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Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia the Roman

October 30, 2016 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Verses

You endured beheading with a mighty heart, Offspring of Rome Martyr Anastasia. On the twenty-ninth Anastasia submitted to a sharp sword.

The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman was born in Rome of well-born parents and left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken into a women’s monastery near Rome, where the abbess was one Sophia, a nun of a high level of perfection. She raised Anastasia in fervent faith, in the fear of God and obedience. After seventeen years, Anastasia was known to the Christians as a great ascetic and to the pagans as a rare beauty.

The persecution against Christians by the emperor Decius (249-251)* began around that time. The pagan administrator of the city, Probus, heard of her and sent soldiers to bring Anastasia to him. The good Abbess Sophia counselled Anastasia for two hours on how to keep the faith, how to resist flattering delusion and how to endure torture. Anastasia said to her: “My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my beloved Jesus.” Blessed by her abbess to suffer for Christ, the young martyr Anastasia humbly came out to meet the armed soldiers.

Brought before the governor Probus, Anastasia openly proclaimed her faith in Christ the Lord. Probus asked for her name. She replied: “My name is Anastasia [“Resurrection”], because the Lord resurrected me, so that I could shame you today, and your father the devil.” On seeing her youth and beauty, Probus first attempted flattery to make her deny Christ and dissuade her from the faith, “Why waste your youth, deprived of pleasure? What is there to gain by enduring tortures and death for the Crucified One? Worship our gods, marry a handsome husband, and live in glory and honor.” The holy maiden steadfastly replied, “My spouse, my riches, my life and my happiness are my Lord Jesus Christ, and you will not turn me away from Him by your deceit! I am ready to die for my Lord, not once but – oh, if it were only possible! – a thousand times.”

Probus then subjected Anastasia to fierce tortures. The holy Martyr bravely endured them, glorifying and praising the Lord. First she was struck in the face, then they stripped her naked, to humiliate her. She cried out to the judge: “This disrobing isn’t shameful at all for me, because it’s a brilliant, most fitting adornment. I’ve been stripped of the old person and have donned the new, in righteousness and truth. I’m now ready to suffer this death you hope to terrify me with. I want it so much. Even if you cut up my members, rip out my tongue, my nails and my teeth, you’ll be granting me an even greater blessing. I devote my whole being to my Creator and Savior. I desire that He be glorified in all my members. I’ll present them to him as jewels, with the adornment of faith.”

The governor then ordered that four posts be driven into the ground, on which they stretched out the Martyr and tied her, face-down. Underneath, they lit a fire with oil, pitch and brimstone, as well as other inflammable materials, by which her breasts, stomach and internal organs were burned. From above, the heartless torturers beat her back with sticks. She suffered and was thus tortured for a good long time and her spine and all her back were cut to pieces from the beating. On her front, the flesh, the veins and her blood were all thoroughly burned and she underwent such pain and agony that it was frightening to hear her. Only with her prayers, which were like dew, was she able to moderate the fierceness of the heat, because she remembered God’s former miracles, such as the Babylonian furnace.

When the brutal and inhuman beast saw that the Martyr was not cowed by these tortures, he ordered her to be tied to a wheel. No sooner said than done, and, when the wheel was turned by some mechanical device, all the Saint’s bones were shattered, her tendons and joints stretched, her body was pulled out of its natural, harmonious shape and she became a pitiful sight.

When the tyrant saw that the Saint was able to withstand this dreadful torture, he determined to defeat her immense resilience with other tortures. So he had all her teeth and nails pulled out and her breasts cut off. Again, the Saint thanked the Lord that she had become a sharer and participant in His sufferings. At the same time, she cursed the tyrant’s gods, calling them forces of darkness, demons and perdition for the soul.

The judge could not bear to hear such words and, because the light was so hateful to his feeble eyes, he ordered that her tongue be torn out from the root. Yet again, the Saint was not cowed by this punishment; she merely asked for a little time in which to glorify the Lord with her organs of speech. Having finished her prayer, she told the executioner to set about his work, which he did, cutting off her tongue. She fainted from the pain and a Christian called Cyril gave her a little water to drink. When Probus heard this, he was so enraged that he ordered his head to be cut off.

