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1. The Holy Martyrs Agathonicus and Zoticus, and others with them.

St Agathonicus was a citizen of Nicomedia and a Christian. He turned the Greeks from idolatry with great fervour, and instructed them in the true Faith. The imperial governor, on orders from the Emperor Maximian, was persecuting Christians with great harshness. In this persecution, he seized St Zoticus in a place called Carpe, crucified his disciples and took him off to Nicomedia, where he also seized and bound Agathonicus, Princeps, Theoprepius, Acyndinus, Severian, Zeno and many others. They were taken, securely bound, to Byzantium. On the way, Zoticus, Theoprepius and Acyndinus died from exhaustion and of their wounds. Severian was killed near Chalcedon and Agathonicus and the others were taken to Thrace, to a place called Silybria, where, after torture before the Emperor himself, they were beheaded with the sword and entered into eternal life and the joy of their Lord.

2. The Holy Martyr Eulalia.

At the time of a terrible persecution of Christians in Spain, there was a maiden called Eulalia, born of Christian parents in Barcelona. Utterly consecrated to Christ her Bridegroom, and steeped in the Holy Scriptures, she applied herself steadfastly to voluntary asceticism of soul and body. When the torturer, Dacian, who was mercilessly slaughtering Christians in Spain, came to Barcelona, Eulalia slipped away from her parents by night, came before the torturer and, in the presence of many of the people, denounced him as a murderer of innocent people, and also pulled down idols, openly confessing her faith in Christ the living Lord. Dacian commanded in fury that she be stripped and beaten with rods, but the holy maiden showed that she did not feel the pain of the torture for her Christ. Then the torturer had her tied to a tree in the form of a Cross, and ordered that her flesh be burned with torches. The torturer asked her, where was her Christ to save her? Eulalia answered: 'He is here with me, but you cannot see Him because of your impurity.' Under great torture, Eulalia gave her soul to God and, when she breathed her last, the people saw a white dove emerge from her mouth. Then a sudden snowstorm came and covered the naked body of the martyr like a white garment. On the third day, St Felix came and, in grief, wept before the hanging body of Eulalia, and a smile appeared on the saint's dead face. Her parents came and, together with other Christians, buried the body of the holy maiden. She suffered for her Lord and entered into eternal joy at the beginning of the fourth century.

3. The Holy Martyr Anthusa, and others with her.

The daughter of rich, pagan parents in Seleucia in Syria, Anthusa heard of Christ and believed in Him with all her heart. She went secretly to Bishop Athanasius, who baptised her, and an angel of God appeared at that moment. After that, Anthusa went off to the desert to live in asceticism, not daring to return to her parents. She lived in the desert for thirty-three years, until, while kneeling in prayer on a rock, she gave her soul into God's hands. She was buried, at her prior request, under this rock. Athanasius and two of Anthusa's servants, Charismus and Neophytus, were beheaded for their faith in Christ in the time of the Emperor Valerian, in about the year 257. They suffered with honour and were crowned with wreaths.

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