome through His servants. Sick men that hastened to them were cured in a wonderful way: as soon as they looked the saints in the eyes they were freed from their diseases. Due to these miracles (and from other revelations) the Pope came to know that this work of translation was from God. Indeed, he compared the Greek text of the Scriptures with the Bulgarian one and found that they agreed in everything. So, he approved of and authorized the translation.

Afterwards, St. Cyril, the initiator of the translation stayed in Rome, where he eventually reposed in the Lord, while holy Methodius took his disciples with him. Naum was one of these who decided to return again to Bulgaria. On his return he went to the land of Allamans (i.e. Germans), where various heresies were widespread, including Apollinarism, Arianism, and the filioque. There holy Methodius, together with Naum, struggled to bring the heretics back to Orthodoxy. In return the barbarians punished the saints with beatings and other tortures and finally put them in prison.

While the saints were praying in prison, there was a great earthquake which shook the whole area. Many houses belonging to the impious men collapsed, the saints' bonds fell loose, and the doors of the prison opened. Thus, the saints came out and started walking on the street joyfully, as the holy Apostles had done, because they were deemed worthy to be disgraced for the sake of the Holy Spirit. When they returned to Bulgaria, they were received by Michael, the leader of the Bulgarians, who sent them to neighbouring countries to preach the name of Christ and distribute the Bulgarian translation of the Holy Scriptures. Naum went along with St. Clement, walking with him all over Bulgaria, especially to Diabya, Moesia and Panonia (Hungary), all the while preaching the message of piety. St. Naum did not part from his company till he breathed his last, helping him as Aaron had helped Moses. So, after St. Naum had moved around the aforementioned Diabya and lived for some time in a holy and God-pleasing way, he departed to the Lord, leaving his holy relics as an endless treasure of miracles for those who would hasten to him in faith.

Sources and further reading

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