March 23 2020 - March 10 2020
Martyr Codratus and those with him: Cyprian, Dionysios, Anectus, Paul, Crescentus, Dionysios (another), Victorinus, Victor, Nicephoros, Claudius, Diodoros, Serapion, Papias, Leonides, and the Holy Martyresses – Charinessa, Nunecia, Basilissa, Nica, Gala, Galina, Theodora and many others (+ 258).
Martyrs Kodratos of Nicomedia, Satorinos, Ruphynos and others (III); Marcian, Michael (Maurudisos) of Soluneia (+ 1544). Monastics Mark; George Arselios (IV); Anastasia the Patrician (+ 567 or 568); John Khakhul (X-XI) (Gruzia).
The Holy Martyr Codratus and those with him: During a time of persecution against christians (in III Cent.) a certain pious woman by the name of Ruthyna fled from Corinth to a mountain, for safety from her pursuers. There she gave to a son Codratus, and soon after birth she died. By the Providence of God the infant remained alive and was nourished in miraculous manner: a cloud drew down over him, feeding him with sweet dew. The childhood and youthful years of Saint Codratus were spent in the wilderness. Having grown up, he chanced upon christians, who enlightened him with the light of the true faith. Codratus studied at grammar, and later learned the physician’s art and attained great success at it. But most of all Codratus loved the wilderness solitude and he spent a great part of his time in the hills, given over to prayer and meditation upon God. Many years passed. In the wilderness frequently there came to the saint his friends and followers to hear his instruction. Among them were Cyprian, Dionysios, Anectus, Paul, Crescentus and many others.
By order of the persecutor of christians – the impious emperor Decius (249-251), the military commander Jason arrived at Corinth. Saint Codratus was arrested together with his comrades and thrown into prison. At the interrogations, Jason turned most frequently of all to Codratus as the eldest by age. The saint bravely defended his faith in Christ the Saviour. Then they began the torture. Saint Codratus, despite inhuman suffering, found in himself the strength to encourage others, urging them not to be terrified and to stand firmly for the faith. Not having gained renunciation from any of them, Jason gave orders to throw the martyrs for rending apart by wild beasts. But the beasts did not touch them. They tied the saints by their feet to chariots and dragged them through the city, and many of the crowd threw stones at them. Finally they condemned the martyrs to beheading by the sword. At the place of execution the martyrs requested for themselves a certain while for prayer, and then one after the other began to walk towards the executioner, bending their necks beneathe the upheld sword.
The remaining disciples of Saint Codratus likewise suffered for Christ: Dionysios (the other one) was stabbed in the night; Victorinus, Victor and Nicephoros were crushed alive in a large stone press; for Claudius they chopped off the hands and the feet; Diodoros was thrown into a bonfire prepared for him; Serapion was decapitated; Papias and Leonides they drowned in the sea. Imitating the menfolk, many holy women also went voluntarily to sufferings for Christ.
The Holy Martyrs Kodratos of Nicomedia, Satorinos, Ruphynos and others suffered during the time of persecution by the emperor Decius (249-251) and his successor Valerian (253-259).
Saint Kodratos was descended from an illustrious family. Possessing considerable wealth, the saint did not spare means for the help of brother christians, languishing in prison for the faith.
When the envoy of the impious Decius – the pro-consul Perennius – arrived in Nicomedia, Saint Kodratos came then voluntarily before him, so as to strengthen the courage of the imprisoned brethren by his self-sacrificing decision. At first Perennius attempted to lure Kodratos from Christ, promising him reward and honours. Then, seeing the futility of his attempts, he cast the saint into prison and gave orders to put his back on small nails and to lay on him a large stone.
Setting out for Nicea, the pro-consul commanded to bring after him all the imprisoned christians, in which number also was Saint Kodratos. Upon arrival in the city, Saint Kodratos implored that they would lead them to the pagan temple. Just as they untied his hands and feet, he turned to the idols and began to overturn and destroy them. By order of the pro-consul, they gave Kodratos over to torture. Enduring terrible torments, the saint held firm in spirit and by his act encouraged the other martyrs, whose wounds they seared with burning candles.
At the time of the suffering of the martyrs there shone suddenly a brilliant cloud, but the pagans found themselves in total darkness. In the ensuing silence was heard the quiet singing of Angels glorifying God. Many of those present there confessed themselves christians. Perennius, having ascribed the miracle to an act of sorcery, gave orders to take out to prison the newly chosen of God.
From Nicea the martyrs set out behind the pro-consul to Apameia, then to Caesarea, Apollonia and the Hellespont, where they tortured them in all sorts of ways, striving for renunciations.
They tied Saint Kodratos into a sack, filled with poisonous serpents, and threw it for the night into a deep pit. On the following morning everyone in astonishment saw the martyr whole and unharmed. When they began to beat him mercilessly, two noblemen – Satorinos and Ruphynos – were moved with pity for the martyr. This was observed, and Satorinos and Ruphynos were beheaded.
Perennius subjected the martyr to yet more fierce and refined tortures, but was not able to break his spirit. The saint lost his strength and was hardly able to move. For the last time the pro-consul urged the martyr to abjure Christ. Marshalling his strength, the saint firmly replied: “Since childhood I do acknowledge the one only God – Christ, and any other I know not”. The pro-consul gave orders to light up the bonfire, make red-hot the iron grate and throw on it the martyr. Having blessed himself with the sign of the cross, Saint Kodratos let himself down upon the red-hot couch, and having lain upon it as upon a soft bed, he came out unharmed from the flames. In frustrated spite the pro-consul gave orders to behead the Saint Kodratos.
The Holy Martyr Michael (Maurudisos) of Soluneia was by occupation a bread merchant. For his refusal to accept Islam he was burned by the Turks in the year 1544.
The Nun Anastasia lived in Constantinople and was descended from an aristocratic family. The pious patrician was for many the image of virtue and she enjoyed the great esteem of the emperor Justinian (527-565). Having early been widowed, Anastasia decided to leave the world and save her soul far off from the bustle of the capital. She secretly abandoned Constantinople and set off to Alexandria. She founded a small monastery not far from the city and devoted herself wholly to God.
Several years later the emperor Justinian was widowed and decided to seek out Anastasia so as to marry her. Having learned of this, blessed Anastasia immediately set out to a remote skete monastery to abba Daniel (Comm. 18 March) for help. In order to safeguard Anastasia, the elder dressed her in a man’s monastic garb and called her the eunuch Anastasias. Having settled her in one of the very remote caves, the elder gave her a rule of prayer and ordered her never to leave the cave and receive no one. Only one monk knew this place: he had the obedience once a week to bring to the cave a small portion of bread and a pitcher of water, leaving it at the entrance. The nun Anastasia dwelt in suchlike seclusion for twenty-eight years. Everyone reckoned that in the cave it was the eunuch Anastasias that pursued asceticism.
The Lord revealed to her the day of her death. Having learned of immanence of death, she wrote on a potsherd several words for abba Daniel and placed it at the entrance to the cave. The starets (elder) came quickly and brought everything necessary for her burial. He found the holy ascetic still alive, and he confessed and communed her with the Holy Mysteries. At the request of the abba, blessed Anastasia blessed him and the monk accompanying him. With the words: “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit”, – the saint quietly died (+ c. 567-568).
When the grave was prepared, the starets gave his disciple a riasa and ordered him to dress the deceased brother. Putting on the riasa, the monk realised that before him was a woman, but he did not dare to say anything. When however they returned to the monastery, having buried the nun, the disciple asked the abba whether he knew the supposed brother – was a woman, and the elder related to the young monk the history of Saint Anastasia. Later on the narratives of the abba were written down and received wide acclaim.
The relics of the nun Anastasia were transferred in the year 1200 to Constantinople, and put not far from the temple of Saint Sophia.
The Monk George, brother of the Monk John of the Ladder (Comm. 30 March), pursued asceticism in the wilderness of Arselo.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos