Monday, March 9, 2015

Martyrs both Old and New

 Today is the feast of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste. You can read their story here, but here is an excerpt:

(source)

It was winter, and there was a severe frost. They lined up the holy soldiers, threw them into a lake near the city, and set a guard to prevent them from coming out of the water. In order to break the will of the martyrs, a warm bath-house was set up on the shore. During the first hour of the night, when the cold had become unbearable, one of the soldiers made a dash for the bath-house, but no sooner had he stepped over the threshold, than he fell down dead.

During the third hour of the night, the Lord sent consolation to the martyrs. Suddenly there was light, the ice melted away, and the water in the lake became warm. All the guards were asleep, except for Aglaius, who was keeping watch. Looking at the lake he saw that a radiant crown had appeared over the head of each martyr. Aglaius counted thirty-nine crowns and realized that the soldier who fled had lost his crown.

Aglaius then woke up the other guards, took off his uniform and said to them, “I too am a Christian,” and he joined the martyrs. Standing in the water he prayed, “Lord God, I believe in You, in Whom these soldiers believe. Add me to their number, and make me worthy to suffer with Your servants.” Then a fortieth crown appeared over his head.

Now, this was in the year 313. You might think that this sort of thing was common then, but not anymore. Well, think again:

(source)
  
 ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya (Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian Hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians (Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim?

 Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian Citizen (Darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When Terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God“ so the terrorist beheaded him also.

Through the prayers of all the martyrs, both old and new, may God give us the strength to persevere in our faith!

4 comments:

  1. by the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ save us!

    these 21 new martyrs are deeply inspiring.

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  2. brings tears to my eyes. Lord have mercy

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  3. O holy martyrs, pray for us!

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