Lives of Saints - The Martyrs Victor and Stephanis Christianity - Books
And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell.                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell;                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.               
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The Martyrs Victor and Stephanis
   

During the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (also Antoninus, 138-161) in Damascus, Syria, there lived a Christian, Victor by the name, who was born in Italy and served as a soldier. He refused to bow down to the pagan idols but instead boldly confessed his faith in Christ. When the emperor ordered to persecute Christians, the army chief Sebastian demanded that Victor would renounce his faith in Christ and bow down to the pagan idols. He said, "You are a soldier of our king and have to obey his orders." "No," said Victor, "now I am a soldier of the Heavenly King and shall serve Him alone and I despise your loathsome idols!" So Sebastian put Victor to various tortures. The executioners broke Victor’s fingers and toes and wrung them out of their joints. During all the tortures Victor prayed to God and intrepidly endured the sufferings.

Then the executioners started forcing Victor to swallow a piece of meat poisoned by the black magician. Saying a prayer and making the sign of cross over the meat, martyr Victor consumed it. Everyone there witnessed a real wonder: Victor remained unharmed. What God had once promised to his disciples happened in reality, "When they drink deadly poison, it will not harm them at all" (Mk 16:18). When the magician saw that his poison did not in the least hurt Victor, he believed in Christ. He understood better than others that no earthly power could neutralize his lethal poison.

Then Victor was put to still worse tortures. During his tortures a young woman, Stephanis, a wife of one of the soldiers who tortured Victor, could no longer stand the sight of horrible tortures inflicted on a completely innocent Christ’s martyr and tried to advocate for him. Inspired by his suffering and confession of Christ, she revealed that she also was a Christian. Stephanis was called before the authorities and asked her name, to which she responded, "Christian." The executioners, driven insane with the sight of blood, got mad at her and regarded Stephanis as one more victim of theirs. They tied her to bent palm trees and tore her apart. That was how young Stephanis (she was only 15 and had been married one year and four months) met her death. Having killed Stephanis the murderers went back to torturing Victor and finally beheaded him. Saint martyrs Victor and Stephanis suffered for Christ in the year of 175.
Before dying martyr Victor foretold that his executioners would die in 12 days and that the army chief would be captured in 24 days. Everything happened the way it had been predicted by him.

Troparion:
Thou, O Lord, crowned Thy Martyrs in their sufferings with immortality, O Christ our God: / through Thy strength they didst cast down their torturers and destroyed the demons’ futile impudence./ By their supplications, save our souls.

Troparion, Tone 4
Together let us honor the Athletes of Christ,/ memorable Victor and noble Vincent/ and with them we praise divine Stephanie:/ by their contests they destroyed the enemy./ By their supplications, O Christ our God, have mercy on our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 4
Today the Church honors the Great Martyrs and Athletes,/ the struggles of Victor, Vincent and Stephanie./ She cries out and glorifies the Lover of mankind.

Source: http://www.fatheralexander.org

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