March 3 (old calendar) / March 16 (new)
Great Lent. Oil and wine allowed
Martyr Eutropius of Amasea, and with him Martyrs Cleonicus and Basiliscus (ca. 308). St. Piama, Virgin (337). Ss. Zeno and Zoilus.
SAINTS EUTROPIUS, CLEONICUS AND BASILISCUS
The Holy Martyrs Eutropius, Cleonicus and Basiliscus suffered in the city of Pontine Amasea (Asia Minor) in about the year 308.
The brothers Eutropius and Cleonicus, and Basiliscus the nephew of the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (February 17), were comrades. After the martyric death of Saint Theodore, they wound up in prison and by their preaching brought many of the pagans in prison with them to the Christian Faith.
When he tortured Saint Theodore, Publius perished shamefully, struck down by divine wrath. Asclepiodotus was chosen as ruler of Amasea, and was more inhumane than his predecessor. Knowing the comrades of Saint Theodore the Recruit were all in prison, the governor commanded that they be brought to him. Saints Eutropius, Cleonicus and Basiliscus thus firmly confessed their faith in Christ before this new governor. They were mercilessly beaten, so that their bodies were entirely bruised.
As he was being tortured Saint Eutropius prayed loudly to the Savior, “Grant us, O Lord, to endure these wounds for the sake of the crown of martyrdom, and help us, as You helped Your servant Theodore.” In answer to the saint’s prayer, the Lord Himself appeared to the martyrs with His angels and the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit, saying to them: “Behold, the Savior has come to help you, that you may know life eternal.”
Soldiers and many of the people standing nearby were also granted to behold the Savior. They urged Asclepiodotus to halt the tortures. Seeing that the people were distraught and ready to believe in the true God, the governor commanded the martyrs to be taken away. The governor then invited Saint Eutropius to supper and urged him to offer public sacrifice to the pagan gods, yet remain a Christian in soul. Eutropius refused this offer.
On the following day they brought the martyrs to a pagan temple, to force them to offer sacrifice. Eutropius entreated the Savior: “Lord, be with us, and destroy the raging of the pagans. Grant that on this place the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Christians be offered to You, the true God.” No sooner had these last words been spoken, than an earthquake began. The walls of the temple collapsed, and the statue of the goddess Artemis was smashed to bits. Everyone fled from the temple to avoid being crushed among the rubble. In the noise of the earthquake a voice was heard from on high: “Your prayer has been heard, and on this place a house of Christian prayer shall be built.”
When the earthquake ended, the governor Asclepiodotus, barely recovered from his fright, gave orders to drive high wooden stakes into the ground, tie the martyrs to them and pour boiling tar over them. The saints began to pray to God, and Eutropius cried out turning to the torturers: “May the Lord turn your deed against you!”
The tar began to flow beside the bodies of the martyrs, like water with marble, scorching the torturers. Those seeing this fled in terror, but the governor in his bitterness gave orders to rake their bodies with iron hooks and to sting their wounds with mustard mixed with salt and vinegar. The saints endured these torments with remarkable firmness.
The night before their execution the saints spent their time at prayer, and again the Lord appeared to them and strengthened them.
On the morning of March 3, Saints Eutropius and Cleonicus were crucified, but Basiliscus was left in prison.
Saint Basiliscus was executed on May 22 in the city of Komana. They beheaded him, and threw his body into a river, but Christians found his relics and buried them in a ploughed field. Later at Komana a church was built and dedicated to Saint Basiliscus.
An account of the life of the holy martyr is found under May 22.
Troparion of the saints, tone 4
Let us praise Eutropius, Basiliscus and divine Cleonicus, / The three holy athletes of Christ. / They surpassed human endurance in their contests / And professed the supremacy of the Trinity. / Now they ceaselessly intercede that we all may be saved!
Kontakion of the saints, tone 4
Eutropius, Basiliscus and Cleonicus, / Bound together in unity of faith, / By their noble contest speedily destroyed the enemies’ ranks!
Hebrews 1:1-12 (Epistle)
- God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
- has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
- who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
- having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
- For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?
- But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
- And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”
- But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
- You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
- And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
- They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;
- like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”
Mark 2:23-3:5 (Gospel)
- Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
- And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
- But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
- how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”
- And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
- Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
- And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
- So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
- And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”
- Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
- And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.