Day of the Holy Spirit
Martyrs Manuel, Sabel, and Ismael, of Persia (362).
SAINTS MANUEL, SABEL, and ISMAEL
The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael, brothers by birth, were descended from an illustrious Persian family. Their father was a pagan, but their mother was a Christian, who baptized the children and raised them with firm faith in Christ the Savior.
When they reached adulthood, the brothers entered military service. Speaking on behalf of the Persian emperor Alamundar, they were his emissaries in concluding a peace treaty with the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian received them with due honor and showed them his favor. But when the brothers refused to take part in a pagan sacrifice, Julian became angry. He annulled the treaty and incarcerated the ambassadors of a foreign country like common criminals.
At the interrogation he told them that if they scorned the gods he worshipped, it would be impossible to reach any peace or accord between the two sides. The holy brothers answered that they were sent as emissaries of their emperor on matters of state, and not to argue about “gods.” Seeing their firmness of faith, the emperor ordered the brothers to be tortured.
They beat the holy martyrs, then nailed their hands and feet to trees. Later, they drove iron spikes into their heads, and wedged sharp splinters under their fingernails and toenails. During this time of torment the saints glorified God and prayed as if they did not feel the tortures.
Finally, the holy martyrs were beheaded. Julian ordered their bodies to be burned, and suddenly there was an earthquake. The ground opened up and the bodies of the holy martyrs disappeared into the abyss. After two days of fervent prayer by the Christians, the earth returned the bodies of the holy brothers, from which a sweet fragrance issued forth. Many pagans, witnessing the miracle, came to believe in Christ and were baptized.
Christians reverently buried the bodies of the holy martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael in the year 362. Since that time the relics of the holy passion-bearers have been glorified with miracles.
When he heard about the murder of his emissaries, and that Julian was marching against him with a vast army, the Persian emperor Alamundar mustered his army and started off toward the border of his domain. The Persians vanquished the Greeks in a great battle, and Julian the Apostate was killed by the holy Great Martyr Mercurius (November 24).
Thirty years later the pious emperor Theodosius the Great (+ 397) built at Constantinople a church in honor of the holy martyrs, and Saint Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople (May 12), then still a hieromonk, wrote a Canon in memory and in praise of the holy brothers.
Troparion of the feast, ton 8
Blessed art You O Christ Our God / You have revealed the fishermen as most wise / By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit / Through them You drew the world into Your net / O Lover of Man, Glory to You!
Kontakion of the feast, ton 8
When the most High came down and confused the tongues, / He divided the nations; / But when he distributed the tongues of fire / He called all to unity. / Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-holy Spirit!
Ephesians 5:9-19 (Epistle)
- (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
- finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
- And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
- For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
- But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
- Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
- See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
- redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
- Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
- speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Matthew 18:10-20 (Gospel)
- Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
- For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
- What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
- And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
- Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
- Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
- But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
- And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
- Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
- Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
- For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”