Lives of Saints - Martyrs Eugenie and others 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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Martyrs Eugenie and others
   

The beginning of the 4th century during the rule of emperor Diocletian (284-305) was markedly horrible in its brutal persecution of Christians.

Emperor Diocletian wanted to revive the fading pagan religion, so in the year of 302 he issued a decree ordering to destroy Christian temples, to deprive Christians of all civil rights and remove them from all job positions. Soon after this he issued a second decree ordering all measures for persuading Christians to disavow Christianity and to execute the disobedient.

So great was the pagans’ hatred to Christians, that those decrees were soon put into action. The enemies of Christianity reported everyone they could and soon prisons were filled with Christian bishops, presbyters and commoners. In Armenia, Auxentius, Presbyter of Aravrak church, was arrested and together with other Christians was brought to the city of Satalione to be judged by the regional ruler Lisius, an atrocious persecutor of Christians.

In Satalione the troops were headed by Eustratius, who was a righteous Christian and a devoted advocate of the Christian way of life. Having learned that Presbyter Auxentius is in the city prison, Eustratius came to him and asked him to pray for the Lord to strengthen Eustratius and prepare him for a martyr’s death. And, when Presbyter Auxentius along with other Christians was brought to court, Eustratius declared himself to be a Christian. Infuriated, Lisius ordered to strip Eustratius of all military titles and to put him to torture. A friend of Eustratius — Eugenie, who was also a military officer, wished to share the destiny of his friend Eustratius and in everybody’s presence declared himself a Christian. He was immediately put to chains and together with others was thrown to jail.

Next morning they all were made to go to the city of Nikopol. The soldiers were beating the enchained martyrs on the road, and Eustratius was made to put on high boots with nails going through the soles and piercing his feet. On their way to Nikopol the martyrs had to pass through the city of Aravrakin. Citizens came out to see and meet Auxentius who was loved and respected by everybody, but they did not dare to approach him as they feared to call down upon themselves the authorities’ fury and persecution.

However, a man called Mardarius ignored the danger. Having left his family to the care of devout neighbors and rather to God’s mercy, he followed his friends ready to accept the martyr’s wreath. To all the threats of Lisius, Mardarius meekly replied, "I am a Christian." After many tortures Presbyter Auxentius, Eugenie and Mardarius were executed. Before the execution holy Mardarius prayed to the Lord, "O God the Master, Father Almighty, the Lord begotten Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God-head, one Power, bowing to Thy divine judgment I pray save me, Thy unworthy servant, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen" (This prayer of Saint Mardarius is read at church by the end of the 3rd hour).

Other Christians ready to sacrifice their lives and shed blood to incarnate their loyalty to Christ and love for Him took the place of the martyrs who had just been executed. Lisius, the governor saw that one of his soldiers Orest was wearing a cross and asked him, "Are you a Christian?" Orest did not deny, "I am a servant of Supreme God," he answered. Immediately he was arrested and made to join other martyrs.

When they came to Nikopol, many soldiers declared themselves Christians too. Lisius was abashed, he was afraid that an execution of so many Christians would cause mutiny against the powers that be and sympathy to the martyrs. He decided to send Eustratius and Orest to the city of Sebastia, which was ruled by a certain Agricolai, notorious for his cruelty.

Holy Eustratius was brought before his new torturer, but he spoke so wisely and convincingly to him about God, about His love, about His divine goodness which impelled the Son of God to become incarnate as a human and to suffer for people, and about insane futility of idol worshiping, that the atrocious judge was inclined to mercy. Wishing to save Eustratius, he tried to convince him to pretend disavowing from Christ and to bring a sacrifice to pagan gods. He promised him life in gratuity and accolade. But Eustratius remained faithful. Then he was made to watch a young soldier Orest tormented to death on a hot iron bed. Now Eustratius remained alone.

The Holy martyr spent his last night in jail praying ceaselessly and God was giving him strength to endure the coming agony. Next morning Eustratius listened to his death sentence with a joyful heart. A prayer was on his lips when he entered a fiery furnace and gave his soul to the Lord.

Later in commemoration of the five holy martyrs (Eugenie, Auxentius, Eustratius, Mardarius and Оrest), a monastery was built within the territory of the Olympus temple near Tzargrad. May the Lord save our souls through the prayers of holy Eugenie and the martyrs who suffered with him.

Troparion:
O Lord, your martyrs through their sufferings crowned by Thee, our God, and strengthened with your power, overthrew their torturers and trampled on the demons’ futile impertinence. Through their prayers, O Lord save, our souls.

Source: http://www.fatheralexander.org

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