April 22 2020 - April 09 2020
Martyrs: Eupsychios (+ 362); Dysan the Bishop, Maryab the Presbyter, Habdies and 270 Others (+ c. 362-364). MonkMartyr Vadim the Archimandrite and his Seven Disciples (+ 376).
Imperial Icon of the Mother of God (792).
The Holy Martyr Eupsychios was born in the city of Caesarea Cappadocia and received a Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.
During the time of the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), Saint Eupsychios entered into Christian wedlock.
At Caesarea there was then a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna [i.e. “fortune” or “luck”], very revered by Julian the Apostate. At the same time as Eupsychios was going in to the wedding ceremony, the pagans were making offering of sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna.
Saint Eupsychios was ardent with zeal for the Lord, and he gathered the people and destroyed the temple. He knew, that this would inevitably result in punishment for him. Saint Eupsychios distributed all his substance to the poor and prepared himself for the act of martyrdom.
The enraged emperor Julian hurled his wrath not only upon Saint Eupsychios, but against all the inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens he executed, the more respectable he sent into exile, Christian clergy were conscripted into military service, and from the churches he looted anything of value. The city was deprived of its title Caesarea (i.e. “Imperial”) and turned into a simple village with its original name of Maza, and on the inhabitants he imposed a grievous tribute-tax. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one destroyed.
Julian ordered Saint Eupsychios to be compelled by tortures to offer sacrifice to idols. Over the course of many days they tormented the saint upon a rack, and likewise with iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge gave sentence to behead the martyr with the sword (+ 362). At this time Julian, having set out on a campaign against the Persians, marched through Cappadocia and approached Carsarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to its foundations. But then the archbishop of the city, Sainted Basil the Great (+ 379, Comm. 1 January), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority, came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he himself ate from. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to give Saint Basil a pinch of hay with the words: “Thou hast given us barley, cattle feed, so in return receive hay from us”. The saint answered: “O emperor, we bring thee that which we ourselves do eat, and thou dost give us cattle feed; thou dost make mockery over us, since thou art not able by thy might to transform hay into bread – the essential food of mankind”. Julian angrily replied: “Know thou, that this hay I shalt shove down thy throat, when I am returned hence from Persia. And I shalt raze this city to its very foundations and on its place plow over the ground and turn it into a field. I do very well know, that it was through thine advice, that the people dared to destroy the statuary and temple of Fortuna”.
After this the emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 by the holy GreatMartyr Mercurius (Comm. 24 November, q.v.).
And after the emperor’s demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea erected a splendid church over the grave of Saint Eupsychios, and from his relics they received help and healing.
The Holy Martyrs Bishop Dysan, Presbyter Maryab, Habdies and 270 Others accepted a martyr’s death (+ c. 362-364) under the Persian emperor Sapor II. Imprisoned, they refused to recant the Christian faith. In their number also was the Martyress Iya, who is commemorated also on 11 September.
The Holy MonkMartyr Vadim the Archimandrite was born in the IV Century in the Persian city of Bythlapata, and was descended from a rich and illustrious family. In his youthful years he was enlightened with the Christian teaching. The saint gave away part of his substance and withdrew into the wilderness, where on his means he founded a monastery. For solitary prayer he would go up on a mountain, and once was vouchsafed to behold the Glory of God. During this period the Persian emperor Sapor (310-381) began to persecute Christians. They arrested Saint Vadim together with his seven disciples and daily they tortured them in the prison, seeking to have them renounce Christ and instead worship the sun and fire. But the Monk Vadim and his disciples held firmly to their Christian faith. The confessors spent four months locked up. All this time Saint Vadim was a spiritual leader and support for the Christians living in Persia.
One of the associates of the emperor Sapor, Nirsanes, having confessed Christianity and suffering imprisonment for this, did not hold up under torture and recanted from Christ. He promised to fulfill whatever might be the orders of the emperor. Sapor demanded of Nirsanes, that he personally should chop off the head of Saint Vadim. For this he was promised a reprieve and rewards. Nirsanes was not able to overcome in himself the fear of new tortures and he agreed to enter upon the path of betrayal walked by Judas. When they brought Saint Vadim to him, he took the sword and turned towards him, but overcome by conscience, he trembled and stood petrified. Saint Vadim said to him: “Is thine misdeed, Nirsanes, now come to this, that thou shouldst not only renounce God, but also begin to murder His servants? Woe to thee, accursed one, what wilt thou do on that day, when thou standest before the Dread Judgement-Seat to give answer to God? It is with joy that I die a martyr for Christ, but I want not to accept death at thy hand”. Beside himself, Nirsanes struck with the sword. But his hands shook, and he could not again strike at the head of the saint, and the fire-worshippers began to call him a coward. The MonkMartyr Vadim stood motionless, enduring the terrible blows, until the murderer succeeded in cutting off his head (+ 376). The just rewards for apostasy were not slow to overtake the hapless fellow: torn by conscience, he did away with himself, having thrown himself on a sword. After the death of the emperor Sapor, the seven disciples of the MonkMartyr Vadim were released from prison.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos