Prologue Search

1. The Holy Apostles Aristarchus, Pudens and Trophimus.

These were all numbered among the Seventy. Aristarchus was Bishop of Apamea in Syria. The Apostle Paul mentions him several times (Acts 19:29; Col. 4:10; Philem. v.24). He was seized in Ephesus, together with Gaius, by a mob that had risen up against Paul. The Apostle wrote to the Colossians: 'Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you', and, in the Epistle to Philemon, Paul calls Aristarchus 'my fellow-labourer', together with Mark, Demas and Lucas.

Pudens was an eminent Roman citizen. The Apostle Paul mentions him once (II Tim. 4:21). Pudens' house was first the refuge of the chief apostles and was then turned into a church dedicated to the Good Shepherd.

Trophimus was an Asian (Acts 20:4), and accompanied St Paul on his journeys. In one place, Paul writes: 'Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick (II Tim. 4:21).

During Nero's persecution, when the Apostle Paul was beheaded, these glorious martyrs were also beheaded.

2. The Holy Martyr Sabbas the Goth.

There was a brutal persecution of Christians on the part of the Goths. A Gothic prince came to the village where this devout Sabbas lived, and asked the villagers if there were any Christians there. They answered him on their honour that there were none. Then Sabbas stood before the Prince and the people, and said: 'Let no-one swear an oath on my behalf. I am a Christian.' The prince, seeing this poor wretch, let him go in peace, saying: 'This one can do neither harm nor good.' The next year, just at Easter, a priest, Sansal, came to the village and celebrated Easter with Sabbas. the pagans, coming to hear of this, descended suddenly on Sabbas's house and began to belabour the men of God without mercy, then, having dragged Sabbas naked through thorns, bound them both to trees and tried to force them to eat meat offered to idols. But the men of God, remembering the Apostle's words, would not touch the unclean, diabolical sacrifices. The prince finally sentenced Sabbas to death and handed him over to the soldiers. Sabbas went to the place of execution full of joy, praising God. Recognising in him a good man, the soldiers sought to set him free on the way, but Sabbas was greatly distressed by this and told the soldiers that they were in duty bound to carry out the prince's command. Then the soldiers brought him to a river, tied a rock round his neck and threw him into the water. His body was cast up onto the bank. Later the Greek commander Ionnios Soranos, in the time of the Emperor Valens, found Sabbas's body during a war with the Goths and took it to Cappadocia. St Sabbas suffered in 372, at the age of 31.

3. The Holy Martyrs Vasilissa and Anastasia.

Two devout Roman women, they gathered the bodies of the apostles' disciples for burial during Nero's persecutions. They were arrested for this and imprisoned and, after prolonged torture in which their breasts were cut off and their tongues cut out, they were beheaded.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK