Lives of Saints - The Martyrs Victor and Stephanis Christianity - Books
I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.                You shall have no other gods before me.                You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:                you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,                and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.                You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.                Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.                You shall labor six days, and do all your work,                but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;                for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.                Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.                You shall not murder.                You shall not commit adultery.                You shall not steal.                You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.                You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.
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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.

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.


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