Lives of Saints - The Holy Martyrs Agapia, Chionia and Irene Christianity - Books
I tell you, my friends, don't be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.                But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.                Aren't five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God.                But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.                I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God;                but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God.               
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The Holy Martyrs Agapia, Chionia and Irene

The Holy Martyrs Agapia, Chionia and Irene were sisters from the region of Aquileia. When the Emperor Diocletian was staying in Aquileia, he ordered that the famous spiritual guide, Chrysogonus, be executed. An old priest named Zoilus received a vision in which he was shown where the body of Chrysogonus lay unburied. The old man hurried off, found the body of the martyr, placed it in a coffin and carried it to his home. On the thirtieth day after that, St. Chrysogonus appeared to him and told him that the three maidens would be martyred in the next nine days, and that he, Zoilus, would himself enter into rest during that time. Anastasia the Seer also received the same tidings in a vision sent by Chrysogonus, who had been her teacher.

The elder Zoilus did indeed find his rest after nine days, and the three sisters were brought to trial before the Emperor. The Emperor urged the holy maidens to worship idols, but they all refused, confessing their firm faith in Christ. Irene told the Emperor that it was ridiculous to bow down to things made of wood and stone, made to order at an agreed price by the hands of a mortal man. The furious Emperor flung them into prison. Now, when the Emperor traveled to Macedonia, he took all his slaves and servants with him, including the three sisters. He gave them to Dulcitius, a general, for torture. Inflamed with a dark passion, he desired to defile the maidens, but, when he tried to go into the prison, he lost his mind: he fell upon the pots and cauldrons in front of the gate, embracing and kissing them, and was completely blackened with soot.

When the Emperor heard of this happening, he ordered another general to undertake the trial of the sisters. After terrible torture, the judge condemned the first two sisters to death by fire, but kept Irene for a time, hoping to defile her. However, when he had sent Irene to the brothel along with some soldiers, an angel of God turned the soldiers back and led her out onto a high hill. The next day the general went out to the hill with his soldiers and, being unable to climb it, ordered that Irene be shot at with arrows. St. Anastasia gathered all three bodies together in one place and gave them burial. They suffered for Christ their King and Lord around the year 304 A.D.

Troparion of the Martyrs Tone l:
Sisters in the flesh and united in the Spirit,/ you wrestled with the prince of evil and endured your martyrdom./ Holy and blessed Agape, Irene and Chionia,/ pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion of the Martyrs Tone 3:
Bright mirrors of virginity,/ radiant with your martyrdom,/ you fill the Church with light and dispel the darkness of evil,/ Agape, Irene and Chionia,/ Christ’s precious jewels.


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