June 7th (VI - 20)
Icon of the Hieromartyr Theodotos, Sebastiana the Wonderworker, and Martyr Zinaida
Martyr Theodotos of Ancyra (+ 303). PriestMartyr Marcellinus, Pope of Rome, and the Martyrs Claudius, Cyrinus and Antoninus (+ 304). PriestMartyr Marcellus, Pope of Rome, and Martyrs: Deacons -- Cisenius and Cyriacus, Soldiers -- Smaragdus, Largias, Apronian, Satyrninus, Papias and Maurus; Criscentian and WomenMartyrs Priscilla, Lucy and Artemia the Emperor's Daughter (+ 304, 305, 306, 310). Sainted Anacletus, Pope of Rome (+ 91). Saints Hesia and Susanna (I). Martyrs Tarasius and John; Kaleria (Valeria), Kyriakia and Maria in Caesarea Palestine (IV). Martyress Zinaida the Wonderworker. Monastics: Anthymos the Presbyter; Stephen the Presbyter; Sebastiana the Wonderworker. Monk Antonii of Kensk and Kozheezersk (+ 1592).
The Holy Martyr Theodotos lived in Galatian Ancyra in the III Century. He was distinguished by an especial kindliness and concern. At the height of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305) he provided Christians all the necessities and gave them shelter in his home, where secretly they made Divine-services. Saint Theodotos visited the Christian captives in prison, paid their bail, and reverently gave burial to the bodies of martyrs thrown for devouring by wild beasts. One time he dragged out of the water and gave burial to the bodies of seven holy martyresses, drowned in the sea (Comm. 18 May). They reported about this to the governor. Having refused to offer sacrifice to idols and having denounced the pagan folly, Saint Theodotos confessed the true faith in Christ, for which they subjected him to terrible tortures and beheaded him with the sword (+ 303). They wanted to burn up the body of the holy martyr, but a storm having arisen made it futile to attempt this, and they gave him over to a Christian for burial.
The PriestMartyr Marcellinus, Pope of Rome, and with him the Holy Martyrs Claudius, Cyrinus and Antoninus: Saint Marcellinus was Pope of Rome during the height of the persecution against Christians under Diocletian and Maximian (284-305), when during the course of a single month 17,000 men were martyred. During this time also Pope Marcellinus was arrested. Terrified of the fierce tortures, he burned incense and offered sacrifice to idols. The emperor called him his friend and attired him in splendid clothes. Torn with agonising remorse, he wept bitterly that, having roused many to accept torture for Christ, he himself gave his flock an example of cowardice.
During this time at the city of Sinuessa (in Campania) there met a Council consisting of 180 bishops and presbyters. Pope Marcellinus appeared at the assembled Council in penitential hair-shirt, his head sprinkled with ashes, and he asked to be judged for his betrayal. The fathers of the Council said: "Judge thyself with thine own lips. From thy lips the sin did come forth, from thy lips likewise let judgement be pronounced. We know, that even Saint Peter out of fear denied Christ, but he bitterly bewept his sin and again received blessing of the Lord".
Then Marcellinus pronounced sentence upon himself: "I recognise myself deprived of the priestly dignity, of which I am unworthy. After death let my body not be given over to burial, but rather thrown for devouring to the dogs; cursed be the one who dares to bury it".
Upon his return to Rome Marcellinus went to the emperor, threw down at his feet the fine clothing given him and said, that he bitterly regretted his renunciation of Christ. The enraged emperor gave orders to torture him and sentenced him to death.
Fervently having prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who mercifully receives sinners that do repent, the martyr willingly placed his head beneathe the sword. With him were beheaded the holy Martyrs Claudius, Cyrinus and Antoninus (+ 304).
The body of Saint Marcellinus lay for 36 days along the wayside. Appearing in a vision to the newly-made Pope Marcellus, the holy Apostle Peter said: "Why all this time hast thou not given burial to the body of Marcellinus?" "I fear his curse," -- answered Saint Marcellus. "Perhaps thou dost not remember, -- said the Apostle Peter, -- that it is written: 'He that humbleth himself shalt be exalted'. Wherefore go bury his body with reverence".
Fulfilling the command of the Apostle Peter, Saint Marcellus buried the body of holy Pope Marcellinus in a crypt, built for burial of the bodies of martyrs by the illustrious Roman Priscilla, along the Via Salaria.