An Angel of God appeared to Anastasia and upheld her. The people, seeing the inhuman and disgusting treatment of the Saint, became indignant, and the ruler was compelled to end the tortures. She was finally beheaded with the sword outside the city. The body of the Saint was thrown out beyond the city to be eaten by wild animals, but the Lord did not permit her holy relics to be dishonored. At the command of a holy Angel, Abbess Sophia went to find Anastasia’s mutilated body, and with the help of two Christians buried it in the earth.
In this manner, Saint Anastasia received the crown of martyrdom. Her feast day is celebrated on October 29th.** Her shinbone with skin on it as well as her right hand are kept today at Gregoriou Monastery in Mount Athos.
Notes:

* Some say it was during the reign of Diocletian.

** There is another Roman martyr named Anastasia who is celebrated on October 12th, but it is likely the same person. However, this Anastasia should not be confused with Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolytria celebrated on December 22nd.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O holy Virgin Anastasia, thou didst redden thy robe of purity with the blood of thy martyr’s contest. Thou dost illumine the world with the grace of healing, and intercede with Christ our God for our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Purified by the streams of thy virginity, and crowned by the blood of martyrdom, thou dost grant healing to those in sickness, and salvation to those who lovingly pray to thee. For Christ has given thee strength which flows to us as a stream of grace, O Virgin Martyr Anastasia.

Source:
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2016/10/holy-virgin-martyr-anastasia-roman.html


The Life of Saint Nina

August 24, 2016 | Media, Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized


Saint Ephrem the Syrian

August 19, 2016 | Media, Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized


A Miracle of Saint John Maximovitch

July 1, 2016 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

A miracle of St. John Maximovitch (amateur translation) In 2004, in the city of Mulino, Oregon, an astonishing and wondrous event took place. It concerns a God-fearing woman of Russian descent, part of the Church of the New Russian Martyrs, where Fr. Sergios Svesnikof serves as a priest. In this parish are preserved as a treasure the epimanikia (clerical cuffs) of St. John. This woman, who was in her last week of pregnancy (actually a short time before her due date), went for her last general appointment. During the appointment, they were shocked when the doctor diagnosed that the child was dead in the mother's womb. Immediately they told her that she would experience contractions and that she would give birth to a dead baby. She fainted and was mourning. When they came to their senses, they prepared to give her a medicine to speed up contractions and induce labor. She told them to stop immediately, and asked them to call their priest, Fr. Sergius. When he learned what occurred, he told them to not do anything, but to wait. A short time later he arrived at the hospital, bringing the epimanikia of St. John. Holding the epimanika he signed her with the sign of the Cross on her womb, and to the great astonishment of all, the baby's heart began to beat again, as the portable ultrasound showed! The child was born a short time later alive and healthy, and was named John in honor of the Saint.

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Saint Isidore of Pelusium

February 4, 2016 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

St. Isidore of Pelusium: This Saint was from Alexandria and was a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom. He struggled in asceticism in a monastery at Mount Pelusium, and became abbot of the monks struggling in that monastery. He wrote a great many epistles replete with divine grace, wisdom, and much profit. Over 2,000 of them are preserved in Volume 78 of Migne's Patrologia Graeca (PG 78:177-1646); according to some, he wrote over 3,000 epistles, according to others, 10,000. He reposed on February 4, 440. Apolytikion in Plagal Fourth Mode The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Isidore, your soul rejoices with the angels. Kontakion in Fourth Mode O All-Blessed Isidore, the Church hath found thee as another morning star; and with the lightning of thy words she is illumined and crieth out: Rejoice, O ven'rable Father of godly mind. #orthodox #orthodoxy #orthodoxchristianity #icon #chiristianity #stisidore #faith

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Venerable Shio of Mgvime

May 23, 2015 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Commemorated on May 9, May 7 and on Thursday of the Cheese-fare Week

An Antiochian by birth, St. Shio of Mgvime was among the Thirteen Syrian Fathers who preached the Christian Faith in Georgia. His parents were pious nobles who provided their son with a sound education.

