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The Holy 42 Martyrs of Ammoreia: Constantine, Aetios, Theophilos, Theodore, Melissenos, Kallistos, Basoes and the others with them

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on March 6

The Holy 42 Mar­tyrs of Ammor­eia: Con­stan­tine, Aetios, Theophi­los, Theodore, Melis­senos, Kallis­tos, Basoes and the oth­ers with them: Dur­ing the time of a war between the Grae­co-Byzan­tine emper­or Theophi­los (829–842) and the Sara­cens, the Sara­cens man­aged to besiege the city of Ammor­eia (in Gali­cia in Asia Minor). As a result of trea­son on the part of the mil­i­tary com­man­der Badit­ses, Ammor­eia fell, and forty‑two of its mil­i­tary defend­ers were tak­en cap­tive and sent off to Syr­ia. Over the course of sev­en years of exhaus­tive impris­on­ment they tried in vain to per­suade the cap­tives to renounce the Chris­t­ian faith and accept Mus­sul­man­ism. The cap­tives stub­born­ly resist­ed all the seduc­tive offers and brave­ly held out against the ter­ri­ble threats. After many tor­ments that failed to break the spir­it of the Chris­t­ian sol­diers, they con­demned them to death, in the hope of shak­ing the stead­fast­ness of the saints before the actu­al exe­cu­tion. They said to the Sol­dier Theodore: “We know that thou, hav­ing for­sak­en the priest­ly dig­ni­ty, didst become a sol­dier and shed blood. Thou canst not hope upon Christ, ‑- so accept Mahomet”. But the mar­tyr with con­vic­tion replied: “I wilt not renounce Christ, and more­over, in that I left the priest­ly duty, the blood­shed was nec­es­sary”. The con­demned calm­ly and with­out fear walked up to the exe­cu­tion­ers. They behead­ed them, and threw their bod­ies into the Riv­er Euphrates. In the ser­vice to them, these holy pas­sion-bear­ers are glo­ri­fied as: the “All-Blest” Theodore, the “Uncon­quered” Kallis­tos, the “Val­liant” Con­stan­tine, the “Won­drous” Theophi­los and Bas­roes the “Most‑Strong”. And indeed the betray­er Badit­ses did not escape his shame­ful lot: the ene­my knew, that it is impos­si­ble to trust a trai­tor, and they killed him.

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