Martyrs of Persia: Akindinos, Pegasias,
Anempodistos, Elpidophoros and Afthonios
Commemorated on November 2 (Julian
Calendar)

Icon of the saint of the day.
The holy and glorious
martyrs, Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodistos, Elpidophoros
and Afthonios, were courtiers of the Persian emperor Sapor II
(310-381). At that time there were many Christians in Persia. When
the emperor started his persecution against Christians, envious
pagans denounced the blessed Saints who were actively instructing
their brothers and sisters in Christ to remain steadfast in the
Faith. Summoned to the emperor for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly
confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The emperor gave orders to
beat them with whips. Twice the exhausted executioners switched
places, but the holy martyrs let out neither a cry nor a groan. Even
the emperor could not endure the strain and he lost consciousness.
Everyone thought him dead. But the saints appealed to God, and the
emperor came to himself. And having recovered, Sapor accused the
saints of sorcery. Saint Akyndinos answered the Emperor and told him
that it was our Lord that gave them the strength to endure. The
emperor gave orders to place the holy martyrs on iron beds and to
build a fire ubder the beds. By the prayers of the saints the fire
was extinguished, and the ropes binding them fell off. Blinded by
rage, the emperor began to blaspheme the Name of the Lord. Then the
saints exclaimed: Let thy mouth be speechless. The
emperor lost his voice. Having gone mad with terror and rage, he
tried with gestures to give the order to take away the holy martyrs
to prison. Those round about were not able to understand him, and he
began to go into an even greater rage: madly plucking off his mantle,
he tore at his hair and beat himself upon the face. Saint Akindinos
took pity on him and in the Name of the Lord delivered him from the
speechlessness. The emperor continued to believe that the martyrs
were sorcerers and he continued the torture of the saints. Beholding
the miracles accomplished through the prayers of the holy martyrs,
many people believed in Christ and confessed their faith. The saints
glorified God and called on those who believed to accept Baptism by
the rain sent down upon them.

One of the
executioners, Afthonios, believed in our Lord and asked forgiveness
of the holy martyrs for causing them suffering, and became the first
to martyr for Christ. The dignitary Elpidiphoros and even the mother
of the emperor confessed their faith in the One True God. The emperor
saw how much the number of Christians was increased and how the
torturing of Saints Akindinos, Pegasias and Anempodistos actually
encouraged the Christian faith. He declared to the people that the
holy Martyrs Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodistos and Elpidiphoros with
them would have their heads cut off, and that their bodies could not
be taken by Christians for burial. When they led the holy martyrs
beyond the city walls for execution, a tremendous crowd accompanied
them, glorifying Christ. By order of the emperor, soldiers massacred
all the Christians (about 7,000) in the procession. Together with the
others also was killed Elpidiphoros.

The holy Martyrs,
Akindinos, Pegasias, and Anempodistos together with the mother of the
emperor were burnt on the following day. Christians, coming secretly
by night to the place of the execution of the saints, found the
bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by the fire and with reverence
they buried them.

The memory of these holy
martyrs of persia is celebrated throughout the world. It is
noteworthy that the faithful of Mytilene, Greece have erected five
Churches on this small island to honour the Holy Martyrs.

Through the prayers of
these Holy Martyrs of Persia, may we remain steadfast in our Faith.

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