December 13
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December 13 

Nativity Fast

Repose of Ven. Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America(1837). Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes, at Sebaste (4th c.). Virgin Martyr Lucia (Lucy) of Syracuse (304). Ven. Arkády (Arcadius) of Novotorsk (11th c.). Ven. Mardárii (Mardarius), Recluse, of the Kiev Caves (Far Caves—13th c.). Ven. Arsenius of Latros (8th-9th c.). Ven. Nicodemus (Romanian).

SAINTS AUXENTIUS, EUSTRATIUS, EUGENE, MARDARIUS, AND ORESTES

December 13

Saint Auxentius was one of the Five Companions who suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia. Saints Eustratius, Mardarius, Eugene, and Orestes were the other four.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was Saint Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. He was beheaded.

The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes (the Five Companions) suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was Saint Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. One of those who witnessed the steadfastness of the Christians was the noble military commander Saint Eustratius, the city prefect of Satalios, and archivist of the province. He was secretly a Christian, and when he openly confessed his faith, he was subjected to torture. They beat him, and put iron sandals studded with sharp nails on his feet, then forced him to march to the city of Arabrak.

Witnessing the arrival of Saint Eustratius in Arabrak, one of the common people, Saint Mardarius, confessed that he was also a Christian like Saint Eustratius. He was arrested and cast into prison. Holes were drilled in his ankles, and ropes were passed them. He was suspended upside down, then heated nails were hammered into his body. He died a short time later. To him is attributed the prayer “O Master Lord God, Father Almighty …” (which is read at the end of the Third Hour).

As for Saint Eugene, they ripped out his tongue, they cut off his hands and feet, and then they beheaded him with a sword. Saint Auxentius was also arrested and beheaded. The young soldier Saint Orestes confessed himself a Christian and stood trial for this “crime.” He was sentenced to be stretched out upon a red-hot iron bed, and became frightened when he approached it. Encouraged by Saint Eustratius, he made the Sign of the Cross and got onto the heated bed, where he surrendered his soul to God.

Saint Eustratius was sentenced to be burned alive on December 13. As he was being led to his death, he prayed aloud (“I magnify Thee exceedingly, O Lord, for Thou hast regarded my lowliness…”). This prayer is still read at the Saturday Midnight Office.

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion  of the saint, tone 2

Thou shonest as a most brilliant light for them that sat in the darkness of ignorance, O prizewinner. And armed with faith as with a spear, thou wast not frightened by the audacity of thine adversaries, O Eustratius, most eloquent of orators.

Hebrews 7:1-6 (Epistle)

1
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
2
to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”
3
without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
4
Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.
5
And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham;
6
but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

Mark 9:10-16 (Gospel)

10
So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.
11
And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
12
Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?
13
But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.”
14
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.
15
Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
16
And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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