7TH TUESDAY AFTER PASCHA
The Holy Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra, Our Righteous Father Panagis (Paisios) Basias, Tarasios & John the Martyrs, Sebastian the Wonderworker, Zenais the Martyr
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 21:26-32
IN THOSE DAYS, Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had seen him in the temple, stirred up all the crowd, and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching men everywhere against the people and the law and this place; moreover he also brought Greeks into the temple, and he has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimos the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then all the city was aroused, and the people ran together; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. And as they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. He at once took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them; and when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
The Lord said to his disciples, "The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them.
I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
The Holy Martyr Theodotus lived in Ancyra of Galatia in the third century. He was distinguished by his kindliness and concern. At the height of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305) he provided Christians with everything they needed, and gave them shelter in his home. There they secretly celebrated church services.
Saint Theodotus visited the Christian captives in prison, paid their bail, and reverently buried the bodies of martyrs who had been thrown to the wild beasts. Once he buried the bodies of seven holy women martyrs, who were drowned in the sea (May 18). This was reported to the governor.
After refusing to offer sacrifice to idols, and denouncing the folly of paganism, Saint Theodotus confessed Christ as God, for which they subjected him to terrible tortures and beheaded him with a sword. They wanted to burn the holy martyr’s body, but could not do so because of a storm which had arisen, so they gave his holy relics to a certain Christian for burial.
Saint Theodotus is also commemorated on May 18.
Saint Marcellinus was Pope of Rome during the height of the persecution against Christians under Diocletian and Maximian (284-305), when 17,000 men were martyred a single month. During this time Saint Marcellinus was also arrested. Afraid of the fierce tortures, he burned incense and offered sacrifice to idols. The emperor called him his friend and clothed him in splendid robes. Although he had encouraged others to undergo torture for Christ, he gave in to cowardice. He wept bitterly, filled with remorse.
During this time, a Synod of 180 bishops and presbyters met at the city of Sinuessa (in Campania). Saint Marcellinus appeared at the assembly in penitential sackcloth, his head sprinkled with ashes. He confessed his sin before the delegates and asked them to judge him. The Fathers of the Council said, “Judge yourself! From your lips this sin came forth, from your lips let judgment be pronounced. We know that even Saint Peter denied Christ out of fear, but he wept bitterly for his sin, and received forgiveness from the Lord.”
Then Marcellinus pronounced sentence upon himself, “I strip myself of the priestly dignity, of which I am unworthy. After death, do not bury my body, but instead throw it to the dogs. Cursed be the one who dares to bury it.”
Upon his return to Rome Marcellinus went to the emperor, threw down the fine clothing given him, and said that he regretted his renunciation of Christ. The enraged emperor had him tortured, and sentenced him to death.
Saint Marcellinus prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who mercifully receives sinners who repent, then willingly placed his head beneath the sword. The holy martyrs Claudius, Cyrinus and Antoninus were beheaded with him.
The body of Saint Marcellinus lay for thirty-six days along the wayside. Appearing in a vision to the new bishop Marcellus, the holy Apostle Peter said, “Why have you not buried the body of Marcellinus?”
“I fear his curse,” replied Saint Marcellus.
“Perhaps you do not remember,” said the Apostle Peter, “that it is written: ‘He that humbles himself shall be exalted.’ Therefore, go bury his body with reverence.”
Fulfilling the command of the Apostle Peter, Saint Marcellus buried the body of Saint Marcellinus in a crypt, built for the burial of the bodies of martyrs by the illustrious Priscilla, along the Via Salaria.
Saint Sisinius the deacon suffered at Rome along with the hieromartyr Marcellinus, Bishop of Rome, the holy deacon Cyriacus; also Smaragdus, Largus, Apronian, Saturninus, Crescentian, Papias and Maurus and the holy women martyrs Priscilla, Lucy and the Emperor’s daughter Artemia during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) and their successors, Galerius (305-311) and Maxentius (305-312).
The emperor Maximian, ruler of the Western Roman Empire, deprived all Christians of military rank and sent them into penal servitude.
A certain rich Christian, Thrason, sent food and clothing to the prisoners through the Christians Sisinius, Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largus. Marcellus thanked Thrason for his generosity, and ordained Sisinius and Cyriacus as deacons.
While rendering aid to the captives, Sisinius and Cyriacus also were arrested and condemned to harsh labor. They fulfilled not only their own work quota, but worked also for the dying captive Saturninus. Therefore, Maximian sent Sisinius to Laodicius, the governor of the district.
They locked the saint in prison. The head of the prison, Apronian, summoned Sisinius for interrogation but, seeing his face shine with a heavenly light, he believed in Christ and was baptized. Later, he went with Sisinius to Marcellus and received Chrismation. Marcellus served the Liturgy, and they partook of the Holy Mysteries.
On June 7, Saints Sisinius and Saturninus were brought before Laodicius in the company of Apronian. Apronian confessed that he was a Christian, and was beheaded. Saints Sisinius and Saturninus were thrown into prison. Then Laodicius gave orders to bring them to a pagan temple to offer sacrifice. Saturninus said, “If only the Lord would turn the pagan idols into dust!”
At that very moment the tripods, on which incense burned before the idols, melted. Seeing this miracle, the soldiers Papias and Maurus confessed Christ. After prolonged tortures Sisinius and Saturninus were beheaded, and Papias and Maurus were locked up in prison, where they prayed to receive illumination by holy Baptism. The Lord fulfilled their desire. Leaving the prison without being noticed, they received Baptism from Marcellus and returned to the prison.
At the trial they again confessed themselves Christians and died under terrible tortures. Their holy bodies were buried by the priest John and Thrason.
