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The Holy Virgin Pelagia

May 17, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs

holy-virgin-pelagiaThe Holy Vir­gin Pela­gia lived dur­ing the III Cen­tu­ry in the city of Tar­sis in the Cili­cian dis­trict of Asia Minor. She was the daugh­ter of illus­tri­ous pagans and when she heard preach­ing from her Chris­t­ian acquain­tances about Jesus Christ the Son of God, she believed in Him and desired to pre­serve her chasti­ty, ded­i­cat­ing her whole life to the Lord. The heir of emper­or Dio­clet­ian (a youth adopt­ed by him), hav­ing seen the maid­en Pela­gia, was cap­ti­vat­ed by her beau­ty and want­ed to take her to be his wife. But the holy vir­gin told the youth, that she was betrothed to the Immor­tal Bride­groom, – the Son of God, and there­fore she had renounced earth­ly mar­riage. This answer of Pela­gia caused great anger in the impe­r­i­al youth, but he decid­ed to leave her in peace for awhile, hop­ing, that she would change her frame of mind. This same while Pela­gia con­vinced her moth­er to send her off to her nurse who had raised her in child­hood – secret­ly hop­ing to locate the bish­op of Tar­sis Kli­non, who had fled to a moun­tain dur­ing a time of per­se­cu­tion against Chris­tians, and to accept Holy Bap­tism from him. In a dream vision there appeared the form of the bish­op – Kli­non, pro­found­ly impress­ing itself upon her mem­o­ry. Saint Pela­gia set off to her nurse in a char­i­ot, in rich clothes and accom­pa­nied by a whole ret­inue of ser­vants, as her moth­er had desired her to. Along the way Saint Pela­gia, through some par­tic­u­lar order­ing of events by God, met bish­op Kli­non. Pela­gia imme­di­ate­ly recog­nised the bish­op, whose image had appeared to her in the dream. She fell at his feet, request­ing bap­tism. At the prayer of the bish­op there flowed from the ground a spring of water. Bish­op Kli­non made the sign of the cross over Saint Pela­gia, and dur­ing the time of the mys­tery (sacra­ment) Angels appeared and cov­ered the cho­sen one of God with a bright man­tle. Hav­ing com­muned the pious vir­gin with the Holy Mys­ter­ies, bish­op Kli­non raised him­self up in prayer of thanks­giv­ing to the Lord togeth­er with her, and then sent her off to con­tin­ue her jour­ney. Hav­ing returned to the ser­vants await­ing her, Saint Pela­gia preached to them about Christ, and many of them were con­vert­ed and believed. She tried to con­vert her own moth­er to faith in Christ, but the obdu­rate woman sent a mes­sage to the impe­r­i­al youth, – that Pela­gia was a Chris­t­ian and did not wish to be his spouse. The youth com­pre­hend­ed that Pela­gia was lost for him, and not wish­ing to give her over to tor­ture, he fell upon his sword. Pelagia’s moth­er there­upon became fear­ful of the wrath of the emper­or, tied her daugh­ter and led her to the court of Dio­clet­ian as being a Chris­t­ian and also the prob­a­ble cause of the death of the heir to the throne. The emper­or was cap­ti­vat­ed by the unusu­al beau­ty of the maid­en and tried to sway her from her faith in Christ, promis­ing her every earth­ly bless­ing and to make her his own wife. But the holy maid­en refused the offer of the emper­or with con­tempt and said: “Thou art insane, emper­or, telling me such a speech. Know, that I wilt not do thine bid­ding, and I loathe thy vile mar­riage, since I have a Bride­groom – Christ, the King of Heav­en. I desire not thy impe­r­i­al, world­ly, short-dura­tioned crowns, since my Lord in the Heav­en­ly King­dom has pre­pared for me three imper­ish­able crowns. The first for faith – since I have believed with all my heart in the True God; the sec­ond for puri­ty – because I have entrust­ed to Him my vir­gin­i­ty; the third for mar­tyr­dom – since I want to accept for Him every suf­fer­ing and to offer up my soul because of my love for Him”. Dio­clet­ian there­upon sen­tenced Pela­gia to be burnt in a glow­ing red-hot cop­per oven. Not per­mit­ting the exe­cu­tion­ers to touch her body, the holy mar­tyress her­self – sign­ing her­self with the sign of the cross, went with a prayer into the red-hot oven – in which her flesh melt­ed like myrh, fill­ing all the city with fra­grance; the bones of Saint Pela­gia remained unharmed and were removed by the pagans to out­side the city. Four lions then came from out of the wilder­ness and sat around the bones – let­ting get at them nei­ther bird nor wild beast. The lions pro­tect­ed the remains of the saint until such time as bish­op Kli­non came to that place. He gath­ered them up and buried them with hon­our. Dur­ing the reign of emper­or Con­stan­tine (306−337), when the per­se­cu­tions against Chris­tians had stopped, there was built a church at the place of bur­ial of Saint Pela­gia.

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

Saints Timothy and Maura

May 17, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on May 3

Saints Tim­o­thy and Mau­ra suf­fered for the faith dur­ing the time of per­se­cu­tion under the emper­or Dio­clet­ian (284−305). Saint Tim­o­thy came from the vil­lage of Per­a­pa (Egypt­ian The­baid), and was the son of a priest by the name of Pikol­pos­sos. He was made a read­er among the church cler­gy and like­wise a keep­er and copy­ist of Divine-ser­vice books. Saint Tim­o­thy came under denun­ci­a­tion that he was a keep­er of Chris­t­ian books, which by order of the emper­or were to be con­fis­cat­ed and burned. They brought Saint Tim­o­thy before the gov­er­nor Ari­an, who demand­ed him to hand over the cler­gy books. For his refusal to obey the com­mand, they sub­ject­ed the saint to hor­ri­ble tor­tures. They shoved into his ears two red-hot iron rods, from which the suf­fer­er lost his eye­sight and became blind. Saint Tim­o­thy brave­ly endured the pain and he gave thanks to God, for grant­i­ng him to suf­fer for Him. The tor­tur­ers hung up the saint head down­wards, putting in his mouth a piece of wood, and they tied an heavy stone to his neck. The suf­fer­ing of Saint Tim­o­thy was so extreme, that the very ones exe­cut­ing the tor­ment began to implore the gov­er­nor to ease up on the tor­ture. And about this time they informed Ari­an, that Tim­o­thy had a young wife by the name of Mau­ra, whom he had mar­ried a mere 20 days before. Ari­an gave orders to bring Mau­ra, hop­ing, that with her present they could break the will of the mar­tyr. At the request of Mau­ra, they removed the piece of wood from the mouth of the mar­tyr, so that he could speak. Saint Tim­o­thy urged his wife not to be afraid of the tor­tures and to go the path with him. Saint Mau­ra answered: “I am pre­pared to die with thee”, – and bold­ly she con­fessed her­self a Chris­t­ian. Ari­an gave orders to tear out the hair from her head and to cut off the fin­gers from her hands. Saint Mau­ra with joy under­went the tor­ment and even thanked the gov­er­nor for the tor­ture, suf­fered in the redemp­tion of sins. Then Ari­an gave orders to throw Saint Mau­ra into a boil­ing caul­dron, but she did not sense any pain and she remained unharmed. Sus­pect­ing that the ser­vants out of sym­pa­thy for the mar­tyress had filled the caul­dron with cold water, Ari­an went up and ordered the saint to splash him on the hand with water from the caul­dron. When the mar­tyr did this, Ari­an screamed with pain and drew back his scauld­ed hand. Then, momen­tar­i­ly admit­ting the pow­er of the mir­a­cle, Ari­an con­fessed God in Whom Mau­ra believed as the True God, and he gave orders to release the saint. But the dev­il still held great pow­er over the gov­er­nor, and soon he again began to urge Saint Mau­ra to offer sac­ri­fice to the pagan gods. Hav­ing got­ten nowhere, Ari­an was over­come all the more by a satan­ic rage and he began to come up with new tor­tures. Then the peo­ple began to mur­mur and demand a stop to the abuse of this inno­cent woman. But Saint Mau­ra, turn­ing to the peo­ple, said: “Let no one defend me, I have one Defend­er – God, on Whom I trust”.

Final­ly, after long tor­ments Ari­an gave orders to cru­ci­fy the mar­tyrs. Over the course of ten days they hung on cross­es face to face with each oth­er.

On the tenth day of mar­tyr­dom the saints offered up their souls to the Lord. This occurred in the year 286. After­wards at Con­stan­tino­ple there began solemn cel­e­bra­tion of the mem­o­ry of the holy Mar­tyrs Tim­o­thy and Mau­ra, and a church was built in their hon­our.

