Lives of Saints - The Venerable Martinian, Sts. Zoia and Svetlana Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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The Venerable Martinian, Sts. Zoia and Svetlana

Near the end of the fourth century, a holy monk, St. Martinian, lived in Greece. At the age of 18, he retreated to a mountain in Cappadocia (now western Turkey), where he spent 25 years in fasting, vigils and prayer. In his youthful body there swelled the passions of the flesh, and his soul was perplexed by demonic temptation, but St. Martinian vanquished them by strict fasting, prayer and toil. A very beautiful, dissolute woman named Zoia came with the purpose of visiting him and tempting him to leave the monastic life and marry her. The saint was sorely tempted; to fight this temptation, he walked barefoot into a fire and stood until this temptation was destroyed in him.

Zoia was so impressed by the love and devotion of this hermit for God that she repented bitterly, and asked St. Martinian to pray for her. She went to the monastery of St. Paula in Bethlehem. She lived there in heroic asceticism as a hermit and anchorite. Repenting of all her sins, she received the gift of wonderworking from the Lord. Until the end of her life, St. Zoia abstained from wine, sustained herself on bread and water every other day, and slept on the ground.

St. Martinian withdrew to an uninhabited rocky island and lived there for several years under an open sky, receiving food from a boatman for whom the Venerable one braided baskets.

At the place of St. Martinian’s venture, a young maiden, Svetlana (Photynia), was thrown by the waves onto the island after a shipwreck Accepting the maiden on his island, St. Martinian, anticipating temptation, threw himself into the sea. With God’s help he arrived at the southern part of Greece. After this, St. Martinian roamed for two years, and died peacefully in Athens in the year 422. St. Svetlana remained on the island, passed some six years in solitude and good deeds, and emulated St. Martinian’s God-pleasing life. She also died peacefully.


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