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1. The Holy Martyr Sabbas Stratelates.

This famous Sabbas lived in Rome in the time of the Emperor Aurelian, and held a general's rank. He was of a noble Gothic family. He often visited Christians in prison, helping them from his abundance. Through his great purity and fasting, God gave him power over unclean spirits. When he was charged with being a Christian, he stood courageously before the Emperor, cast his officer's belt before him and publicly confessed Christ the Lord. He was tortured in various ways: flogged, flailed with iron rods, burned with torches. But he did not succumb to these deadly tortures, and was seen to be alive and well. His comrades, the soldiers, seeing clearly that God was helping Sabbas, accepted the Christian faith, and seventy of them were immediately beheaded at the Emperor's command. Christ the. Lord Himself appeared to Sabbas in the prison in great light, and strengthened His martyr. Then Sabbas was condemned to death by drowning. He was thrown into a deep river, where he gave his soul to God in the year 272. And his soul went to the Lord to whom he had remained faithful under many tortures.

2. Our Holy Mother Elisabeth

She embraced monasticism in early youth in the monastery of Ss Cosmas and Damian in Constantinople, and took on herself a heavy asceticism for the sake of Christ the Lord and of her soul. She regarded herself as the bride of Christ, and this world as illusory From her great love for God flowed a great compassion for people, especially for the sick and suffering. By the gift she had received from God, she healed many diseases and much distress among the people. At her nightly prayers she was seen all illuminated with heavenly light. And after her death, her relics had the power of healing, and many of the sick and suffering have come to her grave through the ages. She entered peacefully into rest and went to the eternal joy of her Lord in the year 540.

3. The Holy Martyrs Eusehius, Neon, Leontius and Longinus.

These four were army comrades of St George. Seeing the courageous endurance and marvels of the saint, they became Christians and were consequently beheaded.

4. The Holy Martyrs Pasicrates and Valentine.

When the judge urged Pasicrates, and also the martyr's brother, Papianus (who had fallen away from Christ through fear of torture) to offer sacrifice to idols, Pasicrates put his hand into the fire and cried: 'The body is dead and burned by fire, but the soul is immortal and does not feel visible torture.' His mother upheld him and greatly encouraged him to endure to the end. He was beheaded along with Valentine, and they both went to the Kingdom of Christ in about 228.

5. Our Holy Father Thomas the Fool for Christ.

Whenever, in his monastic work, he had to go into the city of Antioch, Thomas feigned madness for the sake of Christ. A certain Anastasius, refusing to give him the requested alms for the monastery, gave him a blow instead. Then Thomas prophesied: 'From now on, I shall receive nothing from Anastasius, nor will Anastasius be able to give anything.' One day later, Anastasius died; and Thomas also, about to return to the monastery, gave up the ghost. And so the prophecy of this holy man was fulfilled. St Thomas departed this life in Laphnis near Antioch, in the time of Patriarch Domnus (546--560).

6. The Holy New Martyrs Luke and Nicolas

The young man Luke, a tailor by profession, suffered for Christ in 1546, and Nicolas in 1776.

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