August 20th (IX - 2)
Icon of the Prophet Samuel
Prophet Samuel (XI Century B.C.). Martyrs Sevirus and Memnon, burned at Thrace (+ 304). Martyrs Lucius (+ 310), Iliodoros and Dosos (+ 380). 37 (or 38) Martyrs burned at Thrace: Orion (Rionos), Antilinus (Anatulinos), Molias, Eudemon, Siluan, Savinus, Eustathias, Straton and Bosua (Bzuas) -- from Biza (Byzantium); Timothy, Palmatus, Mestus, Nikon (Nitus), Difilus, Dometian (Dometius), Maximus, Neophytes, Victor, Rinus, Satorninus, Epaphrodites, Cercanus (Kerkas), Gaius, Zoticus, Cronion, Anthony (Anthus), Horus (Herus), Zoilus, Tyrannus, Agathon (Agathus), Panstenus (Parthenias), Achilles, Panthyrias, Chrysanthus, Athenodorus, Pantoleon, Theosebius (Theoseberus), Genephlius -- from Philippopolis.
The Prophet Samuel was the 15th and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophima of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought of the Lord through the prayers of his mother Anna (wherefore he received the name Samuel, which means "besought"), and even before birth he was dedicated to God. When the boy reached age 3, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow gave him over to the tabernacle in care of the high-priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over the Israelite nation. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and already at 12 years of age he had the revelation, that God would punish all the house of the high-priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons.
The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them were also the sons of the high-priest, Hophni and Phinees), gaining victory and capturing the Ark of the Covenant with God. Hearing of this, the high-priest Eli fell from his seat backwards at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: "The glory is gone out from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 4: 22).
Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative, and after their returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities, which the Philistines had taken. Having gotten up in years, the Prophet Samuel made his sons -- Joel and Abiah -- judges over Israel, but they followed not in the integrity and righteous judgement of their father, since they were motivated by greed. Then the elders of Israel, wanting that the nation of God should be "like other nations" (1 Sam. [1 Kings] 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that a king be established for them. The Prophet Samuel saw in this a deep downfall of the people, which until this time God Himself had governed, announcing His will through His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people, whether they consent in his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him. After denunciation of the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed as king Saint David, to whom he had offered asylum, saving him from the pursuit of king Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam. [1 Kings]; Sirach 46: 13-20). In the year 406 A.D. the relics of the Prophet Samuel were transferred from Judea to Constantinople.
The Martyrs Sevirus, Memnon and 37 Martyrs suffered in Thracian Philippopolis under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). For his steadfast and fearless confession of faith, they tore at Saint Sevirus with iron hooks. Then they put red-hot rings on the fingers of his hand and girded him with a red-hot iron belt. After these tortures they blinded the martyr. When the governor learned, that the Martyr Sevirus had converted to Christ the centurion Memnon, he gave orders to subject Memnon to tortures. They tore and cut from the back of the Martyr Memnon three strips of skin. Together with him there suffered another 37 martyrs. For all of them, they cut off their hands and feet and threw them into a fiery oven (304).
The Martyr Lucius, a senator, for confessing faith in Christ was beheaded by the sword on the island of Crete in the year 310.
The Martyrs Iliodoros and Dosos (or Dos) suffered for Christ in Persia under the emperor Sapor II, in the year 380.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos