The Holy Martyr Arethas
This holy martyr suffered for the Christian Faith with over four thousand Christians-priests, monks and nuns, men, women and children.
Arethas was the eparch in the town of Nagran, in the southern Arabian
land of Omir. He was ninety-five years old when he suffered. Dunaan, a cruel Jewish persecutor of Christians, then governed Omir. Determined to eradicate all Christians from his land, he surrounded the Christian town of Nagran, and sent a message to the people saying he would put them all to death unless they renounced Christ. The citizens closed the gates, and Dunaan attacked the city wall for a long time without success.
Then the iniquitous governor swore to the citizens that he would do nothing
to them, if only they would open the gate for him to enter and receive the tribute that they owed him-and that he would take it and immediately withdraw. The Christians believed him and opened the gate. Then the oath-breaking Jew summoned the aged Arethas, the clergy and other distinguished citizens and
beheaded them all with the sword. He then perpetrated a horrible slaughter in the town.
Learning of this, the Byzantine Emperor Justin was greatly grieved, and wrote a letter to the Ethiopian Emperor, Elesbaan, requesting him to set out with an army against Dunaan to avenge the innocent blood of the Christians. Elesbaan obeyed Justin, attacked the governor of Omir with his army, defeated him, slew his entire army, and beheaded him.
By a revelation from God, a certain devout man named Abramius was installed as governor of Omir, and again by God’s revelation, St. Gregory of Omir (December 19)
was installed as archbishop. Christians rebuilt the Church of the Holy Trinity in Nagran that Dunaan had burned, and also built a church to the Holy Martyr Arethas and the other martyrs of Nagran. St. Arethas and the others suffered and received martyr’s wreaths from the Lord in the year 523.
Prologue of Ochrid
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
The resplendent festival of the prizewinners on this day is come to us as an occasion to rejoice; and as we keep it, we glorify our Lord, the God over all, Who doth dwell on high.
Hymns used with permission, all rights reserved: © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA