The life and martyrdom of the holy martyrs –
Eustathius and his wife Theopist
e and their children –
Agapius and Theopistus

God bless us!

   The present legal teaching is for people to distinguish goodness and perform good deeds. It teaches them to do the same things that they wish for themselves from others; It also trains them to thank the merciful God in a way they expect from whom they had done good to. This teaching about the goodness taken from the Scriptures, and the deeds of the saints represent spiritual icons that appeal people to imitate their kindness.
   Talking about the teaching of certain books does not make sense – they are so numerous. I selected the legal teaching from the numerous books, which at that time was useful to the listeners and noteworthy to those who thought that it was impossible to display such courage as the first martyrs showed at the time. Let everyone know that neither time, nor peril or upbringing can hinder good deeds in any way; and whoever wants to follow the right confession and the teachings of the Fathers, he will easily find the way of life, as was found by those I am are speaking of and telling you about their lives and their good deeds.
   During the reign of King Trajan, when idolatry swept away the country, the king appointed a man named Placidas Commander-in-Chief, who was a kinsman of Majesty and had all-powerful wealth – gold, silver, slaves, and other riches. He was a pagan by his creed and distinguished by being just in his activities: he helped those in need, released many from court by paying a fee, clothed the naked, and fed the hungry. With such charity, he became the new Cornelius.
   His virtuous wife, who had borne him two sons, was like him in all things. God, however, Who loves mankind and desires that all be saved and Who looks upon those who do good, did not disregard this virtuous man and did not allow him to perish in the darkness of the deception of idolatry.
   One day, as Placidas was hunting together with his servants, as was his custom, he came upon a herd of deer. Having pointed them out to the horsemen accompanying him, he set out in pursuit. Picking out the largest deer in the group, he chased after it, and the deer became separated from the herd. The servants followed Placidas, but became exhausted, and were left behind. Placidas pursued the deer alone far into the wilderness. After he chased the deer for a long time, it climbed atop a great rock and stood there. Placidas drew near and looked at it, considering how he might take the deer. But the compassionate God, Who in various ways effects a man’s salvation and by means which He alone knows sets him upon the true path, ensnared the hunter. He manifested Himself, not through the agency of another as He did to Cornelius through Peter, but directly, as He did to Paul. Placidas remained for a long time gazing at the deer, and Christ the Lord appeared to him in a vision. A most radiant cross appeared between the deer’s antlers, and as Placidas gazed upon it, he beheld the likeness of Jesus Christ, Who was crucified for us. He was astonished by this strange vision, and he heard a voice saying to him, “Why do you pursue Me, O, Placidas?”
  As soon as he heard this divine voice, Placidas was stricken with fear, and he fell from his steed to the ground and lay as though dead. When he came to himself somewhat, he said, “Who art Thou, O, Lord, that speaks to me?”
   The Lord said unto him: “I am Christ who divided indivisible, created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, who created the brightness and made the darkness invisible; I am the One who created the sun to make the day bright, and the moon and the stars – to possess the night; the One who created time – days and minutes, created a man from the earth and came to this world to save him; I appeared incarnate, was crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day.”
    Placidas arose from the ground, crying out, “Now, 0 Lord, do I believe that Thou art the God of heaven and earth and the Maker of all creation.
Again, he heard a voice, saying, “Go to a Christian priest and be baptized, and he shall indicate to you the path to salvation.” Placidas asked for permission to tell everything to his wife and children so that they too could believe in Christ. Christ allowed and instructed the whole family to be baptized, hen to return to the same place where Christ would tell them what awaited them in the future and reveal the mystery of life.
    Placidas told everything to his wife at night. She said, “Last night, I heard someone say to me, ’In the morning you, your husband, and your sons will come to know Me, Jesus Christ, the true God.’ Therefore, let us not wait but rather hasten to do that which we have been commanded.”
That night, Placidas took his wife and children and several of his devoted servants and went to the priest. He told everything to him and asked to be baptized. When the priest heard these things, he glorified God, Who calls from among the nations those who are pleasing to Him. He instructed them in the holy faith and told them of all God’s commandments. When he had taught them sufficiently and prayed, he baptized them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Placidas was given the name Eustathius in Holy Baptism, and his wife the name Theopiste, and to their sons the names Agapius and Theopistus were given. The priest communed them of the divine Mysteries and dismissed them in peace, saying to them, “May God be with you, and may He enlighten you with divine knowledge. He has summoned you to the inheritance of life eternal; therefore, when you are deemed worthy to behold Him, remember me, your spiritual father.”
   The next morning, Eustathius took a few of his servants and went to the place where he had seen the Lord. When he arrived at that place, he sent forth his servants, saying, “Go in search of game.” He then dismounted, fell upon his face on the ground, and prayed, weeping and thanking God for His unutterable mercy. He committed himself to his Lord and cast himself upon His good and perfect will, trusting that according to God’s goodness, in a way known to Him and pleasing to Him, He would dispose all things in a profitable manner. There it was revealed to him what misfortunes and sorrows should befall him, for he heard the Lord say unto him, “Eustathius, it behooves you to make manifest your faith and undoubting hope and the fervor of your love for Me. These things are proven not in circumstances of fleeting wealth and vain prosperity but in poverty and tribulation. Therefore, many sorrows shall befall you, and you shall be tested by misfortunes like another Job, that, having been tried like gold in a crucible, you might prove worthy of Me and receive a crown from My hand.”
   Eustathius said, “0 Lord, I stand before Thee; do Thou with me as Thou willest. I am prepared to accept all things thankfully from Thy hand, for good and gracious art Thou. As a Father, Thou dost temper punishment with mercy. Wherefore, shall I not accept chastisement at Thy merciful and fatherly hands? Yea, as a bondsman am I ready to bear and to suffer all that is laid upon me; only let Thine almighty help be with me.”
   Then he heard the voice say again, “Do you wish to undergo suffering now or in the final days of your life?”
   Eustathius replied, “Lord, if it be not possible that temptation should pass me by, then let me bear these misfortunes now. Only send Thine aid, that evil might not overcome me and separate me from Thy love.”
The Lord said, “Take courage, Eustathius; my grace shall be with you and shall preserve you.”
    Eustathius returned home and told his wife everything. After a few days, by God’s allowance, sickness and death came to Eustathius’ home, and all his household, men and beasts alike, were stricken with illness. Within a short time, almost all his servants, men and women, and even his animals, died.
    In those days, a great feast was being held in the country to celebrate the victory of the Persians. The king and the people rejoiced. It was necessary for Eustathius to be present at the feast as a Commander-in-Chief. However, he never went there: they were looking for him everywhere and could not find him and everyone was left surprised.
At that time, as Eustathius dwelt in a hidden place, his wife said to him, “Shall we remain in this place for a long time, my lord? Let us go away into a country even further away.” Therefore, they departed, together with their children, and took the road leading to Egypt. When they had travelled for a few days, they came to the sea and found a boat there. They boarded it and departed. The master of the ship was a most violent barbarian. Seeing that Eustathius’ wife was exceedingly fair, he was wounded with lust for her, and he pondered evil in his heart, thinking that he would take her from her husband. He demanded a fee from Eustathius to take him to the other shore, which the latter did not have, and the evil man kept his wife.
   Eustathius resisted the boatman, but when he saw that he was about to be thrown into the water, he was forced to stop resisting and tried to save the children at least. He picked them up and set off in a daze. He approached the river with high-water level, which was dangerous to cross with two children. He left one child on the bank and put the other upon his shoulder, taking him across the river. When he reached the far shore, he set him down and was returning to bring the other child across the river. When he was in the middle of the river, he saw a lion snatch the child and then run. As he returned toward the other child, a wolf suddenly appeared which seized that child and carried him off. In grieve, Eustathius was crying bitterly and was pulling out his hair, but could not help his children. He decided to drown in the river, but he remembered God’s will and this made him change his mind and he came out of the river.
   When the lion crossed over the river upstream, carrying unharmed the child it had taken into the wilderness, shepherds caught sight of it, and crying out, began to chase after it. The lion dropped the child uninjured and fled. Likewise, the wolf, which was carrying the other child, who was still alive, was seen by farmers, who chased after it shouting, and so it left the child to them unharmed. The shepherds and the farmers, who were from the same village, took the children and cared for them. But Eustathius knew nothing of their deliverance and continued along his way, now in patience giving thanks to God, now overcome by nature, weeping and saying, “Woe is me, who once basked in glory but now am abased! Woe is me, who was once the master of a great household but am now homeless! Once I was as a tree having many leaves, which bore much fruit, but now am I but a withered branch. In my home was I surrounded by friends; when in the streets, by my servants; in battle, by my soldiers: but now am I left alone in the wilderness. But forsake me not, 0 Lord! Do not disdain me, Thou Who beholdest all things! Forget me not, 0 All-good One! 0 Lord, forsake me not until the end! I remember, 0 Lord, the words which Thou spakest at the place where Thou didst appear unto me, saying, ’Like Job shalt thou undergo misfortunes’; but lo, I have been subjected to more than Job. For although he was deprived of his possessions and honours, he, nevertheless, sat upon his own dunghill; but I find myself in a strange land and know not where to turn. He had friends to comfort him, but my consolation, my beloved children, have been seized by wild beasts to be consumed in the wilderness. Although Job was deprived of his children, he could obtain from his wife some comfort and care, but my good companion hath fallen into the iniquitous hands of a barbarian, and I, like a reed in the wilderness, am shaken by the storms of my bitter woes. But be not angered with Thy servant, who voiceth the sorrow of his heart, 0 Lord; as a man do I speak. In Thee am I established, 0 Thou Who carest for me and dost guide me. In Thee do I hope, and by Thy love, as though by a cool dew and a breath of wind, do I quench the fire of my sorrows. By the sweetness of my desire for Thee the bitterness of my misfortunes is made sweet!”
   Thus spoke Eustathius, sighing and weeping. He arrived at a certain village named Badessos. There he was appointed to guard the vineyard – he worked and thus supported himself. Therefore, he lived in that village for fifteen years. His children were being reared nearby in another village, but he knew nothing of them, neither did the children know anything of one another.
   The owner of the boat took Eustathius’s wife to his country, but he failed to marry her – as a result of the woman’s plea, God protected her and she remained undefiled. Some time later, the man died and the woman was released from him.
   At that time, foreign tribes made war against Rome and wrought much havoc, overrunning a number of cities. The King worried a lot and remembered Commander-in-Chief Placidas, who had defeated the barbarians many times. He wondered as to how Placidas, together with his wife and children, could have disappeared, and they resolved to search throughout the Empire for him. The Emperor said to his suite, “I will bestow great honor and numerous gifts upon the man who finds Placidas.”
   Two men went in search of Placidas – Acacius and Antiochus – who had previously been Commander-in-Chief’s soldiers. They passed through many lands and towns. Finally, they drew near to the village where Eustathius lived. When he saw the soldiers, he recognized them from afar as his friends. Placidas recognized the soldiers from afar, remembering both his former glory and his days spent with his wife and children. He prayed and begged Christ to let him see his wife and children abducted by the beasts.
   A voice from heaven told him that he would soon regain his original glory and his wife and children, and his name would spread from tribe to tribe. As soon as he heard this, he left the vineyard and set out on his way. Seekers did not recognize him and asked him about Placidas if he knew him. Eustathius asked them, “Why do you seek him?” They answered, “He is our friend, and for a long time we have not seen him, and we do not know where he or his wife and two children are to be found. If someone would apprise us concerning him, we would give him much gold.” Eustathius said, “I have not seen such a man, nevertheless, come to the village and rest in my hut.”
   Eustathius, certainly knew them and tears began to flow from his eyes. He asked the owner of the vineyard for wine and food to host them, adding that he would pay him after receiving the fee. He remembered how in his previous life those whom he now waited upon served him, and overcome by nature, he wished to weep, but he restrained himself so that he would not be discovered. He left the room, and having wept somewhat and then wiped away his tears, he immediately returned and continued to serve like a slave or the simplest peasant. The soldiers, who had looked frequently at him, gradually came to recognize him, and they said quietly to one another, “This man is like Placidas; perhaps he is actually Placidas himself.” One of them recalled that Placidas had a scar from wounds on his neck and decided to check. They checked and made sure he was Commander-in-Chief Placidas, which he denied at first, but finally admitted everything. Placidas told them about his family’s dramatic adventures. He did not hide the story of the apparition of Jesus Christ either. The rejoicing horsemen clothed him in the garment of the Commander-in-Chief and brought him to the king. The inhabitants of the town said with a pity: “What a man we had to guard the vineyard.”
   The soldiers communicated him the King’s order, clothed him and took to the Emperor. Along the way, Eustathius conversed with the soldiers about his wife and children. 15 days later, they came to the king.  The Emperor received him with honor and joyfully kissed him, asking him how it was that he had left his home. Eustathius related all that had happened and the things concerning his wife and children. Then the Emperor passed his army at his disposal, the number of which Eustathius considered insufficient to fight the barbarians.  He asked for gathering all military forces in every city and town.
   There were two young men among them who had been raised in one settlement and were more handsome than the others. When Eustathius saw them, he liked them so much that he asked them to be his fellow diners and treated them with love. He kept them always in his presence and shared his table with them, and they were pleasing in his sight. Thereafter, Eustathius went forth to do battle. Not only did he liberate the cities and lands overrun by them; he conquered the entire country of the barbarians and utterly overwhelmed their forces. Strengthened by his Lord, he displayed much valor and won a victory.
   Eustathius chanced upon a certain village, which was situated on a beautiful spot by a river. It was a pleasant place, conducive to repose. Therefore, Eustathius rested there with his troops for three days. It was in that village that his wife lived. She had a garden. By God’s providence, her sons knowing nothing of their mother pitched their tent alongside her garden.
   At midnight, the mother heard the two young men were asking each other about their origin, and the elder of the two said, “I remember that my father was a general and my mother was a beautiful woman. They had two children: my younger brother and me. They took us and went in a ship. When we left the country, my mother remained on the ship although I do not know why. When we came to a river, my father left me on the bank, put my younger brother on his shoulder, and took him to the other side of the river. After he had carried him to the opposite bank, and as he was returning for me, a lion came, snatched me up, and took me into the wilderness. However, shepherds rescued me from him, and thus I came to be reared in the village that you know.”
   Then the younger brother arose quickly and embraced him, and weeping, he said, “Truly you are my brother, for I remember all that you have recounted. At the same time, a wolf snatched me away, but farmers delivered me from him.”
   They embracing and kissing one another. Their mother, hearing their conversation, lifted up her eyes to God, sighing. She was convinced that they were truly her children. Next day she went to the General and said, “I am from Rome and was taken captive in this land. I entreat you, sir, to take me to my homeland.”
   Telling that, she perceived that he was her husband, but she feared to tell him the truth. Finally, she dared and said, “I entreat you, my lord, be not angry with me, your handmaiden. Only be patient, my lord, and hear out your handmaid. Are you not Placidas, who in Holy Baptism was named Eustathius? Did you not see Christ on the Cross between the deer’s antlers? Did you not leave for Egypt with your wife, who I am, and two children, Agapius and Theopistus? Was your wife not taken from you by a barbarian? I remained unsullied thanks to God and until now wander about in want.”
   When Eustathius heard her, he recognized his wife, and said: “I am you are speaking about!” They rejoiced, giving thanks unto God. Then the wife asked him, “And where are our children?” He said: “They were eaten by beasts.” He told everything what happened to them.
His wife replied: “We should be thankful to God, as we found each other, He gave us our sons.”
   Eustathius said: “I told you that they were consumed by beasts.”
Theopiste then began to relate to him all that she had heard the day before by the two soldiers as they conversed with each other, and how she had perceived that they were her sons. Eustathius immediately summoned them and asked where they were from and what happened to them.
   Then they told everything. Eustathius realized that these were his children. They embraced them and wept. All joined together in rejoicing, and there was a celebration exceeding that which had ensued following the troops’ great victory. Placidas organized a great feast during which kind Christ was glorified for these wonders.
And so Eustathius returned from battle, rejoicing both over his victory. He entered the city in great pomp, bringing with him many captives and countless valuable spoils. At that time King Trajan died and he was succeeded by Hadrian, who was exceedingly wicked and who hated the good and persecuted the pious. Eustathius was welcomed with honor by the Emperor, who arranged a great celebration.
   When Hadrian wished to worship and to sacrifice to the demons in gratitude for the victory over his enemies, he went into the temple of the idols. Only Eustathius did not enter, but remained outside. The Emperor asked him, “Why do you not wish to enter the temple with us and worship the gods? You should be the first to render thanksgiving to the gods inasmuch as they not only preserved you whole and hale and have granted you victory over your enemies but have restored your wife and sons to you.”
   Eustathius answered, “I am a Christian, and I know Jesus Christ alone to be my God. Him do I honor and thank, and I worship Him, for He has granted me every blessing: victory, my wife, and my children.”
The Emperor stripped Eustathius of his rank and commanded that he be brought into his presence as a commoner. He took him and his family to the hippodrome and let the lions inside, who instead of tearing them down, worshiped them and ran back. Seeing this, the king was surprised and ordered to heat the iron furnace and throw them inside.
The entire nation flocked to see the merits of Eustathius and his family. They heated the furnace created by some devilry; the convicts begged the tormentors to let them pray. They prayed to Christ with their hands raised to the heaven for grace to be given to their remains, and to help those in need by mentioning their names. They also prayed that the intensity of the fire would be reduced to dews and that their corpses would be left without dismemberment. After the prayer, a voice came from heaven: “Let everything be as you have asked for it, you deserve even more, because you have endured great trials and have not been defeated, take the crowns of victory instead of the plague”. They then fearlessly entered the fire, the sharpness of which suddenly subsided. They praised the glorious Trinity, sang the hymn of victory, and thus surrendered their souls to the Lord.
   Three days later the king came to the place of punishment and ordered the furnace to be dismantled to see the corpses. They saw whole corpses that looked like living beings and whose hair did not even show traces of fire, as if they had not even been touched. They were taken out and rested on the ground. The king was frightened and quickly left the place. And when the people saw it, they cried out: “Great is the God of Christians. Truly there is only Jesus Christ and there is no other God but Him.”
   Christians secretly stole their corpses and buried them in a place of honour. After the persecution of the Christians, a church was built on the site and their remains were laid to rest to honour their celebration day, which is in the month of September.
   This is the work of these saints, this is the end of their glorious deeds. All who will be worthy of their remembrance, and will regard them as helpers, will find the goodness which is by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which is the glory and steadfastness with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

The martyrdom of Theodore, the holy and glorious martyr,
and his fellow martyrs in April, who were tortured in
the country Pamphylia

   Antoninus was a ruler in Rome at that time, and Diodorus, a man of evil and an enemy of Christians, ruled in the Phrygian city of Perge. He received an order from the ruler to gather brave young men, form an army of cavalry from them, assign salaries to them, give them weapons, donkeys, reserve horses, all that was needed for the army, and appoint a commander, and send him to Rome.

   Diodorus sent horsemen to quickly carry out the ruler’s order to look for the brave young men and bring them to the ruler. During their search, they met a handsome young man named Theodore, a devout Christian who was going to pray. The horsemen liked the young man and told each other that he could help other riders as well, they immediately stopped him telling that the ruler was inviting him. Theodore, realizing that this would lead to his sacrifice for Christ, raised his eyes to heaven and offered thanks to the Lord. Theodore followed the cavalry, who introduced him to the ruler. Diodorus and all who were with him rejoiced at the sight of the handsome young man. The ruler asked for his name and ordered that a ring be affixed to him (to appoint him a knight).
   Theodore did not accept the ring, he threw it away, and said that from the time he was in his mother’s womb he was appointed as the knight of the Lord, who created the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that dwells here. When asked by the ruler whether he wished to become the king’s main rider, Theodore replied that he would neither become his rider nor obey him, and would not make any sacrifices to pagan idols. The ruler reminded that many Christians were tortured and killed for this reason and a similar fate awaited him, and if he agreed, he would be honored and appointed a civil servant. Theodore got interested in which idol he would have to sacrifice. In response, when he heard the name of Dio, he described him as a whale created by the art of witchcraft, who kidnapped Ulimpia and decapitated her, and then resembled Pelican and desecrated Lydia’s virginity. The ruler rebuked that he should not be accused of believing in the great God, to which Theodore explained why he did not care what the devils they served were.
   Diodorus then offered a sacrifice to the virgin Artemis. In response, Theodore described her life: Artemis, a hunter in the mountains, was assisted by demons, accompanied by the 12 men who admired Artemis and who fulfilled her every wish, and who finally went out of their mind and died. When the ruler heard this, he addressed Theodore as an abuser of the temples and a blasphemer of their gods, accusing himself of having allowed so much to be said and ordering to lie him down on the ground and beat him with cowhide whips until he offered sacrifice to their gods.
   Theodore suffered while being beaten, but still chanted Christ and kept saying that he was grateful that he too had a share with the saints, that he too took part in the torture, that he recognized him as King, God and Savior, who from time immemorial created inexpressible wonders, helped Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all righteous people as well; He begged to be taken away from this worldly impurity and to assist in the execution of his plan to glorify his name forever.
   The executioners tormented him until they got tired. The chief again offered Theodore to sacrifice to their gods and thus save his youth. And Theodore again denied it, he was ready to sacrifice himself to Christ and to suppress pagan idols. The chief then ordered to heat the iron grille and place Theodore on it so that everyone could see how Christ would help him.
   The executioners immediately brought a large grille on which a man could fit, lit a fire underneath, and from above they poured candles, wax, and sulfur. As the fire intensified and the grille became heated, the ruler ordered his torture. Naked Theodore ran to the instrument of torture like a helpless lamb and lied on it and as if lying on a dew, so rested, then looked up to heaven and asked the glorified Lord of all to hear him, to send an angel and save him from fire and smoke, for it was all done in his name. As soon as he said it, everyone saw a miracle: a voice came out of the depths, and the earth shook, and water appeared under the grille, which extinguished the flames of the fire; The martyr got up as if awakened from sleep and addressed the ruler: “Ask one of the horsemen to lie down on the grille now and see if his gods would help him”. The horseman Aquiline rejected this idea and advised the ruler to bring in a priest and thus test the strength of their gods.
   The ruler made to bring a priest named Dioscorus, a servant of Dios and Athena, who was told of the miracle. The ruler asked him how Theodore had enchanted the fire by not touching it. According to Dioscuros, Christians do not have magic: wherever the name of Christ is uttered, all magic is destroyed and the devils are persecuted, therefore, this name is dangerous. To the ruler’s remark that Christ is stronger than our God, the priest replies that Zeus is an idol, sculpted by men. The ruler suspected that the priest was on the side of Christians, but the latter justified himself by saying that he had never had faith and served idols because of poverty and hardship, and now he saw how Theodore had defeated their gods and wished to become his fellow. He advised the ruler to test Zeus himself; If he could withstand the force of fire, he would save others from the fire.
   The ruler did not like Dioscorus’ offer and ordered to throw him on the heated grille. Before being placed on the grille, Dioscorus asked Theodore to pray for him. Having prepared for torture, he asked Christ to accept his soul with peace through Theodore’s prayer. As soon as he said that, he breathed his last. Then the Christians there took his body, embalmed it and buried it with honor. Blessed Theodore was thrown into prison by the order of the ruler, where he prayed for the soul of Dioscorus.
   That night Bishop Peghasse came to the prison and asked for permission to visit Theodore, which the prisoner gladly granted. The bishop fell at the feet of Theodore, who was praying, and thanked him that Christ had chosen the holy lamb in his flock in the person of Theodore, who would lead the flock on its way to him. On the other hand, he begged Theodore to bring the matter to an end so that others could follow in his footsteps.
   The next day, on Thursday, the ruler ordered to bring Theodore in front of him. He again advised him to sacrifice to the pagan idols, to which Theodore replied that they should first ask Dios if he wished to be offered a sacrifice from him. Instead of deaf and dumb idol, the devil in the idol answered to Theodore’s question in a loud voice for everyone to hear: he had been looking for Theodore for three years to fight, lead him into sin, and cast him out of the flock of Christ. He heated the heart and kidneys of sleeping Theodore, and he wished to take him to the brothel, which he failed to achieve; Awakened Theodore began to pray and called to Christ. On hearing this, the devil shook with fear and fled. He was also going to run away from this place, because he met Theodore here as well. The devil lists the places from which the followers of Christ expelled him: Macedonia, Nicomedia (Tryphon), Perge… During his stay in Macedonia, many warriors appeared in front of him and expelled him from there, Tryphon expelled him from Nicomedia to another place, and the martyr Thyrsus demolished his dwelling. He no longer knows where to go to rest from the followers of Christ and not fall into eternal fire. The devil begs Theodore, but the young man curses him, commanding him in the name of Christ to be silent and to hurt no one.
Then the devil smashed the idol, turned it to dust, and before fleeing said to the ruler: “Evil ruler, why hast thou seized this young man to damn me? Take him out of this life quickly not to incense him, not to let him pray while crucified, so that not to burn you and all of your people with fire. He also recalled that he and his friends had been watching Theodore since childhood and felt that he would do them great harm. The chief called Theodore and asked him what power he had to defeat the gods, why he was not afraid of torture, and why the fire could do him no harm. If he told him his secret, he would release him.
   Theodore replied: “You promise to let me free, as if I want to be in this earthly world. I do not value this country and I strive unceasingly for eternal good. How should I make you understand the goodness of the Lord when your heart is evil and distorted? Scripture claims: “Do not give purity to dogs, do not throw pearls to pigs. How can I reveal the secret of God to you when your heart is not right?”
   The ruler became angry and ordered to tie Theodore to the wild colts so that he could be executed by dragging. They brought the colts with ropes to tie the blithesome to the horses. Theodore asked for seclusion so that he could pray; He raised his eyes to heaven and said: “True light, hope of the doomed, leader of the wicked, rescuer of the captives, ressurector of the dead, I beg you, good Lord, who raised Elijah with the chariot of fire, and saved Daniel from the clutches of the lion, gather strength and help me, have a good miracle upon me, so that our haters may see it; Have mercy on those two horsemen who believed in you.
He then told the horsemen to obey the ruler’s order. They refused to do so, the other horsemen tied him to the wild horses and beat the horses with a whip making them drag him into the field. And Theodore asked the Lord: “Lord Jesus Christ, know well how I wish to abandon this earthly world, but, to glorify thy name, save me from such death, and let all know that thou are the God of gods and King of kings”. After these words he saw a fiery chariot coming down from heaven, which took the martyr and set him at the door of the wicked ruler. The horses, frightened by the angels, ran away and disappeared into the abyss.
Theodore was thrown into prison, and the ruler discussed with his friends and relatives what kind of death Theodore should be sentenced to. Before that he once again offered Theodore to bring sacrifice to his gods and thus save his youth. Theodore again denied and advised him to repent his iniquity, to condemn pagan idols if he wished to be saved from eternal flame.
   The ruler then ordered a large oven to be built, to heat it for three days, and to throw Theodore into it, also instructing that those who would protect the martyr would be punished there as well. Being imprisoned, Theodore prayed and begged the Lord to see his mother, who had been held captive in a foreign land. As soon as he finished the request, the angel of the Lord informed him that he would see his mother before the end.
   Three days later, when the oven was very hot, Theodore was brought in and placed there all tied up. Saddened by this, the horsemen, Socrates and Dionysus, said to the heathen ruler: “Ruler, full of much imprudence, what did Theodore do wrong to be punished like this? After all, he endured all kinds of suffering and came out healthy, but you still fail to understand this”. At the command of the ruler, they too were thrown into the oven, where Theodore sang hymns to the Lord and encouraged the horsemen not to be frightened, and to recite the various verses of his chant ‘hallelujah’. After the chant, Theodore asked the Lord to put out the fire, as in the case of the Babylonian juveniles, and to show his omnipotence to all. The fire was extinguished and all three fell asleep. On that very day, by the grace of God, Theodore’s mother, Philippa, came from a distant land, and when she heard the story of her son thrown into the oven, she tore her clothes, pulled out her hair, and ran to the oven lamenting. She was asking the Lord why he sacrificed Theodore, who, while still in his mother’s womb, promised glory.
Seeing his mother barefoot and in torn clothes, St. Theodore told her that she should rejoice at the sight of his martyrdom, he asked her to go and clothe herself like a bride of Christ. The mother did what she was told to do. She went to the oven and told her son that according to the vision, he would be crucified, then she turned to Christ asking him to sacrifice Theodore.
   At dawn, the ruler told his relatives and friends that not even the bones would be left untouched in the oven. Then one of the servants informed the ruler that the fire could do nothing to punish him. As soon as Theodore was thrown, he mentioned the name of the Lord with a request to help the doomed, and immediately strong fire was extinguished. His mother Philippa is there too, teaching Theodore patience and rejoicing as if she were at her son’s wedding. When the ruler heard this, he went to the oven and told Philippa to advise her son to sacrifice to pagan idols, and thus she would no longer remain childless. She replied that they did not offer sacrifices to the devils and informed him that Theodore would be executed on the cross. The ruler liked this idea and ordered to crucify Theodore and to behead Philippa. Two horsemen thrown into the oven were killed by spears.
   Theodore was brought to the place where the cross was erected. He looked up at the cross and said: “The cross, annihilator of sins, pride of the righteous, ladder to heaven, pillar of baptism, ark of men, scepter of strength, infallible path, oppressor of the devils, preacher of the passions of Christ, have mercy on me who came to you with joy, so that I, crucified on you, may glorify the Lord and sing to him forever and ever.” Theodore asked the executioners to crucify him not as Christ, but upside down. The tormentors did not listen to his request and told him that according to the order, he should be properly crucified. Hanging on the cross, Theodore said: “Now, I have overcome you, devil, I have shamed of you, Samael, I am no longer afraid of you, because I have climbed the high tower.” At this time Theodore’s mother was brought to the cross and beheaded in front of her son. Before she was punished, she addressed Christ: “The cup you drained for the life of men, now my son is draining in your name. Reveal us, sinners, your mercy!”
Theodore was hanging on the cross for 3 days, in the end, he addressed the Lord: “Have mercy on my soul with the grace and love of mankind of my only begotten Son, with whom you are blessed with all holiness, kind and life-giving spirits to eternity, Amen!” As soon as he uttered these words, he gave his soul to the Lord. Christians gathered, collected the parts of the martyr, and buried them in a place of honor. Then a beautiful church was built there to glorify the Lord.
   “Theodore, his mother Philippa, and two horsemen were executed on the 20th of August, during the reign of Antoninus, and our Ruler is Christ God, who is our glory and endurance with the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen forever and ever!”

The month of September C (3) The martyrdom of Saint and Blessed Anthimus, archbishop of Nicomedia. God, bless us!

   In the country of Bithynia, on the other side of Byzantium, there is a city called Nicomedia, which in ancient times was large and glorious, full of people and well-known all over the surrounding countries and regions. A beautiful branch emerged in this city, full of beautiful and fragrant fruits. This is Anthimus, a man of profound faith, the jewel of the priesthood and the torture of beauty. He adorned this city and church the most with all his possessions and wealth, and converted to Christianity not only the inhabitants of this city but the whole region. The rumours of his work and miracles spread in every country.
   Anthimus learned all the good rules from infancy and the grace of God came upon him. As he was getting older, his desire to understand more and his fear for God were getting stronger. When he reached his youth, he became a manly and hardworking man – he could fast often, he was also unhurried and compassionate at praying. He completely got rid of anger and carnal desires in his life. He hated fame and arrogance and spent time praying and reading books. He embraced with his soul and mind the mother of virtues – the love of God, he parted with laughter and joy as evil enemies, and fell in love with daily mourning and tears. Being adorned with humility, his virtues manifested the dignity as well. As a result, his visitors imitated his kindness and generosity. Living this way, he shone and deserved the attention of the clergy. The archbishop of the town church forced him to join the priesthood and appointed him archdeacon; After some time, he was ordained. By the force of the priests and other connoisseurs of his virtues, Anthimus agreed with fear and respect to the offer of honour, and from this time his work and virtue increased even more, equal to that of an angel.
   Cyril, high priest of Nicomedia, died shortly afterwards. The church lost its protector and great sorrow settled among the Christians there. Then the bishops, the priests, the believers of Nicomedia gathered from other regions and decided to appoint Blessed Anthimus as a priest. Before making this decision, they went into the church to find out if this idea was pleasant to the Lord. During the prayer a great and surprising light shone and a voice was heard that Anthimus deserved this honour.
   After receiving consent from the Lord, they immediately performed the Divine Liturgy and consecrated Blessed Anthimus as Archbishop. The throne found its leader, immaculate and adorned with every virtue. And mourning was transformed into joy.
   Blessed Anthimus took the helm of the church and hastened to save the entrusted to him souls from the torment of iniquity by the Lord, and to take them to the harbor of life. The power of his teachings is attested to by the excellent and glorious, marvelous man Inde, the servant of the king’s palace. As a result of the teachings of the great Anthimus, he abandoned the pleasures of the king and the royal court, and placed the crown of torture on the head together with the maid of honour Domna, who had been baptized by the previous high priest Cyril. At the time of Anthimus, 20 000 martyrs were burned, including Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Dorotheus, and Zeno, brave men who voluntarily shed their blood for the love of Christ. Such was the miraculous and great priesthood of Anthimus, and such congregation he presented to the Lord for the wonderful sacrifice.
A fierce winter and a strong wind came upon the Christians at that time: Maximian conquered the kingdom and began to persecute the Christians – he tortured with various torments all those who disobeyed his command and did not worship the deceitful idols. He rewarded the disbelievers of Christ and those who obeyed him (the king) – with great honour, wealth, and power for their infidelity.
   Then the wicked men denounced Anthimus to the king, accusing him of being a teacher and leader of the Christians: Maximian immediately sent twenty horsemen to look for him and bring him.
   Blessed Anthimus was in the town of Simane, preaching the word of truth and multiplying the talent which the Lord had bestowed upon him. This small town was in a desert place, and Anthimus went there every day, praying with bitter tears to the Lord. When Christ was chanted and praised, the hunters of the field would gather and stand around Anthimus, listening to his chant, and praising the Creator with him. When Anthimus finished chanting, he would bless them and the hunters would return to their asylums. Blessed was Anthimus not only for humans but for cattle as well.
   King’s sleuths roamed the villages and settlements in search of Anthimus. They also came to Simane, where he lived in a small tent on the outskirts of the settlement. The horsemen did not know that he was Anthimus and asked him if he had seen the latter – the Christian bishop. He wondered why they were looking for him. The horsemen replied that the king had ordered to bring him. Anthimus offered them to go to his dwelling, where they would rest and find the man they were looking for. The horsemen followed Anthimus. He accommodated them in a tent and served them bread and sourdough because he had nothing else to eat. After resting, Anthimus revealed his name – that he is the one they were looking for. The astonished and ashamed horsemen could not even dare to look at him, for they knew well what the king was calling Anthimus for. The embarrassed horsemen offered him to stay in a tent, or hide somewhere safe, and they would report to the king that they were searching everywhere but could not find his trace.
   Anthimus, a follower of the law of the Lord day and night, did not consider it necessary for the seekers to lie about him to the king and prevented them from carrying out their plan because he had a great desire to be tormented for the sake of Christ. He invited the horsemen to go to the king together and find out what he was calling him for, adding that he was not afraid of anything because the Lord was his protector. As soon as he said that, he took the cane and they all headed for the king. The horsemen saw his innocence and sincerity, they were surprised and revered him as an angel. On the way, Anthimus advised them to renounce the evil temptation of idols, to believe in the creator of heaven and earth, and of every visible or invisible creature, telling of the good things prepared for the eternal followers of Christ, and of the torment that awaits the ungodly and sinners; He also explained all the secrets of Christianity. The horsemen believed the words of Anthimus, believed in the teachings of Christ, and asked Anthimus to baptize them.
   They came to a river, at the foot of which Christ’s servant placed horsemen, uttered the set prayers, and baptized them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They then continued their way to the king. The horsemen forced their spiritual father to reconsider coming to the king, but in vain. They informed the king of their arrival to the city, and the latter ordered to bring Anthimus in. The Blessed was tied up like a wicked man (such was the custom for Christians in that city), and Anthimus, who was looking up to heaven, fearlessly approached the king. Maximian ordered to place the torture tools in front of Anthimus: large sticks, whips, heavy cauldrons, metal scrapers, meat grinder, sharpened swords, chariot wheels, iron shoes, all in order to frighten Blessed Anthimus. He laughed at the king and replied angrily to his words that he is a man who has been misled by Christ and calls foolish people to blaspheme the idol: “It would be appropriate if I did not answer, but the apostle tells us to be ready to answer to all who expect the answers, and the Lord also said to us: I have given you the word and the wisdom, which cannot be resisted, as well as the words to reply to resisters, and therefore I will say: Before coming here I was amazed at the darkness of your mind, for you are so bound up with the iniquity of idolatry that you do not see the light of worship, and do not obey the Father who gave birth to everything, who, too, gave birth to you, ungrateful, and gave you the kingdom. And now I am even more astonished at your foolishness in trying to frighten the tied up man standing in front of you with torture tools. You seem to be intimidating others who like this world and find it difficult to separate from it. I call the earthly body a prison because the soul is hindered from achieving the desired goal soon. And your threats and tools for torture I find ridiculous, for they will soon summon me to death, which will deliver me from the bonds of the flesh, and send me to eternal haven.
   After these words the enraged king ordered that stones be thrown at the back of the head of Anthimus. He, rejoiced at the beginning of the torment, thanked the Lord and said aloud: “Maximian’s gods are the inanimate idols of the devil, who created neither heaven nor earth.” Upon hearing this, Maximian was mad with rage. He ordered the long nails of iron to be heated and hammered into the legs of the martyr. Anthimus knew that this cruel and bitter torment would bring him good, and said to the king: “I blame you for idolatry but I am grateful for the suffering inflicted on me, for with this little suffering you will give me innumerable goodness”. Seeing his patience, the king diligently tried to overcome his courage and fortitude of mind, and ordered more torments to the executioners. This time he ordered the broken debris to be thrown to the ground, the naked Anthimus to be thrown on top of them, and beaten with sticks mercilessly, to be doubly tormented, on the one hand, by the beating and, on the other hand, by the debris penetrating into the body. The mighty martyr cried out to the Lord: “Thank you, Reverend, for giving me the strength to endure – suppress my enemies and destroy my haters, bring the superiors beneath me.”
   The martyr was being beaten for a long time. Rivers of blood flowed out of him; His flesh was torn and the bones were fragmented. His lips were praising the Lord and his mind was unshaken by the love of Jesus Christ. The raging beast, Maximian, watched Anthimus’s incredible patience with astonishment, and offered a new torment to the executioners: heated iron-clad shoes were put on him so that his feet would burn, the patience of which would be inaccessible to the mind. Then grace descended from heaven on Anthimus, and a voice was heard saying: “Encourage and strengthen yourself, my servant, defeat your enemies, for your deeds will be rewarded: you will be given an unfading crown”.
   The voice filled him with joy – his mouth and heart shone and he did not pay attention to his torment. Maximian was surprised by his patience and said: This man is a connoisseur of witchcraft, because he showed patience beyond his reach. And he said to Anthimus: “Tell me the art of your sorcery that helps you to endure so much suffering”. Anthimus replied: “The Lord Jesus Christ, the true God and Reverend, has given me the strength to overcome your iniquity and to expose your arrogance and greed. You could not overcome one old man with your gods, because they are powerless even by human power and represent nothing, so I can defeat you and your gods, because the Lord is my helper and companion of my soul, he is able to destroy the evil of my enemies with his truth, I will sacrifice to him of my own free will and glorify his name, for he has saved me from every plague”.
   After these words the enraged king ordered him to be tied up on the wheel of the chariot to spin: some of the executioners were turning the wheel, while others were burning the body of the Blessed with a lamp in their hands. Suddenly, by the grace of Christ, the wheel of the chariot stopped moving; The executioners dropped their lamps and lay on the ground as if asleep. Seeing this, the king became angry and threatened the executioners to be punished because they did not obey his order and fell asleep on the ground. The executioners told him about their vision: three men, dressed in white and with brilliant faces, approached Anthimus, greeted him, comforted him and encouraged him. It was at this time that the wheel of the chariot stopped, and they, too, with their lamps, lay on the ground asleep. Blessed Anthimus thanked God and sang with a fervent heart. The king then ordered Anthimus to be removed from the chariot and offered him two conditions: to offer an offering to the idols, thus earning more honour than all the princes, or to be beheaded. Anthimus replied that it was his greatest wish to leave this world soon and arrive at the abode of 30,000 martyrs, and he said with joy: “Behold, I and the children whom my Father hath given me”.
   When the king heard his answer, he said that he had heard of the longing for glory of the Christians to inherit the name of a brave and patient man, he also knew that they preferred death, which is the end of all evil, but this time he refused to please Anthimus with a quick death, he would first severely torture and only then separate him from this life with a bitter death. He was then ordered to bind his hands and feet in iron and throw him into prison.
    In prison Anthimus prayed incessantly and praised the Lord that he had rewarded him with patience so that he could endure the torture. Then he wished peace to the prisoners _ he taught the life of the soul and preached the true worship. The prisoners were soon educated by his teachings, believed in Christ, and begged Anthimus to baptize them. The kind shepherd did not hesitate to enroll them in his flock. They brought water to the dungeon and properly performed prayers, and he baptized them all.
   This was reported to the king, who angrily ordered to bring Anthimus to him at dawn. When the latter was brought, the king said to him in an angry voice: “Your unruly soul has not yet been touched by so much suffering, nor has the multiple beatings taught you to be wise, and locked in the dungeon you dared to deceive many and convert them to your religion, as I was informed”.
   St. Anthimus replied: “I am a priest of Christ the High Priest, and I can preach in every holy place in the name of my High Priest, who is willing to listen, for he himself has commanded his disciples: Go and preach to all the pagans, and baptize them in the name of the Holy Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With the subsequent tortures inflicted on me, you became dangerous in the execution of my ministry, but you added more strength and courage, and I had more grace and help from my Reverend. Your encouragement, Lord, my heart encourages my soul because of my pain, and you, the mighty heathen, do not be mistaken and don’t get tired, for you will not be able to overcome my desire and longing for Christ. Then the mighty and helpless Maximian gave the order to take the Blessed Anthimus out of the city and behead him.
   Anthimus was brought to the place of the execution. The executioner moved with compassion towards him, because the Lord, who wants to save all people, brought him (the executioner) the dew of his mercy. The executioner begged the martyr to make him worthy of the grace of Christ. Blessed Anthimus, who taught worship with great diligence, said: “May the grace of the Lord be with you”.
   At the place of punishment, St. Anthimus fell to his knees, prayed to God and offered a hymn of thanksgiving to him, then told the executioner to obey the king’s order. This is how Blessed Anthimus was beheaded on September 3, and that executioner had since become a Christian.
   The Christians came at dusk, took the honored corpse, and buried it in a place of honour as fragrant ointment, a treasure of healing, and the light of believers, with the grace and humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the true God and Father, glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, from everlasting to everlasting, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

 

Life and Merits of Saint and Blessed Athanasius, 

Archbishop of Alexandria

Many saints were burnt and killed by the will of Heaven, and they contemplated the holiness of the Lord, the giver of the clemency of Christ, and they began to shine due to His true baptism. They received the heavenly crown, for preaching the gospel and serving the Lord until death, because they loved the invisible merits more than the divine merits, the eternal life more than the passing life, and the future glory more than the earthly glory.

Athanasius the Great, who shone as a light among the bishops of the famous city of Alexandria, was filled with apostolic grace more than anyone else. Athanasius, fervent in spirit, uplifted with the desire for heaven, fought for a long time against the various heretics and the Kings struggling against orthodoxy. By the power of God, he triumphed over all the assembly of wicked believers. Therefore, I think no one can describe his many merits and wisdom with dignity, which accompanied his words and which is confirmed by his writings.

First, let us briefly mention the affairs of his adolescence.

After the martyrdom and ascension of the bishop of Alexandria – blessed Peter, Alexander received the honor of being a leader of priests. He ordered the priests to gather in the church and, while waiting for their arrival, he looked out of the window of the episcopate on the seaside. On the shore, he saw young boys chanting hymns according to church canons. Among these innocent children was Athanasius, who had been elected bishop by his peers. Some of them were priests, and some were deacons. They were bringing children to the bishop to baptize. Athanasius blessed them, prayed, and baptized them in the sea. Bishop Alexander saw that all the rites were performed according to the church law and asked two priests to invite the children. Alexander anointed the baptized children with myrrh and crossed them, thus completing the baptism. Then he called Athanasius’s parents and wished their son Athanasius success in the name of the Lord.

After some time, Athanasius was brought to bishop Alexander. He immediately ordained him a priest and prepared him to fight the enemy.

Athanasius experienced many perils from the heretics. As the Lord said, “I will show him how much suffering he will endure for me.” Since it is impossible to enumerate all his merits and since innumerable evils happened to him during the persecution, I will refer only to the outstanding and eminent cases and content myself with this.

When infidel Arius was in exile, he did not stop even there and with the help of fellow believers, he was able to tempt King Constantine, who freed him from exile, summoned him to himself, and conveyed the content of his evil creed, which in words is similar to Orthodoxy, but in truth is very far from it. The King was surprised by their verbal similarity and immediately sent Arius with honor to Alexandria. Bishop Alexander refused to have mercy on Arius because of Bishop Peter’s negative attitude towards him. Even Athanasius, who was the archdeacon at that time and knew the wickedness of Arius, who could enter the church and slowly establish his heresy, advised Bishop Alexander to take his time and postpone having mercy on Arius.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates demanded a positive answer from the King, and Bishop Alexander and Athanasius wrote to the King: “He who has already rejected our faith once should not enjoy mercy so quickly.”

Afterward, King Constantine became angry and sent letters to Bishop Alexander and Athanasius the Great. He wrote to the first one that Arius converted to Orthodoxy, no longer wants to mislead the nation, and supports peace. He threatened Athanasius to remove him from the archdeaconship if he prevented anyone from entering the church. After a while, Bishop Alexander passed away and Arius remained without having mercy, and Athanasius the Great received the honor of being a leader of priests.

The supporters of Arius first obeyed the new Bishop. Yet, after a while, they declared a fight against the latter. If they could, they would wipe out the trace of him in the country. They also won the king’s support and tried in every possible way to depose Athanasius and hoped that after that they would turn the heresy of Arius into a state creed.

Eusebius the Nicomedia and his associates bribed the evil men and accused Athanasius of the following: as soon as he took office, he ordered the Egyptians to give linen garments to the church as a tribute. With the second slander, Athanasius allegedly gave one big box full of gold to the King’s hater and his lover, and he is the King’s enemy. The third slander was as follows: a man named Isichorus, who had committed a great evil deed and deserved to die, did not receive the degree of the priesthood, and therefore, he went to the village of Mariod and began liturgy there.

Athanasius the Great sent the priest Makar to investigate the case of Isichorus. Isichorus escaped from that village and found refuge with Eusebius the Nicomedia. He was promised the episcopate for the hatred and enmity of Athanasius and was instructed to invent something to blame Athanasius. And he did so. He made up as if the priest Makar entered the church with him, rushed to the altar, destroyed it, spilled the blood of Christ from the altar chalice, burned twenty church books, etc. They wrote all this to King Constantine, who got greatly surprised by so many accusations against Athanasius the Great. The King ordered an investigation of all the cases against Athanasius and Arius in Tyre so that peace could be established in the church and the consecration of the temple in Jerusalem could be performed well.

The meeting was held in Tyre in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Constantine. Sixty bishops gathered. They brought shackled priest Makar from Antioch. The head of that country and other dignitaries attended the meeting. They also brought the blessed Athanasius.

The Alexandrian priests quickly refuted the first accusation of Athanasius regarding giving linen garments to the church as a tribute, and immediately notified King Constantine. During the trial of the second accusation, the King’s letter was delivered, which was God’s providence. Eusebius and his followers were embarrassed that the slanderers of Athanasius about the imposition of tribute were unmasked so suddenly: they failed to present any proof of the priesthood of Isichorus and moved on to look into the case of the priest Makar. To investigate the case, the accusers sent their supporters to the village of Mariod and resolved the case of the priest at their will, that is, the priest sent by Athanasius was “exposed in the crime”, which is why the judges recognized Athanasius’s “guiltiness” as proven. They recorded many other “faults” in the verdict and declared Athanasius as deposed from the priesthood. After that, everyone went to the blessing of the temple in Jerusalem.

A part of the bishops, who, like Eusebius, pretentiously signed the Creed of Consubstantiality at the assembly of Nicaea, sympathized with Arios, who arrived in Jerusalem, while the other part did not have mercy for Arius. They decided to listen to him at the meeting in Alexandria. At that time, another letter from the King arrived, in which he wrote that he had not known the reason for the gathering, which was being held with anxiety and debates, that everyone was striving for the victory of his will and not seeking the will of God, to find out the truth. He expressed the hope that they would forget the evil of anxiety and disputing, and resolve cases impartially, without envy or enmity. The King called everyone to Constantinople to examine the situation.

The letter caused concern among the participants of the meeting and everyone rushed to their churches. Only Athanasius the Great met the King in Samata (near Nicomedia) and convinced him of the falsehood of all the accusations written against him. The King notified the Alexandrian church that accusations against Athanasius were slanderous and sent Athanasius back to his church as a bishop.

Athanasius the Great arrived in Alexandria and began hearing the case of Arius in court. Then a large number of people gathered from all over Egypt to support Arius. Athanasius immediately reported the news to the King who soon realized that Arius was still following the heresy and ordered him to bring him. Terrified, Arius found Eusebius in Caesarea and asked for help, and then he went to the King. Eusebius arrived in Constantinople and made every possible effort to save Arius and remove Athanasius from the bishopric.

Arius told the King the story of the meeting in a distorted way and added that the priest’s story had been properly investigated – both the priest and Athanasius were guilty, and he added a new slander to it: it was alleged that Athanasius had forbidden the sending of flour to Constantinople, which used to take place as usual, and named bishop Peter among the witnesses. He also added that during the hearing of this case, Athanasius stopped the work of the congregation, and he ran away from the court for fear of punishment.

The supporters of Arius deceived King Constantine in this way. Enraged, he ordered Athanasius to be exiled to Beriade, in the region of Gaul. Some said that the King did this for the unity of the church because Athanasius did not want to be with Arius (at that time, Arius was flourishing, and the church was worried).

King Constantine soon died in the village of Nicomedia after a 31-year reign, aged 65. He named his son King in his will. He gave a will to a priest who belonged to the faith of Arius. The latter announced that the deceased had transferred the Kingdom to his son bearing his name, and denied having a will with him. After a while, he gave the will to the King’s namesake, Constantine, demanding from him to stick to the faith of Arius. After the death of the King, Eusebius the Nicomedia took advantage of the opportunity and hastened to make the new King confirm the faith of Arius, which was greatly facilitated by the courage of the priest, who secretly delivered the will to Constantine. They made the King’s official and eunuchs adopt the faith of Arius. After a while, the queen was also seduced and took the same faith, and finally, King Constantine followed her and immediately ordered the bishops to adopt the same religion.

At the time when a great winter set in the country, the church leader in Jerusalem was Saint Maximus, in Alexandria – Athanasius the Great, and in Constantinople – Alexander the Blessed. Eusebius the Nicomedia, with the help of the priest who hid the will of King Constantine the Great, hastened to appoint Arius as the bishop of Constantinople by order of the King, hoping that this would eliminate the confession of the Consubstantiality among the Orthodox Fathers.

When Arius, the vessel of the devil, arrived in Constantinople to conquer the Church of God, he died in dire circumstances by the prayer of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople. And in Alexandria, Eusebius the Nicomedia and his accomplices, rejoicing at the expulsion of Athanasius the Great from the country, hastened to consecrate any follower of Arius as bishop of Alexandria, but God disposed of everything to prove the truth.

It was at this time that Athanasius the Great returned from exile by order of the King. In his letter, the King informed the Catholic Church and the people of Alexandria that they probably understood why Athanasius the Great, the preacher of the truth of the Trinity, was hidden for a short time in the region of Uali. This was an expression of care – to protect him from the evil enemies fighting him. The King ordered Athanasius the Great to be the way, as he wanted because his “holy and decent virtues” resolved difficult cases easily by the grace of God. The King then reminded of the desire of his father, Constantine the Great, to return this “pious man” to his church, but he failed to do so due to his death. Therefore, the King was in a hurry to fulfil his father’s wish and see Athanasius as the bishop of his church. At the end of the letter, he asked the people of Alexandria to receive Athanasius with such honor, as he deserved, as a good shepherd to the spiritual flock of Christ.

Athanasius the Great returned from Rome to Alexandria with such a letter. The people accepted him with joy, while the followers of Arius were indignant and sought a reason to report him to the King. And they indeed found the reason: a severed hand that they brought to the King and told him that Athanasius was practicing magic with this hand. Again they demanded to expel him from the country. The King did not agree to the exile and sent his faithful table companion, Archelaos, to Tyre to investigate Eusebius’s accusation against Athanasius. According to supporters of Arius, Athanasius cut off the hand of Arsene, who was a psalm-reader of the church of Alexandria. He made a mistake, he did something bad and deserved to be punished, but Athanasius had hidden him it and survived. When he heard the news of the accusation, he immediately found Athanasius to refute this slander during the trial.

At the court, Athanasius asked the accusers if they were acquainted with Arsene. A few answered that they knew him. Then they called Arsene before the judges. He raised both hands and showed them to the judges. The jury realized that Athanasius was not guilty in this accusation, as in the previous one, in which a shameless woman accused Athanasius of abusing her at night, which another person present in the court immediately refuted.

Soon the judges left the court. The enraged petitioners got agitated and attacked Athanasius: some cursed him; others called him a liar and threatened him with death. Archelaos, loyal to the King, took Athanasius secretly away from that place and out of the city. He advised Athanasius to hide the fact that he was Athanasius in case the supporters of Arius would find him. After that, the opponents of Athanasius called the assembly again and wrote in the verdict that Athanasius had been condemned and escaped from the assembly. They reported everything to King Constantine.

The head of the city ordered to search for Athanasius, and to put to death those who had mercy on him. They sent this order to all cities and villages warning that in case of disobedience, Athanasius must be killed, and his head should be cut off and brought to him. Having heard of such an evil order, Athanasius ran away from all places.

One day he saw a waterless cave and spent six days in it. Then he had a dream that they would find this cave too. That is why he came out of the cave and hid in some other place, but fearing that the people who had helped him would be in danger because of him, he left the eastern region and went to the west. The King of this region, Costas, Constantine’s brother, had just received the Kingship, because King Constantine had been killed in a battle in the region of Aquileia, near the river Alysia.

Athanasius came to Rome and there he saw Paul, the bishop of Constantinople, who had been expelled from his residence. They told each other what had happened to them. Then they came to Julius, the archbishop of Rome, and reported everything. They also told everything about their ordeals to King Costas.

Having returned to Rome, Athanasius learned that, according to the council convened in Antioch, the righteous faith should be changed and George should take Athanasius’s position, which would be a great disaster for the nation. Athanasius received his letter of appointment as archbishop from the King and the bishop of Julius and returned to Alexandria. When they heard this, supporters of Arius gathered to kill Athanasius. Athanasius was forced to flee. When he saw that the opponents were catching up with him, he took off his priestly clothes and, by the grace of God, he saw a young woman with a pitcher full of water on her shoulder, and he said to her: “Give me that pitcher and go ahead of me to your house.” The woman was worried because she recognized Bishop Athanasius. Athanasius reassured her and told her that the supporters of Arius were following him and he will be able to hide and save himself with this appearance.

His pursuers caught up with him and went past him, unable to recognize him because of the change in his appearance: who would have thought that Athanasius was carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder and following a young woman. When they got home, Athanasius told everything to the woman and asked her not to tell anyone what she had found out. A truly faithful woman kept his instruction as a commandment of God. She wove baskets, took them to the city, sold them, and with the earned money she fed Athanasius, and every evening she washed his feet. Saint Athanasius prayed day and night, trained the woman, strengthened her fear of God, and made her so holy that she even performed miracles.

He spent eight years this way and thus escaped from the supporters of Arius. No one knew whom he was with. Who would have thought that Athanasius the Great found shelter at such a young woman’s house? When Constantine the King died, and Athanasius the Great heard of it, he came to Alexandria at night and entered the church; He entered the sanctuary every night and prayed there. One day, when the priests and people entered the church for the dawn prayer and saw Athanasius, they were greatly surprised that he had not died from the persecution of the followers of Arius. They saw him and thanked the Lord. There was great joy in the city because of his return – everyone ran to see the man of God. There is no need for eloquence here – neither the tongue nor the mind can adequately praise his patience!

After the death of the King, Ivlian took the reign. During his time, they persecuted not only Orthodox Christians but also all Christians. After some time, they had to fight with the Persians. King Ivlian came to the city of Antioch and massacred many Christians there. From there he set off to Persia. When taking part in the battle, he was shot with an arrow, and his wicked life ended. The Church of God gained peace after the persecution of the pagans was eradicated.

Soon Wallis regained the reign and inflicted a cruel winter on the Orthodox. Worse than the first time. He caused anxiety in the Churches of God, and the followers of Arius used the time to kill Athanasius. First, they taught the King the evil teachings of Arius, then they demanded from him the order to kill Athanasius. They said to him: “Do know this, as long as Athanasius lives, the faith of Arius will not be adopted.” Then the King wrote to the governor of Alexandria to adopt the faith of Arius everywhere. Those who did not accept must have been tortured and driven out of the country, also Athanasius should have been captured and sent out to him, and if he did not obey, he would be killed and his severed head would be sent to him.

Those sent by the King to Alexandria gave the chief this letter, and immediately, like wild beasts, they attacked the flock of Christ, scattered Christians, and began to search for Athanasius. A great tumult arose in the city, because the people opposed them, and made a great sacrifices for Athanasius.

When Athanasius heard this, he put on his work clothes, put on his hat, and thus passed through the city gate and went to the desert on the side of the Upper Thebaid, where five monks lived. Those monks were in great poverty and ate grass because of a strict fast, and had not seen a man for a long time. When they saw Athanasius, they considered him a ghost and did not open the door. Athanasius begged them to let him in and finally, he was forced to confess that he was Athanasius, whom the supporters of Arius were pursuing to kill.

Hearing this, the fire of love flared up in the hearts of the monks. They went outside and saw that it was really Athanasius the Great and they immediately fell at his feet. He made them stand up, blessed them, and told the story of the followers of Arius. He stayed with the monks for some time and strengthened their faith in Christ every day. The monks saw his various activities and said in amazement: “Is this Athanasius, or someone without flesh?” Because the activities fulfilled by Athanasius were beyond the nature of a carnal man. This is how Athanasius lived and worked in the cruel desert with the Thebaid men.

After a while, King Wallis met an end to his evil faith: defeated in battle, he hid in a castle, where his opponents set fire. That is how he was burnt and the persecution of unjust Arians in the churches of God ended.

Athanasius the Great learned of the end of Wallis by a divine dream. He told the monks and congratulated them on the establishment of peace in the churches. Then he begged them to send him to his church. The monks said goodbye to him and blessed him on his way to Alexandria. When the Alexandrians heard that Athanasius the Great was alive and was coming, met him with candles and palm branches at a distance of six million (9 km) from Alexandria. Athanasius the Great, who returned with glory to Alexandria, was brought into the church, the temple of God: there was great joy and gaiety of the Orthodox and eternal darkness among the followers of Arius. Holy and Godly Athanasius thus spent eight years in the temple, gathered the sheep scattered by the wild heretics (the beast Arians), and revived the flock of Christ.

And so, Athanasius the Great slept with the sleep of the righteous by Christ and obtained the Kingdom of Heaven for countless merits. We have to intercede with his flock to obtain the mercy of Christ, our Lord, on the terrible Day of Judgment, to whom be glory, strength, and power through the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!

In the month of January 1st, Reading about Life and Performing Miracles by Our Holy Father Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Narrated by Archbishop Amphilochius of Iconium

 

My beloved, the grief of those faithful over the leaving this world by their father is well known, and the shedding of tears, which we all have experienced in sorrow, is fair as well. When we parted from the darkness of mourning and rushed towards the true God – Christ, we began to appreciate more their lives that will never be forgotten. And Basil’s truly great miracles are narrated descriptively, lest the course makes them sink into the depths of oblivion. Since the deeds of the three all-holy God-fearing men, Grigol, adorned with theology, Grigol inhabitant of Nyssa, the city of everlasting remembrance, and the all-praised Ephraim, have been brilliantly described by other men; I also thought it necessary, though as a worse mediator, to complete the story of the wonderful men, as a faithful son who paid off his father’s debts; I described everything carefully and modestly because even a cloud knows how to cover the sun and the flow of time makes it easy to forget kind stories.

Famous throughout the country, Basil, our great teacher, who demolished the wickedness of the Arians and strengthened Orthodoxy with his wisdom, greatly shone out with his miracles, which he achieved through praying. He showed us the true nature and overthrew the apostate from the Trinity and shameless atheist – Julianne with prayer; he also sealed the mouth of Juvalent who scolded Christ and retaliated against unworthy Uvalius, who unjustly became the ruler and aid of Arians.

Now let us revert to the narrative begun above, and tell about Basil from his birth to his death. He is distinguished in this world with a wise and beautiful word and a brilliant life, who gave everything to Christ – soul, body, word and, like a spider’s web, swept away and destroyed the evil of the pagans.

His parents sent seven-year-old Basil to a school, where he spent 5 years, never tired of studying and acquiring the true knowledge of philosophers. He soon left the country, because he was a Cappadocian by origin, and went to Athens – the capital of the world, adorned with chastity, continuous fasting, and purity. There he became a disciple of the teacher, the philosopher of heathenism – Eubulus. 

He was engaged in his studies so much that he surprised both teachers and students. Gregory the Elder, who later became the bishop of Nazianzus and ruled the Apostolic Church for 12 years, studied with him, as well as Julianne, who was formerly a Christian, and Libanius. Basil was an amazing man who distinguished from them because he was determined not to partake of the bread and wine until he had learned the unspeakable wisdom commanded from above. He spent 15 years in studying. Basil thoroughly learned all the wisdom of paganism, such as astronomy and many others, but he could not find their creator.

One night he did not sleep and read various religious books; Suddenly a divine radiance shone on him. Soon he decided to go to Egypt. He went to an archimandrite, asked him for divine books, and enjoyed learning various doctrines. He stayed there for a year and faithfully studied the words of truth. Then he asked to go to Jerusalem to see the wonders there. 

Archimandrite blessed and allowed him to leave. When he returned, he went to a place where he had learned the wisdom of the pagans, and he convinced the philosophers who were pagans that the only way to salvation was accepting the teachings of Christ. Basil looked for his teacher Eubulus to requite his teaching and bring him to the unblemished faith of Christ. 

And he indeed found him in a town where he was with other philosophers. He let everyone go and stayed alone with Basil. They spent three days fasting, investigating each other’s affairs and views through question-and-answer. Finally, Basil said to Eubulus: “as best we can let us give knowledge to the uneducated, shelter – to the homeless, and clothes – to the naked.”

He said this and placed three planks of knowledge in front. The following was written on the first one – virtue-giving wisdom, courage, righteousness, purity; On the second – error, impatience, impurity, drunkenness, insolence, laziness, denunciation, foul language, and other such evil habits; On the third – a set of many virtues: repentance, fasting, sweetness, praise, shame, philanthropy… Basil told Eubulus that he saw all this and converted to Christianity, because truth itself and wisdom lead we forward on the path of eternal life, that is, salvation, as famous prophets teach us – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, King David, God’s servant Paul and the one who administers baptism. He searched for that sheep, which had gone away from his rich father’s bosom, lost all his property due to greed, and then returned exhausted with hunger. The father greeted him with love, dressed him in wonderful clothes, gave him a ring, conducted a great feast, and turned to his erring child not with anger, but forgiveness.

The Lord will so unsparingly exceed the doing of good and the right fee for those who are of the “eleventh hour” that he will have mercy on those who rejoice in water and spirit, and will grant them unseen and unheard joy.

After that, Eubulus’ mind was enlightened and he said to Basil: “Explainer of the Trinity of Heaven, with your help I now believe in one God, the Father of all, from whom I expect the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. And to prove my faith to you, I will give you my property and I will be with you until the end of my life. If it pleases God, let him grant me forgiveness with the Holy Spirit and water.”

Basil thanked the Lord, who enlightened the mind of Eubulus with true baptism, brought him out of the temptation of polytheism, and told him what kind of life they should live to be freed from the shackles of this world. They sold all their possessions, distributed the money to the peasants, and went to the holy city of Jerusalem to see the wonders.

On the way to Antioch, they turned and stopped at one of the stalls of foreigners, whose owner’s son, named Philosentos, was sitting in front of the main gates, very upset. He turned out to be a disciple of the philosopher Libanus, whom he had given the extracts from the text of Homer’s works in order him to alter them rhetorically, which the young man found very difficult. When Basil found out about the reason for his concern, he took extracts from the text and began to make them rhetorical. The young man was surprised by Basil’s wisdom, he was very happy and asked him to explain the words in writing. The next day he came to Libanus and brought the accomplished task. Libanus was surprised by the accuracy of the translation and told Philosentos that none of the wise men of the day could do it, and asked the young man about the man who had been able to convert the text. When he found out his whereabouts, he rushed to visit him. Libanus immediately recognized Basil and Eubulus, was glad to see them and invited them to his house. 

Libanus was interested in the depth of Basil’s knowledge – when he was saying a philosophical word, Basil was immediately responding to him with a word corresponding to faith. Amazed by his knowledge, Libanus asked Basil to talk to his disciples and, having received the permit, he brought his disciples to him. Basil began to teach them. He said to them: “it is necessary to keep the body clean and healthy, to walk calmly, to speak in a moderate voice, to speak appropriately, to eat and drink so that not to disturb others; When being with the elderly – to keep silent, to listen to wise men, and to obey to the elders; faithful love and understanding of peers and younger ones, refusal of cruel speech and conversation, prohibition of inappropriate conversation when being with women. Not to seek the honor of the doctrine, and not to seek honor from everyone. If one of them can help a neighbor, God will reward him.” 

Basil taught the disciples of Libanus in this way and set off with Eubulus on his way to Jerusalem. There they visited all places with faith and repaid their dues to God for everything. Along with this, many pagans were converted to Christianity. Finally, they came to the bishop of the city, Maximian, and begged for divine epiphany in the Jordan River. When Maximian saw the men full of faith, he fulfilled their request and went to the river accompanied by the believers. On the bank of the Jordan, Basil fell to the ground and begged in a loud voice to the Lord for a miracle. Then, shaking, he took off his clothes and went down to the river with a prayer. Maximian baptized him, and during the baptism, a fiery lightning suddenly appeared, a dove flew out of it, flew into the river, stirred up the water, and flew to heaven. The witnesses of this miracle praised God. Later, Basil called a goldsmith to make a dove out of gold, like the dove that appeared at his epiphany.

The bishop also baptized Eubulus, anointed both of them and gave them Holy Communion. He was greatly surprised by the depth of Basil’s faith. He blessed wise Basil with all his heart and stayed with him in Jerusalem for a whole year.

Having returned to Antioch, Basil was ordained a deacon by Bishop Meletius. Here he explained the parables of the gospel and became a man of wonder to everyone.

After some time, they went to Cappadocia. At the time of their entry into the city of Caesarea, the bishop of the city, Leontius, saw a dream of their coming. As soon as he woke up, he told the God-fearing priests about it and sent them to meet them at the eastern gate. The priests brought them to the bishop, who was amazed at their resemblance to the persons seen in the dream. Leontius asked them who they were, where they came from, and where they were going to, and he showed them an excellent place to rest. He then called the people of the city and told them about the dream he had seen. Everyone had the same idea – Basil would become the bishop of the city after Leontius.

On the fourth day, Leontius investigated Basil’s level of knowledge and was amazed by his wisdom and made Basil stand next to him during the service. After the death of Leontius, Basil was chosen by the bishops to lead the great Church of Caesarea, which Basil ruled with God’s providence and wisdom.

After some time, Basil asked God to give him the grace of wisdom and knowledge, and for the Holy Spirit to descend on him so that he could offer a bloodless sacrifice to God with his words. God heard his plea. On the seventh day, Basil began to recite the prayer for each hour of the day and night, and finally, he wrote the vespers with his hand.

That night, in his dream, Basil saw that the Lord ate the bread and drank wine on the altar with the apostles. He made Basil get up from his knees and said to him: “Let your mouth be filled with praise according to your request, so that you may offer a bloodless sacrifice to the Lord by your word.” Terrified Basil got up, he did not dare to look at him and began to speak and write on a piece of paper: “Fill our mouths with our praise, so that we may glorify you, Lord God, who created us and brought us into this world.” 

After the prayer, Basil with his hands raised offered praise to the Lord. And the community said in unison: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who glorifies God the Father, Amen!“ Basil divided the bread into three parts, ate one, kept the second to be buried with him, and put the third in a golden dove and hung it above the holy altar.

Eubulus, the priests, and the chief stood in front of the temple gate and watched the spiritual light in the temple – Basil standing in front; the great men and they heard the voice of the people praising the Lord. They were surprised at the sight, fell on the ground, and glorified Jesus Christ with tears.

Coming out of the temple, they worshiped Basil and told him that they had seen the glorious sight while he was in the temple. He rejoiced and gave thanks to the Lord. After that, many people gathered next to the church, among whom was the great figure, Ephraim. You will learn later how he became an eyewitness of God’s revelation.

Once, during the vespers, a Jew joined the Christians and received Communion from Basil. The next day he came to him and begged him to be baptized as a Christian. Basil did not reprimand him, because the Lord desires to save every man, and he baptized him. Soon the Jew’s family members were also baptized as Christians.

Leaving the church, Basil was met by a woman who asked to intercede with the chief to allocate money for her as a poor person. Basil took a piece of paper and wrote to the chief: “Some poor woman asked me if I could ask you to help her. If you can, fulfil her wish.” The woman took the letter and brought it to the chief. He read it and wrote the answer: “Holy Father, I wanted to forgive that woman, but I couldn’t, she has a debt to pay.” Basil again wrote a letter to him: “If you want and you can’t, that’s all right, but if you can and you don’t, God will punish you – when you want to help, you won’t be able to.” After a while, the King got angry with the chief and imprisoned him. Concerned, he asked for help from Basil – to warm the King’s heart with his prayer. He was released six days later. The chief thanked Basil for his kindness and gave the woman twice what he owed.

At that time, King Julianne, who was apostatized from Christianity, was preparing to conquer Persia. But first, he went to Caesarea, where Basil met him with the priests. The King said to him: “I have defeated you, Basil!” Basil answered: “Because you defeated me, oppressed me, accept a gift.” Basil gave the King three loaves of bread. The King put a slight upon the gift and ordered to give hay instead of bread. Basil accepted the gift and said: “We gave you what we eat, and you – that, what you eat.” Enraged, Julianne threatened to seize the pastures and destroy the city after returning from Persia. Basil asked the inhabitants to bring gold and silver to warm the heart of the King and thus save the city from destruction.

The residents obediently and diligently collected a considerable amount of jewels. At the call of Basil, they went up the nearby mountain, where the Cathedral of the Mother of God was built, and fervently prayed together with the priest for whole days to save their city from destruction. The prayer paid off. Events developed for good – King Julianne was killed by the order of the Mother of God. Before this happened, Basil had a dream of Saint Mercurius coming to him and giving him the Book of Genesis, which had an inscription that Basil had to read before the creation of man by God. Basil immediately went to the grave of Mercurius and saw that his armament, which had always been on the grave, was no longer there. He immediately realized that this fact and the vision he saw indicated something important – that very night Mercurius killed King Julianne, which was the result of Basil’s prayers to God.

Basil called the people over and told them to take back their possessions, but they refused, wishing to sacrifice everything to the Lord. He distributed a part to them, and with the rest, he adorned the church and decorated the altar with gold and precious stones. When he finished this work, pagan men came to him and told him that they could not fully believe in the power of Christ. Basil taught them, showed them the way to salvation, and baptized them. During the period of Lent, he completed the explanation of the “Hexaemeron (six days of creation)”, introduced his work to the people, and baptized many Jews and pagans as Christians. The others denounced Basil with the King and brought him to Antioch according to his order. The judge in the court asked him why he did not like the King’s religion. Basil fearlessly replied that he should not have to try to divert him from the true path, because he had learned from his fathers to support and glorify Christianity, and the death penalty would free him from the shackles of the body, which he longed for. 

The judge reported what he said to the King and described him as a fearless and wise man. The King decided to execute him, which the queen opposed. They had a sick son who was doomed to die, which the queen blamed on the King’s negative attitude to the faith in Christ. The King thought about the queen’s rebuke, called Basil over, and offered to believe in the power of Christ if his son was saved. Basil expelled the disease from his son in front of the King and healed him. The evil bishops could not bear the shame of defeat and persuaded the King to stick to his faith. The King believed them, and his son died immediately.

After the death of King Uvalius, King Juvalent was reported about Basil’s miracles. The King believed in Basil’s divine power and sent money and numerous necessary things. With this great gift, Basil built hospitals for the sick in the city and throughout the principality. When the King heard this, he provided the poor with food, and he paid great respect to Basil.

Helladius, a virtuous and benevolent man, an eyewitness of Basil’s amazing deeds, after his death told the author of the work the story of a prince named Proterius. He wanted to sacrifice his daughter to Christ and brought her to the great monastery of Caesarea to consecrate her as a monk. However, the enemy of the human race, the devil, interfered with this divine plan and inspired a youth by the woman’s love. To achieve his goal, he was required to renounce Christianity in writing. He agreed and gave the Lord of demons a handwritten letter of renouncement.

With the help of the devil of fornication, the woman was also instilled with love for that young man, and she refused her father to become a nun, telling him that if the father did not agree, she would soon see her dead. The desperate chief was forced to comply with his daughter’s insistence and the marriage took place. After a short time, the woman was told that her husband is not a Christian, neither goes to church nor prays. The woman was filled with pain, lamenting and cursing her birthday. When she regained consciousness, she went to Basil and begged for help. 

The latter summoned her husband and asked to tell the story of his marriage in detail. The boy told him how he was forced to write a handwritten letter renouncing Christianity, which made it difficult for him to be freed from the captivity of the devils. Basil comforted him, placed him in a sheltered place in the temple yard, and made him fast for 40 days. And then he led him with the congregation into the church singing psalms and hymns. Basil asked the congregation to pray for the young man and then hold their hands up so that God would hear their prayers.

A few hours later, the young man’s handwriting fell from the sky and fell on Basil’s hand. The young man recognized his handwriting and tore it into pieces. Basil arranged a great feast to celebrate the victory; He gave the young man Holy Communion, taught him how to behave, and handed him over to his wife. After these miracles, everyone rejoiced, praised, and glorified the Lord. Amen!

In the month of June, on the 8th, the martyrdom of Saint and Glorious Theodore the Stratelates

 

As the sun sheds light on those who gaze upon it, so the story of the torture of the martyr fills the listeners with light; As the stars adorn the sky and the flowers beautify the valleys and fields, so the martyrs shine and light up the holy churches.

Recalling the martyrs is forgiveness for sinners, a cure for the sick, and a source of health and peace; The merits of the martyrs are great and the crowns are brilliant because they had sacrificed their bodies to torture for the love of Christ; They considered the glory and luxury of this country to be trash; They fearlessly recognized Christ as God in front of kings and vicegerents and preferred martyrdom to denying Him. Instead, the Lord established a kingdom of heaven for them as well as joint mirth with the sister of the angels.

The original enemy of our race created obstacles for the martyrs on the way to salvation, but in vain, and on the whole, revealed them as the inhabitants of heaven. That is why the evil did not cease the incitement of those fighting against the Church of Christ, and now, that beast, infidel Licinius, the husband of the sister of Constantine the Great, enraged at the flock of Christ rose against us.

When the Lord destroyed the Roman king Maxentius, who was fighting against the pious king Constantine and approved Constantine as king, this latter appointed his brother-in-law (sister’s husband) Licinius as the king of the eastern part, in order him to expel the enemy who had apostatized from Christianity. King Maximinus was wounded by the heavenly sword and suffered greatly – his body became food for worms, and finally, he gave up his sinful soul after suffering from a lot of pain and recognized the slaughter of Christians.

Licinius, who arrived in the city of Nicomedia with power and glory, gave the Christians a little time, and then showed his impure heart, broke the oath and promise given to Constantine – to support firmly the Christian faith and strengthen it in the eastern region, and ordered that idols be glorified in all cities and villages. Those who would not obey his order must have been put to death.

Irreligious Licinius killed 40 holy horsemen, 70 commanders in chief, and 300 Macedonian horsemen with the aid of his impure rulers – Lucia and Agriсo Laozis. This infidel man made them kill the archbishop Basileus of Amasia – “a man resembling the apostles.”

When Licinius saw that there was a great number of Christians who did not follow his command and sacrificed themselves for Jesus Christ, he decided to turn the noble rulers into pagans first who would be also followed by their servants.

At that time, a good-looking, eloquent and wise commander-in-chief, that is the army chief, Theodore, ruled in the eastern region. Among the people, he was known as a “source of wisdom” because, in spite of his young age, he had a great experience in divine work. Theodore was also famous for having killed a terrible whale, which was living in Eukhania, and devoured everyone it met on the way and who arrived there. As he came out of his den, the ground shook and no one could withstand it.

When Theodore heard about the evil beast, he decided to kill it. He did not reveal his decision to anyone, not even to his warriors, he avoided their excitement, and took no one with him. On horseback, he had only the cross of Christ and his armament with him. He directed towards Eukhania, and since he did not know the exact place of the beast’s residence, he let the horse graze on a green field, and he lay down and slept. Soon, a woman servant of Christ, Eusebia, woke him up and told him that this was a dangerous place because the whale that Theodore was looking for lived nearby. He asked the woman to leave this place and pray for him. Then he raised his hands to heaven and asked the Lord for help in killing the terrible beast. Arriving at the whale’s den, he commanded him in the name of the Lord to come out to him; the whale obeyed. At that time, boulders began to split and trees – shake. Theodore once again asked the Lord for help, crossed himself, crossed the horse, and attacked the whale with a halberd; As soon as the weapon hit his head hard, the beast writhed terribly and fell to the ground lifeless. Happy Theodore thanked the Lord and went to his principality – Herakleia Pontika.

The news of the slaying of the terrible beast spread throughout the country, due to which many pagans became Christians – they were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Licinius also learned of Theodore’s bravery and sent an epistle via the apostles asking to visit him in Nicomedia.

Theodore received the apostles with honor, entertained them greatly for three days, and read the epistle. Theodore did not like the request of King Licinius, to accompany him to Nicomedia, because he wanted to adorn his homeland with his martyr death. He wrote a reply to Licinius, whom he called a “Victorious King” and considered his decision – to solve the secret cases together – a wise proposal; At the same time, he explained that due to urgent matters, which should not have been mentioned in the letter, he was constrained not to accompany the king and invited Licinius to visit him. 

Licinius accepted Theodore’s invitation, because he respected him and wanted to see his city, and he went to Herakleia accompanied by horsemen. Theodore was the son of Christian parents, brought up in the service of God from childhood, and greatly desired to become a martyr so that his desire should also be the will of Christ. After sending the epistle to Licinius, he wept all night and begged the Lord for help in the martyr’s death. He had a suitable occasion to achieve this – confrontation with Licinius. After the prayer, while asleep, he saw a vision – the light from above shining onto his house split in two, and the Lord’s words were heard from heaven: “Be strong, Theodore, I am with you!” The frightened but happy Theodore thanked God.

When Theodore was notified about the approach of Licinius, he entered the house, put on fine clothes, and rode to meet him. Licinius greeted Theodore with love and respect, marveling, as did everyone else, at the beauty, kindness, and brilliance of Theodore. Together they entered the city, where Licinius made a speech, delivered a eulogy on the city, and its population, and highly praised Theodore as a wonderful, brave and wise ruler, about whom the amazing news he had heard seemed nothing compared to what he had seen. In this way, he praised and kissed Theodore, and then he suggested massing the idols together. Theodore asked to be allowed to pray first to the gods separately and then sacrifice.

Licinius agreed to Theodore’s request, allowing him to take the idols made of gold and silver, saying: Let it be as you wish and pray for me as well. Theodore gave the idols to his servants, ordering them to break the idols into pieces in his house and distribute them to the peasants.

After two days, Licinius asked Theodore to bring the idols to sacrifice to them together with the people. Theodore noted: if they are real gods, they will come themselves. Licinius replied that their duty was to serve idols, to which Theodore replied: They serve neither themselves nor others. Licinius did not hesitate to answer: it is not our job to consider this issue, we should do what is written. Theodore smiled and fell silent. To Licinius’ question of why Theodore was silent, he answered again with silence. Licinius asked the people why their ruler was silent. Surprised people stared at Theodore without saying a word. Then a centurion named Maxentius came out and told the king everything that Theodore had done. Distraught and enraged, Licinius lamented: “What do I hear, where are the gods I gave you!? Did you make a sacrifice as you promised me?” 

Theodore realized that it was no longer the time to cover up, but the time had come to confess the truth, and he told everything to Licinius that he had not offered sacrifices to idols and never would because he was aware from the very beginning of their nothingness and impotence; By breaking and smashing them and distributing them to the peasants, he turned the barren idols into useful ones. He added that he felt pity for the imprudent servants of the idols, and above all King Licinius, the leader of the evil traitors. “Do not be mistaken, king, do not serve the devils – he addressed the king, – cognize the true God, as the great Constantine did; God gave birth to you and made you a king at the behest of God; It’s a shame that you serve soulless idols that have no power and can’t even punish the ones who curse them, such as me…”.

Insulted and enraged Licinius interrupted Theodore and ordered to strip him of the honor of the lordship, undress him, whip him bitterly, and break his neck with a lead military hammer. Licinius encouraged the centurions to torture Theodore even more, and they also beat him with all their might, severely torturing him so that a river of blood flowed from the pierced and torn body, while Theodore stood like an unshakable fortress on the rock of faith, singing to the angels and thanking the Lord. Licinius laughed at the patience of the martyr and, seeing that he was alive, made the methods of torture more severe. He ordered to place pointed sharpened stones on the ground and drag and beat Theodore to death. Theodore neither groaned nor moaned; he submissively endured great torment and kept his life cooled by dews that appeared secretly under the fate of the Holy Spirit.

Licinius and one of his subordinates again advised Theodore to change his mind and that the torture would stop, but the latter refused, telling Licinius that the torture made him much stronger.

At dusk, tired executioners stopped torturing him and threw him into the dungeon by the order of Licinius. Even here, the evil Licinius did not stop and assigned men to make Theodore repudiate Christ God, but in vain.

Five days later, Licinius asked about the martyr and ordered to nail Theodore to the cross, which they erected in the place called the Basilike. Even this was not enough, at the order of Licinius, they pierced his naked body with arrows, and to inflict more pain, they pulled arrows from the wounds and stabbed into open sores several times. Enraged by Theodore’s patience, Licinius ordered them to invent a new torture to break his steadfastness. And they did so: they tore off the epigonation from the waist and stuck a sharp iron nail into the phallus, and they repeated this process many times. They were not ashamed and did not feel sorry for the torture! Tormented by unbearable pain, Theodore cried out to the Lord to end his earthly life and give him rest. Then he became silent and called out to the Lord with his mind. The silence was considered by the executioners to be the end of him; they stopped torturing him, left him nailed to the cross and beaten, and went away.

Then divine grace descended on Theodore from above and a joyous voice was heard: “Rejoice, brave knight of Christ! You have glorified crucified Christ by your martyrdom, you deserve the crown of righteousness, eternal life, and joy.”

As soon as Theodore heard these words, all pain was gone and he became completely healthy and unharmed, he was freed from the cross, and filled with joy and happiness he stood on the ground and thanked the Lord.

Early in the morning, Licinius sent the two horsemen, Antiochus and Patrick, to bring Theodore’s corpse dragging on the ground, to put it in a lead chess and throw it into the middle of the sea, hidden from the Christians. They came to the cross and did not find Theodore’s body and concluded that Christians stole him. They looked around and saw Theodore standing and praying; He turned to them with a cheerful face and told them that the Lord Christ raised him from the dead and if they believed in the true God, they would see greater miracles. As soon as Theodore crossed the riders, their minds opened and they immediately came to believe in Christ and asked Theodore to help them with strengthening their faith. Happy Theodore kissed the riders and assured them that the true God was with them and that their candles were burning. He thanked Christ that the Christianization of the equestrians was fulfilled by the miracle performed on him.

When this news became public, 85 chosen men came to Theodore, listened to his suggestion about Christ, and joyfully became Christians. When Licinius heard this, he sent a noble patrician, Kesto, with equestrians to punish them. Upon seeing Theodore, the divine light shone in Kesto’s heart and he immediately believed in Christ, along with his riders. They began calling out loudly: “Great is the God of Christians, the Creator of all, we believe only in Him.”

Enraged, Licinius now sent a large force to punish Kesto. One of the horsemen was going to kill Theodore, Kesto noticed this, outstripped him, and killed him. A pagan horseman saw this and killed Kesto, who became a martyr because of such death. The killing of Kesto caused grief to the newly converted Christians – they were ready to kill all the pagan equestrians, but Theodore stopped them and explained to them that evil cannot be destroyed by evil, and advised them to stop fighting and sacrifice themselves for the faith of Christ. The riders believed in Theodore and died as Christians.

Licinius understood that the number of Christians was increasing and the number of pagans was decreasing due to Theodore’s efforts, and he sent his several guarding horsemen to kill Theodore. The Christians did not even let them come close to Theodore and were ready to sacrifice themselves for him. Then Theodore besought them not to hinder the horsemen from the execution of martyrdom, which he had long desired; He then blessed them and advised them to adhere to the teachings of Christ to the end – not to be afraid of suffering and torture, because the goal – eternal life, is superior to everything, and to the infidels, who have not yet “put off the clothes of paganism”, he wished to convert to Christianity, to preach peace, purity, love, and mercy to the poor.

Finally, Theodore called the servants and announced his will – to distribute all his property to widows and peasants, and to bury his body in his estate, in Eukhaina. After the testament, Theodore raised his hands to the sky, offered thanks to the Lord, and bowed in front of the executioner. The latter cut off the head and gave the body to his servants.

This is how the Glorious Stratelates Theodore died on June 8, in praise of the great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, honor, and worship with the Almighty Father and the Living Spirit, now and forever and for all time, Amen.

[Febronia’s Martyrdom]

 

… For the purpose to torment the Christians, some were set on fire, some were killed with swords, and their flesh was fed to the beasts. Fear and dread came upon the eastern region from the wickedness of the implacable Selinus, because he was the enemy of the Christians and a wild beast. 

Lysimachus was the son of a Christian mother and he showed mercy to Christians. That is why at night he called out Primus Coms and said: “You know, Primus, that my father was a pagan and died in slavery to idols. My mother was a Christian and she wanted me to become a Christian too, but because of the king’s fear and my father’s veneration, she could not fulfil her will. She often talked to me about Christ, and admonished me never to torture Christians and to hurry to become a Christian. Now I see how mercilessly my infidel uncle (father’s brother) massacres Christians, and it hurts my soul. I want you to secretly help the Christians as much as you can so that they don’t die at the hands of my uncle.”

When Primus heard this, he stopped arresting Christians and warned the monasteries and churches to flee from the wrath of Selinus. The inhabitants went to Mesopotamia, which is the interfluve, and reached the city of Nisibis, which is located on the border of Assyria (Syria) and Greece. 

In this city, there was a nunnery, in which nuns – monastic (nun) women, fifty in number, resided. Mother Bryaena, who was a disciple of mother deacon Platonia, was the abbess. Platonia was the abbess before Bryaena, who had mastered Platonia’s rules and laws of monastery management. 

On Fridays, the nuns of the monastery were free from work; they used to gather in the church and sometimes chant and sometimes listen to the holy books, which the mother deacon read to them (after the death of Platonia, Bryaena enforced her rules).

Bryaena kindly raised two maidens – Procla and Febronia, whom she trained in all manners of work. Procla was twenty-five years old, and Febronia was twenty. Febronia was Bryaena’s niece, so beautiful in appearance that no other woman had a face like hers. She was tall in stature, and so delightful that no one could be better. It took Bryaena, observing her outward beauty, a great deal of work and care to keep Febronia pure and holy.

The inhabitants of the monastery took food in the evenings, and Febronia, according to Bryaena’s instruction – once in two days, and took care not to be stuffed with bread or water. She asked for a small chair for herself, long as her cubit (from the fingers to the elbow) and wide as half of her hand, and she used to lie down on it to rest. Sometimes she would lie down on the dry ground to torture her body while sleeping. 

When she saw in her night dreams the temptation of the devil coming upon her, she would immediately get up, beseech God with tears to avert the temptation, and open the book and study the divine works, for she was fond of learning. She became so well educated that even Bryaena was surprised. 

From now on, Febronia was reading books to the monks and nuns on Fridays. When the city’s maids of honor also began to come to the monastery to listen to her, Bryaena ordered her to sit behind a curtain so that she could not see the face of either a man or a secular woman. The name of Febronia – a kind and useful adviser – became famous throughout the city, while she was tranquil and humble to the local monks and nuns.

One pagan maid of honor, Hieria, heard of Febronia and she wanted to see and listen to her. Hieria had spent six months in her husband’s house, after which she became a widow and returned to her parents’ house, who were pagans. 

Hieria arrived at the monastery and fell at Bryaena’s feet, begging her to let her get to know Febronia, because she wanted to become a Christian, to follow their path, and to know what awaits a Christian at the end of life. She begged to be freed from the vanities of this world and the vanities of idols and to be protected from her parents, who promised to make her marry for the second time.

Bryaena had great pity looking at the weeping woman and told her that she had raised Febronia since she was two years old and that in twenty years she had not seen the face of a man or a secular woman; Even her mother had not seen Febronia’s face, although she had asked about it many times. 

“For the desire, you have for Christ, I will allow you to see her on the condition that you appear to her as a nun”, – Bryaena told her and took Hieria to see Febronia, who thought the guest was a foreign nun. They kissed each other and, at Bryaena’s command, Febronia began to read the holy books. 

Hieria was so captivated by Febronia’s reading that they spent the whole night reading and listening and shed many tears. At dawn, they barely persuaded Hieria to return home. Hieria convinced her parents to accept Christianity through the grace of God, and all three received holy conversion and were freed from slavery to idols. 

After some time, Febronia got sick and was close to death. When Hieria found out about this, she came to her to take care and did not leave her for a moment. Hieria made recovered Febronia sit down on the chair, she sat in front of her and served with love and devotion.

A rumor spread through the city that Selinus and Lysimachus were going to attack the Christians of the city of Nisibis. That is why the priests, monks, and laymen living there abandoned their residences. Even the bishop himself went into hiding for fear of torture. When the nuns found out about this, they asked Bryaena to let them leave the city to save themselves. 

Bryaena addressed them: “You haven’t seen a fight yet and are already preparing to run away? No, my children, no, let us stand up for Christ, who felt the taste of death for us so that we might be saved.” 

Hearing this, everyone became silent. Only one – Etheria said that she was doing it for the abbess Febronia, she wanted her to die as a martyr.

In those days, one of the riders came to Selinus and told him that there was a beautiful nun in the nunnery, who, according to Primus Coms, would be a great match for Lysimachus. When Selinus heard this, he immediately sent horsemen to prevent nuns from sneaking out of the monastery, for he decided to judge the beautiful Febronia publicly in the square, in the presence of the people. A large number of people gathered not only from the city but also from the surrounding areas to watch Febronia’s trial. 

At dawn, horsemen came to the nunnery, dropped the sleeping Febronia from the chair, put a chain on her neck, and took her out of the monastery. Bryaena and Thomaida tearfully begged the riders to take them with Febronia and give them time to talk to her. 

The riders felt sorry for them and were allowed only to speak but refused to take them with Febronia. Bryaena began to admonish: “My child, you are going to be tortured, be careful, because the Lord and Bridegroom of heaven see your patience, and the angels hold the crown of power in their hands. Do not be afraid, and do not spare your body for torture, because whether we like it or not, it will go to the grave and turn into dust. I am here, mourning and waiting for news – bad or good. I am begging you, my child, tell me good news, let someone tell me that Febronia sacrificed herself for Christ or that Febronia died and joined the martyrs.”

Febronia answered: “I believe, my mother, as I have never overstepped your word, I will not go beyond your command now, as well.” Let the people see, marvel, and say: “This seedling is of great Bryaena.” And let me show a brave mind with Christ’s help. Pray for me and send me with a blessing.” Then Bryaena cried out to the Lord with her hands raised to heaven: “Jesus Christ, help Febronia, as you appeared to Tekla in the form of Paul.” Having said this, Bryaena caressed Febronia and sent her to be tortured, and she entered the church, fell, and prayed to God with tears for Febronia. Thomaida and monks and nuns also cried and ran to watch Febronia’s trial.

Maiden of honor, Hieria, also heard the news of Febronia’s trial and cried out with such a loud voice that all those who heard it were surprised and asked her what had happened. The weeping Hieria kept repeating: “My sister Febronia, my teacher, is being taken to torture.” She begged her parents to go to encourage her. Hieria took the soldiers and the slaves and went to the place of trial. On the way, she caught up with Thomaida, recognized her, and both of them came to the square where the trial was to take place.

When many people had gathered in the square, the judges, Lysimachus and Selinus, came out, and the proceedings began. They ordered to bring Febronia in who had tied hands and a chain around her neck. Everyone was saddened to see that and shed tears. Selinus told Lysimachus to question Febronia. The first question was: “Woman, tell me, are you a slave or free?” She answered: “I am a slave.” Question: “Whose slave are you?” Answer: “Christ’s, who was incarnated for our salvation.” Question: “What is your name?” Answer: “I am a humble Christian! My carnal name is “Febronia.” 

Then Selinus stopped Lysimachus and began to speak to Febronia himself: “The gods know, I did not want to make you worthy to speak to me, but the calmness of your face and the beauty of your appearance have cooled my anger, so I will address you not as a person to be punished, but as my daughter. I beg you, listen to me, my child. The gods know that we have engaged Lysimachus with the daughter of chief Prosphorus at a great price. We will break this agreement and make a promise to you that you become the wife of Lysimachus, at whose right hand I sit, and who is handsome like you. Hear my, your brother’s, intention and be in this glorious land. Do not be afraid of your poverty, for I have neither wife nor children, and I want to grant you all my property, make you queen of all, and let it be your dowry, and you the wife of Lysimachus. All the women will envy you, and the King will rejoice and give you the highest honor, because he promised to place Lysimachus in the episcopal seat, which is the highest of all. Behold, I have told you everything to please my soul, and if you do not take into account my admonition, you will not survive even three hours in my hands.” 

Febronia answered: “Judge, listen to my words: I have a bridal chamber in the heaven and an incorruptible jewel for a dowry. I have been promised the kingdom of heaven, and the bridegroom is the immortal ruler and the begetter of everything. Is it possible to deny it and get engaged to a mortal and corruptible man? Therefore, I say to you, judge, do not get tired, because you can neither attract me with sweet words nor scare me with threats.”

Hearing this, enraged Selinus ordered the tormentors to tear off Febron’s clothes, dress her in rags, and put her in such a shameful position in front of the people that she would mourn her fate – instead of being honored, she put herself in such an insulting situation. After the fulfilment of the order, Selinus told Febronia with sarcasm that she got herself into trouble. Febronia replied that she does not consider it a great shame to be naked, because the creator of man and woman is one, and that she expects not only nakedness but also torture by sword and fire from the tormentors. After these words, Selinus called Febronia shameless and unworthy, who likes to stand naked in front of people because of her good body.

Febronia answered him that she had not seen a man’s face, and when she saw him in the form of Selinus, he insulted her shamelessly. Then she reminded him of an experienced wrestler who wrestles naked with his opponent until victory because it is not the clothes that bear the burden of enduring sufferings and tortures, but the body. And the naked Febronia is also ready to defeat the devils and receive the crown of victory.

Selinus ordered to lay Febronia down, to light a fire from below, and to beat her with sticks. The tormentors obeyed the order, and as they beat, they poured oil on the fire to flare it up. Blood flowed from Febronia’s body and the distressed people begged Selinus to stop. He became even angrier and urged the tormentors to embitter the tortured. Seeing this, Thomaida’s heart sank and she fell to the ground, while Hieria cried loudly that she had lost her teacher, Febronia.

Febronia heard Hieria’s voice, opened her eyes, and asked the riders to sprinkle water on her mouth, after which she came to her senses. The ruler ordered them to raise Febronia to her feet and place her before him. When they brought her in front of him, he asked her with sarcasm what she thought of the first battle. Febronia replied that he should have realized that with the help of Christ, Febronia was invincible and she does not mind the suffering caused by him.

Selinus ordered Febronia to be hanged by the breast and her sides scraped to the bones with a scraper, and then to sear what was left of the flesh with lighted oil lamps. The order of the despot was quickly fulfilled. Febronia raised her eyes to heaven and asked the Lord for help, and then she fell silent because she had no strength to speak. People were stunned by her suffering, many could not bear such a sight and left the place of torture. Infidel Selinus mockingly asked Febronia again: “What do you say now, Febronia?” and she could not answer. Selinus ordered the healer to cut out the tongue of the tortured and throw it into the fire because she would not answer him. 

Hearing this, Febronia stuck out her tongue and showed it to the healer to cut it off. This was when the people began to speak, adjuring the despot not to do this. Then Selinus ordered them to pull her teeth out. The healer was taking out the teeth and throwing them onto the ground, and blood was flowing from Febronia’s mouth. After removing seventeen teeth, Selinus calmed down, and the healer stopped the blood flow with medicine because Febronia fainted.

Selinus again repeated the question: “What do you say now, will not you recognize our gods?” Febronia replied that she longs for the “wicked monk” to accomplish the torture with her death in order not to prevent Febronia from going to the immortal bridegroom. “Hurry up and take my soul from my body, for my Lord is waiting for me”, – she repeated. And she received an answer that Selinus gradually… with a sword and …