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

Holy Mar­tyred Nun Pela­gia, Tropar­i­on, in Tone IV
Thy ewe-lamb Pela­gia cri­eth out to Thee with a loud voice, O Jesus: “I love Thee, O my Bride­groom, and, seek­ing Thee, I pass through many strug­gles: I am cru­ci­fied and buried with Thee in Thy bap­tism, and suf­fer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; I die for Thee that I might live with Thee. As an unblem­ished sac­ri­fice accept me, who sac­ri­fice myself with love for Thee By her sup­pli­ca­tions save Thou our souls, in that Thou art mer­ci­ful.

Kon­takion, Tone III
Dis­dain­ing tran­si­to­ry things, hav­ing become a par­tak­er of the good things of heav­en and received a crown for thy suf­fer­ing, O most hon­ored Pela­gia, thou didst bring the tor­rents of thy blood as a gift to Christ the Mas­ter. Pray thou, that He deliv­er from mis­for­tunes us who hon­or thy mem­o­ry

Blessed Martyrs and Fathers of the Saint David-Gareji Monastery

May 7, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on the Tues­day of the Bright Week

In 1616 the Per­sian shah Abbas I led his enor­mous army in an attack on Geor­gia. Hav­ing quenched his thirst for the blood of the Chris­tians, he arranged a hunt in the val­ley of Gare (Out­er) Kakheti. He encamped with his escorts in the moun­tains of Gare­ji and spent the night in that place.

At mid­night the shah’s atten­tion was drawn to a flam­ing col­umn of lights advanc­ing up the moun­tain. At first he took it to be an appari­tion. He was soon informed, how­ev­er, that a famous monastery was sit­u­at­ed in that place and on that night the monks were cir­cling their church three times with light­ed can­dles in cel­e­bra­tion of Christ’s Holy Res­ur­rec­tion. Imme­di­ate­ly the shah com­mand­ed his army to march to the monastery and destroy all those found cel­e­brat­ing.

That same night an angel of the Lord appeared to Abbot Arse­nius of David-Gare­ji and told him, “Our Lord Jesus Christ is call­ing the broth­ers to His Heav­en­ly King­dom. On this night great suf­fer­ing awaits you—you will be killed by the sword. He who desires to pro­long his earth­ly life, let him flee, but he who thirsts to puri­fy his soul for eter­ni­ty, let him per­ish by the sword, and the Lord God will adorn him with the crown of immor­tal­i­ty. Tell this to all who dwell in the monastery, and let each man choose for him­self!”

The abbot informed the monks about his vision, and they began to pre­pare for their immi­nent suf­fer­ings. Only two young monks feared death and fled to a moun­tain not far from the monastery. At the chant­i­ng of the Lord’s Prayer near the end of the Paschal Litur­gy, the monastery was com­plete­ly sur­round­ed by Per­sian war­riors. Abbot Arse­nius stepped out of the church and approached their leader to request that the monks be giv­en a bit more time to fin­ish the ser­vice and for all the broth­ers to receive Holy Com­mu­nion.

The Per­sians con­sult­ed among them­selves and agreed to hon­or this request. The fathers par­took of the Holy Gifts, encour­aged one anoth­er, and pre­sent­ed them­selves clad in fes­tive gar­ments before the unbe­liev­ers. First the Per­sians behead­ed Abbot Arse­nius; then they mas­sa­cred his broth­ers in Christ with­out mer­cy.

After the Per­sians fin­ished killing the monks, they were orga­nized into sev­er­al reg­i­ments and made their way towards the oth­er monas­ter­ies of the Gare­ji Wilder­ness. Halfway between the Chichkhi­turi and St. John the Bap­tist Monas­ter­ies the Mus­lims cap­tured the two young monks who had ear­li­er fled and demand­ed that they con­vert to Islam.

The monks refused to aban­don the Chris­t­ian Faith and for this they were killed. A rose bush grew up in the place where they were killed and con­tin­ued to fra­grant­ly blos­som through the 19th cen­tu­ry, despite the dry and rocky soil.

At the end of the 17th cen­tu­ry, King Archil gath­ered the bones of the mar­tyrs with great rev­er­ence and buried them in a large stone reli­quary to the left of the altar in the Trans­fig­u­ra­tion Church of David-Gare­ji Monastery. Their holy relics con­tin­ue to stream myrrh to this day.

The broth­ers of the Monas­ter­ies of St. David of Gare­ji and St. John the Bap­tist received a bless­ing from Catholi­cos Anton I to com­pose a com­mem­o­ra­tive ser­vice for the mar­tyrs and to des­ig­nate their feast day as Bright Tues­day, or the third day of Holy Pascha.

© 2006 St. Her­man of Alas­ka Broth­er­hood.

