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1. The Holy Martyr Eusignius.

He was a soldier under the Emperor Maximian, the Emperor Constantine the Great and Constantine's sons, and was present at the martyrdom of the holy martyr Basiliscus (see May 22nd). He saw many angels, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as He received the soul of this holy martyr from the angel's hands. He was a general under Constantine, and saw the Cross that appeared to the Emperor. Spending a full sixty years in military service, he withdrew from it in the time of Constantine's sons and went to Antioch, his home town. There he lived a godly life of fasting, prayer and good works. In the time of Julian the Apostate, two men at variance in the street called him to judge between them. He adjudged right to the righteous, at which the one at fault became enraged, went to the Emperor and denounced Eusignius as a Christian. The Emperor summoned him to trial, at which he fiercely denounced the Emperor for his apostasy from the Faith and rebuked him by citing the shining example of the great Constantine. The proud Julian ordered that he be beheaded. Eusignius suffered in great old age, in the year 362, and went to the Kingdom of heaven.

2. The Hieromartyr Fabian, Pope of Rome.

A Roman by birth, Fabian was first a village priest, but then, when a white dove was seen to descend on him during a papal election, he was chosen. He was meek and kindly. He gathered the bodies of the holy martyrs for burial with great diligence, and built churches over their graves. He also built chapels and shrines in the caves where the martyrs had hidden during fierce persecutions. He baptised the Emperor Philip and his son and heir, also called Philip, and with the help of the senator, Pontius, who was also baptised, destroyed many idols and temples. But, when the wicked Decius became Emperor, a terrible persecution of Christians arose in which Fabian suffered, being beheaded in the year 250. This Fabian established the custom of the blessing of oil on Holy Thursday.

3. The Holy Martyr Pontius the Senator.

Pontius was the son of the senator Marcus and his wife Julia, who was barren for twenty-two years before giving him birth. Baptised by Pope Pontianus, along with his friend Valerius (who wrote his life), he succeeded in bringing his father, Marcus, the Emperor Philip and his son, and many other eminent Romans to the Christian faith. He gave great protection and help to the Church as a senator, and was a close friend of Pope Fabian. When Decius's persecution began, Pontius fled from Rome and hid in the Alps, but, in the time of Valerian, he was taken and put to harsh torture, during which many miracles of God were revealed and many turned to Christ. There happened to be many Jews there, who cried to the judge: 'Kill him; kill this magician at once!' At this, Pontius raised his hands to heaven and said: 'I give thanks to Thee, O my God, that the Jews also cry against me, as their fathers once cried against Christ: "Crucify him; crucify him!" '. He was beheaded in 257 and was buried by his friend Valerius.

4. St Nonna.

The mother of St Gregory the Theologian, she was a Christian and a mighty wonderworker through prayer. By her prayers, she brought her husband back from the folly of idolatry to the Christian faith, and he later became bishop of the city of Nazianzus. By her prayers, St Nonna also saved her son, Gregory the Theologian, from a storm. She entered peacefully into rest as a deaconess in 374.

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