Saints Cyriacus, Smaragdus, Largus and other Christian prisoners continued to languish at hard labor.
Diocletian’s daughter Artemia suffered from demonic oppression. Having learned that the prisoner Cyriacus could heal infirmities and cast out devils, the emperor summoned him to the sick girl. In gratitude for the healing of his daughter, the emperor freed Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largus. Soon the emperor sent Cyriacus to Persia to heal the daughter of the Persian emperor.
Upon his return to Rome, Cyriacus was arrested on orders of the emperor Galerius, the son-in-law of Diocletian, who had abdicated and retired as emperor. Galerius was very annoyed at his predecessor because his daughter Artemia had converted to Christianity. He gave orders to drag Cyriacus behind his chariot stripped, bloodied, and in chains, to be shamed and ridiculed by the crowds.
Marcellus denounced the emperor openly before everyone for his cruelty toward innocent Christians. The emperor ordered the holy bishop to be beaten with rods, and dealt severely with him. Saints Cyriacus, Smaragdus, Largus, and another prisoner, Crescentian, died under torture. And at this time the emperor’s daughter Artemia and another twenty-one prisoners were also executed with Cyriacus.
Marcellus was secretly freed by Roman clergy. Exhuming the bodies of the holy martyrs Cyriacus, Smaragdus and Largus, they reburied them on the estates of two Christian women, Priscilla and Lucy, on the outskirts of Rome, after they had transformed Lucy’s house into a church.
Ascending the throne, Maxentius gave orders to destroy the church and turn it into a stockyard, and he sentenced the holy bishop to herd the cattle. Exhausted by hunger and cold, and wearied by the tortures of the soldiers, Marcellus became ill and died in the year 310.
The holy women martyrs Kyriake, Kaleria (Valeria), and Mary lived in Palestinian Caesarea during the persecution under Diocletian (284-305). Having received instruction in the Christian Faith, they abandoned paganism, settled in a solitary place and spent their lives in prayer, beseeching the Lord that the persecution against Christians would come to an end, and that the Faith of Christ would shine throughout all the world.
The governor tried to force them to worship idols, but they bravely confessed their faith in Christ. For this reason, they were tortured and received the crown of martyrdom.
There is very little information about Saint Zēnaίda, except that she was born in 284, in Caesarea of Palestine, and that she was found worthy of the charism of working miracles. She ended the course of her life with a martyric death.
The Byzantine Synaxarion mentions that Saint Zēnaίda's veneration was widespread in Constantinople, where her Synaxis took place on June 6, at a church dedicated to her in the Basilisk district.
There are a number of hagiographic sources which mention the name of Saint Zēnaίda. Among them, a Neapolitan calendar of the IX century (June 7); a printed Greek Menaion (Venice, 1591; and the Synaxaristes of Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain.
In the Roman Martyrology of Cardinal Caesar Baronius, Zēnaίda is mistakenly listed under June 5 with the martyrs Valeria, Kyriakḗ, and Maria.
Abba Daniel lived in the sixth century, becoming a monk at Sketis when he was a young boy. He was taken prisoner when Sketis was attacked by barbarians, who held him captive for two years. Saint Daniel was was bought by a devout Christian, but then he was recaptured. After six months, while attempting to escape, he struck one of his captors with a stone and killed him, and then he made his escape and returned to Sketis. The sin of murder was a heavy burden on his conscience. Uncertain about what he ought to do, he went to Patriarch Timothy of Alexandria, and asked for his advice.
The Patriarch heard his Confession, but did not give him a penance. Still his conscience continued to trouble him, and he went to Rome to see the Pope. The Pope gave him the same reply as the Patriarch had done. Disappointed, Abba Daniel visited the other Patriarchs in turn, going to Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem, confessing to each of them and asking for advice. He found no peace, however. So he returned home to Alexandria and surrendered himself to the civil authorities as a murderer, and was thrown into prison. At his trial before the governor, Daniel told him all that had happened, and begged to be executed, so that his soul might be saved from the eternal fire. The governor was astonished by his story, and said to him, "Go your way, Father, and pray to God for me, and I wish you had killed seven more!"
Still dissatisfied with this, Daniel resolved to take a leper into his cell and care for him until he died, and then he would find another. He did as he had resolved, and in this way brought peace to his conscience.
Once, as Abba Daniel and Abba Ammon were walking together, Abba Ammon said, "When will we sit in our own cell, Father?" Abba Daniel replied, "Who can separate us from God? God is in the cell, and God is also outside of it."
He became so renowned for his virtues that he was named Igoumen of Sketis and he was revered throughout Egypt as "a new Abraham, and the host of Christ." He visited Saint Anastasia the Patrician (March 10) on the day of her death. She had disguised herself as a eunuch and lived in a men's monastery eighteen miles from Sketis. Saint Daniel discovered that she was a woman when he prepared her body for burial.
Abba Daniel encountered saints who wished to remain hidden, such as the Mark the Fool of Alexandria, or the nun at the Ermopoleos Monastery of Abba Jeremiah. She feigned drunkenness, earning the contempt of the other nuns. Saint Daniel and his disciple sought shelter in the monastery, and at night they saw that nun lifting her arms to Heaven, weeping copiously, and making prostrations. The following night they had the Igoumeness watch with them so she could see how that despised nun spent her nights. When her holy life became known, she left the monastery so that she would not be praised by the other nuns.
Saint Daniel is also mentioned in the Life of Saint Thomais, who was killed by her father-in-law because she wished to preserve her chastity (April 13 in Slavic usage, April 14 in Greek usage), in the Life of Saint Eulogios the Hospitable (April 27), in the Life of Saints Andronikos and Athanasia (October 9), as well as in the Life of Abba Doula.