When the twenty-year-old Shio heard about the great ascetic labors of St. John of Zedazeni and his disciples who labored in the wilderness, he went in secret to visit them. St. John promised to receive Shio as a disciple, provided his parents agreed to his decision.

But when Shio returned home he said nothing to his parents about what had transpired.

Time passed and Shio’s parents both entered the monastic life.

Then Shio sold all his possessions, distributed the profits to the poor, widows, orphans, and hermits, freed all his family’s slaves, and returned to Fr. John.

St. John received Shio joyfully, tonsured him a monk, and blessed him to remain in the wilderness. He labored there with St. John for twenty years. Then John was told in a divine revelation to choose twelve disciples and travel to Georgia to increase the faith of its people. Shio was one of the disciples chosen to follow him on this holy mission.

The holy fathers arrived in Georgia and settled on Zedazeni Mountain. Then, with the blessings of Catholicos Evlavios and Fr. John, they dispersed throughout the country to preach the Word of God.

At his instructor’s command, St. Shio settled in the Sarkineti caves near Mtskheta and began to lead a strict ascetic life. There was no water there and many wild animals made their home in the caves, but the privations and tribulations he encountered did not shake St. Shio’s great faith. Like the Prophet Elijah, Shio received his food from the mouths of birds that carried it to him.

Once, after St. Shio had prayed at length, a radiant light appeared suddenly in the place where he was, and theMost Holy Theotokos and St. John the Baptist stood before him. After this miraculous visitation St. Shio began to pray with even greater zeal, and he would spend hours alone in the wilderness.

Another time, St. Evagre (at that time ruler of Tsikhedidi and military adviser to King Parsman) went hunting in the Sarkineti Mountains. There he encountered St. Shio and, astonished by his piety, resolved to remain there with him. The news of the ruler’s conversion soon spread through all of Georgia, and many people flocked to witness the venerable father’s miraculous deeds. Many remained there with them, following St. Evagre’s example.

Once St. Shio prayed to God to reveal to him the place where He desired a church to be built. He placed a lump of hot coal in his hand and sprinkled incense on it, as though his hand were a censer. Then he followed the smoke as it swirled up from the hot coal. In the place where it rose straight up like a pillar, he took his staff and marked the ground where the church would be built.

When King Parsman heard about his military adviser’s radical change of life, he was deeply disturbed and wandered into the wilderness to find him. But when he witnessed the divine grace shining on St. Shio’s face, he took off his crown and knelt humbly before him. Fr. Shio reverently blessed the king, helped him to stand up, and replaced the crown on his head. Following the king’s example, all the royal court came to receive Shio’s blessing. A certain nobleman with an injured eye knelt before St. Shio, touched his eye to the holy father’s foot, and received healing at once.

At another time King Parsman asked St. Shio if there was anything he needed, and he answered, “O Sovereign King, God enlightens the hearts of kings. Do that which your heart tells you!” In response, the king donated much wealth for the construction of a church in the wilderness: the lands of four villages, a holy chalice and diskos, a gold cross, and an ornately decorated Gospel that had belonged to the holy king Vakhtang Gorgasali (†502).

When construction of the church was complete, the king traveled there in the company of the catholicos, several bishops and St. John of Zedazeni. The hierarchs consecrated the newly built church, and a monastic community soon grew up on its grounds. Eventually, the number of monks laboring at King Parsman’s monastery grew to nearly two thousand. Many people visited this place to receive St. Shio’s wonder-working blessings, and they were healed from many diseases.

St. Shio performed many miracles: Once a wolf that had been prowling the monastery grounds ravaged a herd of donkeys. When St. Shio heard this, he prayed to God to transform the wolf into the protector of the herd. From that time on the wolf grazed peacefully among the other animals.

With the blessings of both his teacher, John of Zedazeni, and the catholicos of Georgia, St. Shio gathered his disciples, advised them on the path they should follow, appointed Evagre his successor as abbot, and went into reclusion in a well that he had dug for himself. There St. Shio spent fifteen years in prayer and fasting. Finally, when God revealed to him that his death was approaching, St. Shio partook of the Holy Gifts and lifted up his hands, saying, “O Lord, receive the soul of Thy servant!”

Later, during one of the Persian invasions, the soldiers of Shah Abbas uncovered the holy father’s relics and carried them back to Persia. In the same year Persia was ravaged by a terrible plague, and the frightened invaders returned the holy relics to the Shio-Mgvime Monastery.

© 2006 St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.


The Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

May 21, 2015 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Commemorated on May 8, September 26

st-john-theologianThe Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian occupies an unique place in the ranks of the chosen disciples of Christ the Saviour. Often in iconography the Apostle John is depicted as a gentle, majestic and spiritual elder, with features of innocent tenderness, with the imprint of complete calm upon his forehead and the deep look of a contemplator of unuttered revelations. Another main trait of the spiritual countenance of the Apostle John is revealed through his teaching about love, for which the title “Apostle of Love” is preeminently designated to him. Actually, all his writings are permeated by love, the basic concept of which leads to the comprehension, that God in His Being is Love (1 Jn. 4: 8). In his writings, Saint John dwells especially upon the manifestations of the inexpressible love of God for the world and for mankind, the love of his Divine Teacher. He constantly exhorts his disciples to mutual love one for another.
      The service of Love – was the entire pathway of life of the Apostle John the Theologian.

      The qualities of calmness and profound contemplation were in him combined with an ardent fidelity, tender and boundless love with intensity and even a certain abruptness. From the brief indications of the Evangelists it is apparent, that he was endowed in the highest degree with an ardent nature, and his hearty passionateness sometimes reached such a stormy zealousness, that Jesus Christ was compelled to give the admonishment, that it was discordant with the spirit of the new teaching (Mk. 9: 38-40; Lk. 9: 49-50, 54‑56) and He called the Apostle John and his brother by birth the Apostle James “Sons of Thunder” (“Boanerges”). During this while Saint John shows scant modesty, and besides his particular position among the Apostles as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, he did not stand out among the other disciples of the Saviour. The distinguishing features of his character were the observance and sensitivity to events, permeated by a keen sense of obedience to the Will of God. Impressions received from without rarely showed up in his word or actions, but they penetrated deeply and powerfully into the inner life of the holy Apostle John. Always sensitive to others, his heart ached for the perishing. The Apostle John with pious tremulation was attentive to the Divinely-inspired teaching of his Master, to the fulness of grace and truth, in pure and sublime comprehending the Glory of the Son of God. No feature of the earthly life of Christ the Saviour slipped past the penetrating gaze of the Apostle John, nor did any event occur, that did not leave a deep impression on his memory, since in him was concentrated all the fulness and wholeness of the human person. The thoughts also of the Apostle John the Theologian are imbued with suchlike an integral wholeness. The dichotomy of person did not exist for him. In accord with his precepts, where there is not full devotion, there is nothing. Having chosen the path to service to Christ, to the end of his life he fulfilled it with complete and undivided devotion. The Apostle John speaks about wholistic a devotion to Christ, about the fulness of life in Him, wherefore also sin is considered by him not as a weakness and injury of human nature, but as evil, as a negative principle, which is completely set in opposition to the good (Jn. 8: 34; 1 Jn. 3: 4, 8-9). In his perspective, it is necessary to belong either to Christ or to the devil, it is not possible to be of a mediocre lukewarm, undecided condition (1 Jn. 2: 22, 4: 3; Rev. 3: 15-16). Therefore he served the Lord with undivided love and self-denial, having repudiated everything that appertains to the ancient enemy of mankind, the enemy of truth and the father of lies (1 Jn. 2: 21-22). Just as strongly as he loves Christ, just as strongly he contemns the Anti-Christ; just as intensely he loves truth, with an equal intensity does he contemn falsehood, – for light doth expel darkness (Jn. 8: 12; 12: 35-36). By the manifestation of the inner fire of love he witnesses with the unique power of spirit about the Divinity of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1: 1-18; 1 Jn. 5: 1-12).
      To the Apostle John was given to express the last word of the Divine Revelation (i.e. the final book of the Holy Scripture), ushering in the most treasured mysteries of the Divine inner life, known only to the eternal Word of God, the Only-Begotten Son.
      Truth is reflected in his mind and in his words, wherein he senses and grasps it in his heart. He has comprehension of eternal Truth, and as he sees it, he transmits it to his beloved spiritual children. The Apostle John with simplicity affirms or denies and speaks always with absolute precision (1 Jn. 1: 1). He hears the voice of the Lord, revealing to him what He Himself hears from the Father.
      The theology of the Apostle John abolishes the borderline between the present and the future. Looking at the present time, he does not halt at it, but transports his gaze to the eternal in the past time and to the eternal in the future time. And therefore he, exhorting for holiness in life, solemnly proclaims, that “all, born of God, sin not” (1 Jn. 5: 18; 3: 9). In communion with God the true Christian partakes of life Divine, whereby the future of mankind is accomplished already on earth. In his explanation and disclosing of the teaching about the Economia of salvation, the Apostle John crosses over into the area of the eternal present, in which Heaven would co-incide with earth and the earth would be enlightened with the Light of Heavenly Glory.
      Thus did the Galilean fisherman, this son of Zebedee, become Theologian proclaiming through Revelation the mystery of world-existence and the fate of mankind.
      The celebration on 8 May of the holy Apostle John the Theologian was established by the Church in remembrance of the annual drawing forth on this day at the place of his burial of fine rose ashes, which believers gathered for healing from various maladies. The account about the life of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian is situated under 26 September, the day of his repose.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.


The Monk Vitalios

May 5, 2015 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Commemorated on April 22

      The Monk Vitalios, a monk of the monastery of Saint Serid, arrived in Alexandria when the Patriarch of Alexandria was Sainted John the Merciful (609-620, Comm. 12 November).
      The saint, already up in age (he was 60 years old), made bold to take upon himself an extraordinary exploit: he wrote down for himself in memory all the harlots of Alexandria and he began fervently to pray for them. The monk toiled from morning to evening and he earned each day 12 copper coins. In the evening the saint bought himself a single bean, which he ate not earlier than sunset. The remaining money he would give to one of the harlots, to whom he went at night and said: “I beseech thee, for this money preserve thyself in purity this night, and sin with no one”. Then the monk shut himself in with the harlot in her room, and while she slept, the elder spent the whole night at prayer, reading the psalms, and in the morning he quietly left. And such he did each day, visiting by turns all the harlots, and he took from them a promise, to keep secret the purpose of his visit. The people of Alexandria, not knowing the truth, became indignant over the behaviour of the monk, and they every which way reviled him, but he meekly endured all the mockery and he only asked that they not judge others.

      The holy prayers of the Monk Vitalios saved many a fallen woman. Some of them went off to a monastery, others got married, and yet others started respectable work. But to tell the reason of straightening out their life and lift the abuse heaped upon the Monk Vitalios they could not: they were bound by an oath, given to the saint. And when of the woman began to break her oath to stand up in defense of the saint, she fell into a demonic frenzy. After this, the Alexandria people had no doubt concerning the sinfulness of the monk.
      Certain of the clergy, scandalised by the behaviour of the monk, made denunciation against him to the holy Patriarch John the Merciful. But the Patriarch did not believe the informers and he said: “Cease to judge, especially monks. For know ye not, what transpired at the First Nicea Council? Certain of the bishops and the clergy brought written letters of denunciation against each other to the emperor of blessed memory Constantine the Great. He commanded that a burning candle be brought, and not even reading the writings, he burned them and said: “If I perchance with mine own eyes had seen a bishop sinning, or a priest, or a monk, then I would have veiled such with his garb, so that no one might see his sin”. Thus the wise hierarch shamed the calumniators.
      The Monk Vitalios continued on with his difficult exploit: appearing himself before people under the guise of a sinner and a prodigal, he led the prodigal to repentance.
      One time, emerging from an house of ill repute, the monk encountered a young man going there – a prodigal fellow, who with an insult struck him on the cheek and cried out, that the monk was a disgrace to the Name of Christ. The monk answered him: “Believe me, that after me, humble man that I be, thou also shalt receive such a blow on the cheek, that will have all Alexandria thronging to thine cry”.
      A certain while afterwards the Monk Vitalios settled into a small cell and in it at night he died. In that selfsame hour a terrifying demon appeared before the youth who had struck the saint, and the demon struck the youth on the cheek and cried out: “Here for thee is a knock from the Monk Vitalios”. The youth went into a demonic madness. In a frenzy he thrashed about on the ground, tore the clothing from himself and howled so loudly, that a multitude of people gathered.
      When the youth finally came to his senses after several hours, he then rushed off to the cell of the monk, calling out: “Have mercy on me, O servant of God, in that I have sinned against thee”. At the door of the cell he came fully to his senses and he told those gathered there about his former encounter with the Monk Vitalios. Then the youth knocked on the door of the cell, but he received no answer. When they broke in the door, they then saw, that the monk was dead, on his knees before an icon. In his hand was a scroll with the words: “Men of Alexandria, judge not beforehand, til cometh the Lord, the Righteous Judge”.
      At this moment there came up the demon-possessed woman, punished by the monk for wanting to violate the secret of his exploit. Having touched the body of the saint, she was healed and told the people about everything that had happened with her.
      When the women who had been saved by the Monk Vitalios learned about his death, they gathered together and told everyone about the virtues and mercy of the saint.
      Saint John the Merciful also rejoiced, in that he had not believed the calumniators, and that a righteous man had not been condemned. And then together with the throng of repentant women, converted by the Monk Vitalios, the holy Patriarch solemnly conveyed his remains throughout all the city and gave them reverent burial. And from that time many of the Alexandria people made themselves a promise to judge no one.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.


Quote from the Monk Martyr Michael of St Savvas

September 18, 2014 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

The king then, full of wrath, said: “Do either of two things: deny thy faith or choose a bitter death.” The athlete of Christ answered:  “Do thou one of three things: leave me to go to my elder, for I have done no wrong; or send me to Christ with martyrdom; or become a Christian and reign for eternity in the heavens.”