The PriestMartyr Marcellus, Pope of Rome, and the Holy Martyrs Cisenius and Cyricus -- Deacons, Smaragdus, Largias, Apronian, Satyrninus, Papias and Maurus -- Soldiers, Criscentian and the Holy WomenMartyrs Priscilla, Lucy and Artemia the Emperor's Daughter suffered in Rome during the time of the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) and their successors -- Galerius (305-311) and Maxentius (305-312). The emperor Maximian, ruling the western half of the Roman empire, deprived all Christians of military rank and sent them into penal forced labour. A certain rich Christian, Thrason, began to send food and clothing to the prisoners by way of the Christians Cisenius, Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largias. Holy Pope Marcellus thanked Thrason for his generosity, and Cisenius and Cyriacus he ordained as deacons. Soon while rendering aid to the captives Cisenius and Cyriacus also were arrested and sent off to harsh labour. They fulfilled not only their own norm, but worked also for the dying captive Satyrninus, for which Maximian gave Cisenius over for torture to the governor of the district, Laodicius. They locked up the saint in prison. The head of the prison, Apronian, summoned Saint Cisentius for interrogation but, seeing that his face shone with an Heavenly light, he believed in Christ and was baptised. And then later going together with Cisenius, he went to holy Pope Marcellus and received Chrismation. Having made liturgy, Saint Marcellus communed the Holy Mysteries. On this day, 7 June, Saints Cisenius and Satyrninus in the company of Apronian were brought before Laodicius. Saint Apronian confessed that he was a Christian, and was beheaded, and Saints Cisenius and Satyrninus were thrown into prison. Then Laodicius gave orders to bring them to a pagan temple to offer sacrifice. Saint Satyrninus said: "Would that the Lord turn the pagan idols into dust!" At that very moment the tripods, on which incense burned in front of the idols, melted. In sight of this miracle the soldiers Papias and Maurus confessed Christ. After prolonged tortures Cisenius and Satyrninus were beheaded, and Papias and Maurus were locked up in prison, where they prayed concerning their illumination by holy Baptism. The Lord granted them to realise their desire. Leaving unnoticed from the prison, they received Baptism from Saint Marcellus and returned to the prison.
At the trial they again confessed themselves Christians and died under terrible tortures. Their venerable bodies were buried by the Presbyter John and Thrason.
Saints Cyriacus, Smaragdus, Largias and other Christian prisoners continued to waste away at hard labour.
The emperor's daughter Artemia, the young daughter of Diocletian, suffered from demonic oppression. Having learned that the prisoner Saint Cyriacus could cure infirmity and cast out devils, the emperor summoned him to the sick girl. In gratitude for the healing of his daughter, the emperor set free Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largias. Soon the emperor dispatched Saint Cyriacus to Persia, so that he would heal the daughter of the Persian emperor. Upon his return to Rome, Saint Cyriacus was arrested on orders of the emperor Galerius, the son-in-law of Diocletian, who had abdicated and retired as ruler. Galerius was very annoyed at his predecessor for the converting to Christianity of the emperor's daughter Artemia. He gave orders to lead behind his chariot Saint Cyriacus -- stripped and bloody in chains, to the shame and ridicule of the crowds.
Pope Marcellus denounced the emperor openly before everyone for his cruelty towards innocent Christians. The emperor gave orders to beat the holy pope with canes and to deal brutally with the saint of Christ. Saints Cyricus, Smaragdus, Largias, and still another prisoner, Criscentian, died under torture. And at this time also executed were the emperor's daughter Artemia and yet another 21 prisoners in prison with Saint Cyriacus.
Holy Pope Marcellus was secretly freed by Roman clergy. Having dug up the bodies of the holy Martyrs Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largias, they re-buried them on the estates of two Christians Priscilla and Lucy on the outskirts of Rome, having transformed the house of Lucy into a church.
Ascending the throne, Maxentius gave orders to destroy the church and transform it into a cattle-yard, and he sentenced the holy pope for life to herd the cattle. Exhausted by hunger and cold, and wearied by the stench, holy Pope Marcellus fell sick and died in the year 310.
The holy women Pricilla and Lucy were in disgrace banished from Rome, and their estates confiscated and plundered.
The Holy WomenMartyrs Kaleria (Valeria), Kyriakia and Maria were inhabitants of Palestinian Caesarea during the time of persecution under Diocletian (284?305). Having received instruction in the Christian faith, they left off with the pagan manner of life, settled in a solitary place and spent their lives in prayer, beseeching the Lord, that the persecution against Christians would come to an end, and that the faith of Christ would shine throughout all the world. The governor tried to force them to worship idols, but they bravely confessed their faith in Christ. For this they were given over to torture during which time they died.
The Holy Women Hesia and Susanna were disciples of the PriestMartyr Pankratios, Bishop of Tauromeneia (Comm. 9 July), a disciple of the Apostle Peter.
The Monk Antonii of Kensk (Kozheezersk), with schema-monk name Avramii, was a disciple and successor of the Monk Serapion (Comm. 27 June) in the guiding of the Kozheezersk ("Leather-tanning Lake") monastery. He reposed peacefully to the Lord on 27 June 1592.
© 1998 by translator Fr. S. Janos.