The Holy Martyress Thomaida

April 25, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on April 13

holy-martyress-thomaidaThe Holy Mar­tyress Thomai­da was born into a Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly in the city of Alexan­dria. In her child­hood she was edu­cat­ed in piety and loved to read Holy Scrip­ture.

At 15 years of age the girl entered into mar­riage with a fish­er­man, – also a Chris­t­ian. The young cou­ple lived in the house­hold of the husband’s fam­i­ly, where Saint Thomai­da was loved for her mild and gen­tle dis­po­si­tion, and virtue and pru­dence.

The father-in-law of Saint Thomai­da, at the prompt­ing of the dev­il, was cap­ti­vat­ed by her beau­ty. When his son went out at night for fish­ing, he began seek­ing to lead his daugh­ter-in-law into sin. In vain did Saint Thomai­da admon­ish the sense­less old man, remind­ing him about the last Judge­ment and about the penal­ty for sin. Infu­ri­at­ed by the stead­fast­ness of Saint Thomai­da, he thought­less­ly seized a sword and began to threat­en her with death. But Saint Thomai­da answered res­olute­ly: “Even if thou cut me in two, I shall not stray from the com­mand­ments of the Lord”.

Over­come with pas­sion, the father-in-law swung the sword and struck Saint Thomai­da. The saint received a martyr’s death for her pru­dence and faith in the com­mand­ments of God in the year 476.

Divine chas­tise­ment befell the mur­der­er. He instant­ly became blind­ed and was not able to go out the door to flee. In the morn­ing there arrived com­pan­ions of the saint’s hus­band. They opened the doors and saw the body of the saint and the blood-stained blind old man. The mur­der­er him­self con­fessed his evil deed and asked to be con­demned to death by exe­cu­tion.

Dur­ing this time there arrived in Alexan­dria from a wilder­ness skete the Monk Daniel. He bid the monks of the near­by Oktodeca­dia monastery to take the body of the mar­tyress to bury in the monastery ceme­tery. Some of the monks were per­plexed, how it should be pos­si­ble to bury a woman with monks. The monk Daniel answered: “This girl – is a moth­er for me and you. She died for puri­ty”.

After a solemn funer­al the Monk Daniel returned to his own skete. Soon one of the young monks began to com­plain to him, that flesh­ly pas­sions tor­ment­ed him. The monk Daniel ordered him to go and pray at the grave of the holy mar­tyress Thomai­da. The monk did the bid­ding of the elder. Dur­ing the time of prayer at the grave he fell into a light sleep. Saint Thomai­da then appeared to him and said: “Father, have my bless­ing and go in peace”.

Hav­ing awak­ened, the monk felt at joy and peace in his soul. And after this the flesh­ly strug­gle no longer dis­turbed him. Abba Daniel explained to him: “The bless­ing – was the gift of the mar­tyress’ pru­dence; the ascetic deeds of puri­ty hold such pow­er before God”.

In lat­er times many found at the grave of Saint Thomai­da both spir­i­tu­al joy and release from their pas­sions. The relics of Saint Thomai­da were trans­ferred to Con­stan­tino­ple to one of the women’s monas­ter­ies. In the year 1420 the Russ­ian pil­grim archdea­con Zosi­ma viewed them.

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

Holy Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Monastery

April 23, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on April 10

holy-martyrs-kvabtakhevi-monasteryIn the 14th cen­tu­ry, dur­ing the reign of King Bagrat V (1360–1394), Timur (Tamer­lane) invad­ed Geor­gia sev­en times. His troops inflict­ed irrepara­ble dam­age on the coun­try, seiz­ing cen­turies-old trea­sures and raz­ing ancient church­es and monas­ter­ies.

Timur’s armies rav­aged Kartli, then took the king, queen, and the entire roy­al court cap­tive and sent them to Karabakh (in present-day Azer­bai­jan). Lat­er Timur attempt­ed to entice King Bagrat to renounce the Chris­t­ian Faith in exchange for per­mis­sion to return to the throne and for the release of the oth­er Geor­gian pris­on­ers.

For some time Timur was unable to sub­ju­gate King Bagrat, but in the end, being pow­er­less and iso­lat­ed from his kins­men, the king began to fal­ter. He devised a sly scheme: to con­fess Islam before the ene­my, but to remain a Chris­t­ian at heart. Sat­is­fied with King Bagrat’s deci­sion to “con­vert to Islam,” Timur per­mit­ted the king to return to the throne of Kartli. At the request of King Bagrat, Timur sent twelve thou­sand troops with him to com­plete Georgia’s forcible con­ver­sion to Islam.