The Lives of the Saints of the Holy Land and the Sanai Desert

Monk-Martyr Michael of St. Savvas Lavra


The Holy Great-Martyress Irene

May 19, 2014 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

The Holy Great-Martyress Irene lived during the I Century and until baptism had the name Penelope. She was daughter of the pagan Licinius, governor of the city of Migdonia (in Macedonia, or Thrace). Licinius built for his daughter a separate splendid palace, where she lived with her governess Karia, surrounded by her peers and her servants. Daily there came to Penelope a tutor by the name of Apelian, who taught her the sciences. Apelian was a Christian, and during the time of study he told the maiden about Christ the Saviour and taught her the Christian teaching and the Christian virtues. 
      When Penelope became an adolescent, her parents began to think about her marriage. During this period of her life the Lord instructed her in a miraculous manner: to her at the window there flew one after the other of three birds – a dove with an olive twig, an eagle with a garland, and a raven with a snake. Penelope’s teacher Apelian explained to her the meaning of these signs: the Dove, symbolising the virtues of the maiden, – humility, meekness and chasteness, – bearing an olive twig, – the grace of God received in Baptism; the Eagle, – symbol of sublimity of spirit, attained through meditation upon God, – bearing a garland for victory over the invisible enemy as a reward from the Lord. The Raven, however, bearing the snake was a sign that the devil would rise up against her and would cause her grief, sorrow and persecution. At the end of the conversation Apelian said, that the Lord wished to betroth her to Himself and that Penelope would undergo much suffering for her Heavenly Bridegroom. After this Penelope refused marriage, accepted Baptism from the hands of the Disciple Timothy, – who was a disciple of the holy Apostle Paul, and she was named Irene. She began even to urge her own parents to accept the Christian faith. The mother was pleased with the conversion of her daughter to Christ; the father at first did not hinder his daughter, but then he began to demand of her the worship to the pagan gods. When however Saint Irene firmly and decisively refused, the enraged Licinius then gave orders to tie up his daughter and throw her beneathe the hooves of frenzied horses. The horses remained motionless. But one of them got loose from its harness, threw itself at Licinius, seized him by the right hand and tore it from his arm, then knocked Licinius down and began to trample him. They then untied the holy maiden, and through her prayer Licinius in the presence of eye‑witnesses rose up unharmed, with his hand intact. Seeing such a miracle, Licinius with his wife and many of the people, in number about 3000 men, believed in Christ and refrained from the pagan gods. Resigning the governance of the city, Licinius settled into the palace of his daughter, intending to devote himself to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Irene however began to preach the teaching of Christ among the pagans and she converted them to the path of salvation. She lived in the house of her teacher Apelian.

Having learned of this, Sedecius, – the new governor of the city, summoned Apelian and questioned him about the manner of life of Irene. Apelian answered that Irene, just like other Christians, lived in strict temperance, in constant prayer and reading of holy books. Sedecius summoned the saint to him and began to urge her to cease preaching about Christ and to offer sacrifice to the gods. Saint Irene staunchly confessed her faith before the governor, not fearing his wrath, and prepared to undergo suffering for Christ. By order of Sedecius she was thrown into a pit, filled with vipers and serpents. The saint spent 10 days in the pit and remained unharmed, since an Angel of the Lord protected her and brought her food. Sedecius ascribed this miracle to sorcery and he subjected the saint to a cruel torture: he gave orders to saw her with an iron saw. But the saws broke one after the other and caused no harm to the body of the holy virgin. Finally, a fourth saw reddened the body of the holy martyress with blood. Sedecius with derision said to the martyress: “Where then is thy God? If He be powerful, let Him help thee!” Suddenly a whirlwind shot up, gave forth a blinding lightning-flash, striking down many of the torturers, thunder crashed, and a strong rain poured down. Beholding such a sign from Heaven, many believed in Christ the Saviour. Sedecius did not understand the obvious display of the power of God and he subjected the saint to new torments, but the Lord preserved her unharmed. Finally the people rebelled having to look upon the sufferings of the innocent virgin, and they rose up against Sedecius and expelled him from the city.
      Having replaced Sedecius as governor, they still subjected Saint Irene to various cruel torments, during which while by the power of God she continued to remain unharmed, and the people under the influence of her preaching and accomplishing of miracles all the more in number were converted to Christ, having turned away from the worship of soul-less idols. Over 10,000 pagans were converted by Saint Irene.
      The saint went from her native city Migdonia to Kallipolis, and there she continued to preach about Christ. The governor of the city by the name of Babadonos subjected the martyress to new punishments, but seeing that the saint remained unharmed, he came to his senses and believed in Christ. A large number of pagans believed together with him, all whom received holy Baptism from the Disciple Timothy.
      After this Saint Irene settled in other cities of Thrace – Konstantinos and then Mesembros, preaching about Christ and working miracles, healing the sick and undergoing suffering for Christ. 
      In the city of Ephesus the Lord revealed to her, that the time of her end was approaching. Then Saint Irene in the company of her teacher the elder Apelian and other Christians went out from the city to an hilly cave and, having signed herself with the sign of the cross, she went into it, having directed her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone, which they did. Four days after this, when Christians visited the cave, they did not find the body of the saint in it. Thus reposed the holy Great-Martyress Irene.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.