November 2nd (XI - 15)
Icon of the Martyrs Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphtonios, Elpidephoros, and St. Marcian of Cyprus.
Martyrs Akindinos, Pegasias, Aphthonios, Elpidiphoros, Anempodist and about 7000 suffering with them (c. 341-345). Monk Marcian of Cyreneia (+ 388). Monk Kiprian of Storozhensk (+ post 1598). Women Martyrs Kyriakia, Domnina and Domna. PriestMartyr Philogonias, Patriarch of Antioch (318-322). Shuisk-Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God (1654-1655).
Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodist, -- were courtiers of the Persian emperor Sapor II (310-381), and clandestinely they were Christians. When the emperor started his persecution against Christians, envious pagans denounced them before him. Summoned to the emperor for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The emperor gave orders to beat them with whips. Twice the exhausted executioners switched places, but the holy martyrs let out neither a cry nor a groan. Even the emperor could not endure the strain and he lost consciousness. Everyone thought him dead. But the saints appealed to God, and the emperor came to himself. And having recovered, Sapor accused the saints of sorcery and gave orders to take the holy martyrs over a bon-fire, so as to suffocate them with the smoke. But by the prayers of the saints the fire extinguished, and the ropes binding them sundered. When the emperor asked them how this had occurred, the holy martyrs told him about Christ working the miracle. Blinded by rage, the emperor began to blaspheme the Name of the Lord. Then the saints exclaimed: "Let thy mouth be speechless", -- and the emperor lost his voice. Having gone mad with terror and rage, he tried with gestures to give the order to take away the holy martyrs to prison. Those round about were not able to understand him, and he began to go into an even greater rage: madly plucking off his mantle, he tore at his hair and beat himself upon the face. Saint Akindinos took pity on him and in the Name of the Lord delivered him from the speechlessness. But this time the emperor attributed everything to magic and he continued the torture of the saints. They placed them upon an iron grate and lighted a fire beneathe it. The saints started to pray. Suddenly it rained and put out the fire. Beholding the miracle accomplished through the prayers of the holy martyrs, many people believed in Christ and confessed their faith. The saints glorified God and called on the believing to accept Baptism by the rain sent down upon them.
One of the executioners, Aphthonios, publicly asked forgiveness of the holy martyrs for causing them suffering, and he bravely went to execution for Christ. The dignitary Elpidiphoros and even the mother of the emperor confessed faith in the One True God. The emperor saw how much the number of Christians was increased and how the torturing of Saints Akindinos, Pegasias and Anempodist actually encouraged the Christian faith. He declared to the people that the holy Martyrs Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodist and Elpidiphoros with them would have their heads cut off, and that their bodies could not be taken by Christians for burial. When they led the holy martyrs beyond the city walls for execution, a tremendous crowd accompanied them, glorifying Christ. By order of the emperor, soldiers massacred all the Christians (about 7,000) in the procession. Together with the others also was killed Elpidiphoros.
Akindinos, Pegasias, and Anempodist together with the mother of the emperor were burnt on the following day. Christians, coming secretly by night to the place of the execution of the saints, found the bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by the fire and with reverence they buried them.
The Monk Marcian lived during the IV Century. Having gone off into the wilderness, he lived for many years in solitude, in unceasing prayer and strict fasting. And having built himself a small cell, he settled in it and never lit up candles when by night he did his prayerful rule according to the Psalter, since the Lord lighted the cell with Divine Light. After several years the monk accepted two disciples, settling them beside him, but as before he lived as an hermit. The Antioch Patriarch Flavian (Comm. 18 February) and other bishops entreated the monk to abandon his strict solitude for the benefit of Christians, but the monk would not agree. However, while not quitting his cell, he taught those coming to him for instruction and he turned many away from heresy and led them to the Orthodox faith. Before his end, the Monk Marcian instructed his disciple Eusebios to bury him secretly far off from his cell, so as to shun posthumous glory and avoid contention among those wanting his remains for nearby churches. The Monk Marcian died in the year 388.
The Shuisk-Smolensk Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God was written in the years 1654-1655 in the Resurrection parish of the city of Shui, where at the time raged an unrelenting pestilence. Hoping on the mercy of God and the intercession of the Mother of God, the parishioners of the Resurrection [Voskresensk] church commissioned a certain pious monk to write the image of the Smolensk Mother of God, -- from of old being a rescuer of the Russian people from enemies and misfortune. The whole week while the image was being written was spent by the parishioners in prayer and fasting. When the icon was finished, the priest and the people took it to the church and set it in a specially built place. From that time the pestilence began to ease, at first in the locale of the Voskresensk parish, and then also in all the city.
From the Icon of the mother of God set up in the church were done many miracles of healing, especially of eye diseases. Celebration of the icon is done also on 28 July.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.