When they were approach­ing the vil­lage of Khu­nani in south­east­ern Geor­gia, Bagrat secret­ly informed his son Gior­gi of every­thing that had hap­pened and called upon him and his army to mas­sacre the invaders.

The news of Bagrat’s betray­al and the ruin of his army infu­ri­at­ed Timur, and he called for imme­di­ate revenge. At their leader’s com­mand, his fol­low­ers destroyed every­thing in their path, set fire to cities and vil­lages, dev­as­tat­ed church­es, and thus forced their way through to Kvab­takhe­vi Monastery.

Monas­tics and lay­men alike were gath­ered in Kvab­takhe­vi when the ene­my came thun­der­ing in. Hav­ing forced open the gate, the attack­ers burst into the monastery, then plun­dered and seized all its trea­sures. They cap­tured the young and strong, car­ry­ing them away.

The old and infirm were put to the sword. As the great­est humil­i­a­tion, they mocked the cler­gy and monas­tics by strap­ping them with sleigh bells and jump­ing and danc­ing around them.

Already drunk on the blood they had shed, the bar­bar­ians posed an ulti­ma­tum to those who remained: to renounce Christ and live or to be dri­ven into the church and burned alive.

Faced with these terms, the faith­ful cried out: “Go ahead and burn our flesh—in the Heav­en­ly King­dom our souls will burn with a divine flame more radi­ant than the sun!” And in their exceed­ing humil­i­ty, the mar­tyrs request­ed that their mar­tyr­dom not be put on dis­play: “We ask only that you not com­mit this sin before the eyes of men and angels. The Lord alone knows the sin­cer­i­ty of our will and com­forts us in our right­eous afflic­tions!”

Hav­ing been dri­ven like beasts into the church, the mar­tyrs raised up a final prayer to God: “In the mul­ti­tude of Thy mer­cy shall I go into Thy house; I shall wor­ship toward Thy holy tem­ple in fear of Thee. O Lord, guide me in the way of Thy right­eous­ness; because of mine ene­mies, make straight my way before Thee (Ps. 5:6–7) that with a pure mind I may glo­ri­fy Thee for­ev­er….”

The exe­cu­tion­ers hauled in more and more wood, until the flames envelop­ing the church blazed as high as the heav­ens and the echo of crack­ling tim­ber resound­ed through the moun­tains. Ensnared in a ring of fire, the bliss­ful mar­tyrs chant­ed psalms as they gave up their spir­its to the Lord.

The mas­sacre at Kvab­takhe­vi took place in 1386. The imprints of the mar­tyrs’ charred bod­ies remain on the floor of the church to this day.

© 2006 St. Her­man of Alas­ka Broth­er­hood.

The Holy Martyress Theodosia of Tyre

April 16, 2019 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on April 3, May 29

The Holy Mar­tyress Theo­dosia of Tyre suf­fered in the year 307. On 29 May is cel­e­brat­ed the trans­fer of her relics to Con­stan­tino­ple, and lat­er on to Venice. Once, dur­ing a time of per­se­cu­tion against Chris­tians, which then had already last­ed for five years, the sev­en­teen year old Theo­dosia went up to con­demned Chris­t­ian pris­on­ers, sit­u­at­ed in the Prae­to­ri­um. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the mar­tyrs spoke about the King­dom of God. Saint Theo­dosia asked them to remem­ber her before the Lord, when they should come to stand before Him. Sol­diers saw that the maid­en bowed to the pris­on­ers, and they seized hold of her and led her before the gov­er­nor, Urban. The gov­er­nor advised the maid­en to offer sac­ri­fice to the idols but she refused, con­fess­ing her faith in Christ. Then they sub­ject­ed the saint to cru­el tor­tures, – her body they struck at with iron claws such that they did lay bare the bones. The mar­tyress was silent and with an hap­py face endured the suf­fer­ings, and to a sec­ond sug­ges­tion by the gov­er­nor to offer sac­ri­fice to the idols she answered: “Thou fool, I have been grant­ed to join the mar­tyrs!” They threw the maid­en with a stone about her neck into the sea, but Angels drew her out from the depths. Then they gave over the mar­tyress for devour­ing by wild beasts. See­ing that the beasts would not touch her, they cut off her head. By night Saint Theo­dosia appeared to her par­ents, who had tried to talk their daugh­ter into not going to the suf­fer­ings. She was in bright garb with a crown upon her head and a lumi­nous gold cross in her hand, and she said: “Behold the great glo­ry that ye did want to deprive me of!”.

Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia the Roman

October 30, 2016 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized


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.

* 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.


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