Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sts. Isidore and Myrope the Great Martyrs of Chios

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

Icon of Sts. Isidore of Chios and Therapon, both celebrated on May 14th (taken from:
"The Holy Martyr Isidore lived during the III Century on the Island of Chios, and was a native of Alexandria. During the first year of rule of the emperor Decius (249-251) there was issued an edict to make a census of all those capable to serve in the armies of the Roman empire. Saint Isidore, tall and strong of body, was drafted into the regiment of the military-commander Numerius. Saint Isidore was a Christian, he led a life of temperance and abstinence, he was chaste and he shunned all the pagan customs. Another imperial edict then commanded, that all the soldiers were to worship the Roman pagan gods and to offer them sacrifice. Not to obey the edict carried the penalty of torture and death. The centurion reported to the military-commander Numerius, that Isidore was a Christian.

Synaxis of All Saints of Chios (source)
At the interrogation before Numerius Saint Isidore without flinching confessed his faith in Christ the Saviour and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Numerius urged the saint not to expose himself to tortures and to obey the will of the emperor, but Saint Isidore answered, that he would obey only the will of the eternal God, Christ the Saviour, and never would he renounce Him. The saint was handed over to torture. During the time of torments he praised Christ God and denounced the pagan idols.

One of the churches of St. Isidore in Chios (taken from:
[When the Saint's father learned that St. Isidore was a confessed Christian, he journeyed to Chios to convince him to deny his faith. He succeded in convincing Numerius to deliver St. Isidore into his custody, and proceeded to try to convert him. The Saint, however, entreated his father to open the eyes of his soul and behold the truth [of Christ]. His father was uncompromising, and could not accept that his son believed in the Crucified Nazarene and refused to accept his ancestral religion of idols. He condemned him and delivered him to the admiral Numerius, entreating him to expedite the death sentence of his son. Numerius therefore tied him to a horse that dragged him over rocks. (translated, summarized and paraphrased from:μαϊου)]

Another church dedicated to St. Isidore, this one built near Neochori, on the site where St. Isidore is believed to have been beheaded (taken from:
The military-commander gave orders to cut out the tongue of the saint, but even after this the saint continued distinctly to give glory to Christ. Numerius in fright fell to the ground and himself lost the gift of speech. Getting up with the help of soldiers, by means of gestures he demanded a small board and on it wrote an order -- to cut off the head of Saint Isidore. Saint Isidore welcomed his death sentence with joy and said: "I glorify Thee, O my Master, that by Thy mercy Thou hast accepted me in Thine Heavenly Habitation!" The death of the martyr occurred in the year 251.

After execution his body was cast out without burial, but another saint, the secret Christian Ammonios, took up his body and committed it to earth [along with St. Myrope; see below]. Later on Ammonios himself accepted a martyr's death in the city of Kyzikos (Comm. 4th of September)." (taken from:
The tomb of St. Isidore, where St. Myrope was also buried, in Chios (taken from:
"[St. Isidore's] body was taken to Venice in 1125 and hidden in the palace of the Doge; it was re-discovered in the early 14th century. His skull was discovered in Chios, encased in a silver and jeweled reliquary, and translated to Venice in 1627. The Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day on May 14." (taken from:

Icon of St. Isidore the Great Martyr of Chios (taken from:
"St. Myrope was born in Ephesus of Christian parents. [Her name is derived from the fact that she would visit the grave of the Holy Martyr St. Hermione in Ephesus, and distribute the myrrh flowing therefrom to heal the sick] After the death of her father, she moved with her mother to the island of Chios, where she suffered for Christ. The suffering of this holy virgin took place soon after the suffering and death of the glorious Martyr Isidore the soldier (May 14). When the torturers had beheaded Isidore, the courageous Myrope secretly took his body, censed it, and honorably buried it in a special place. The villainous prince Numerian heard that the martyr's body had been stolen and wanted to kill the guards. Learning that innocent men would suffer for her good deed, blessed Myrope appeared before the authorities and acknowledged that she had taken the martyr's body and buried it. By order of the prince, the entire body of Christ's holy virgin was severely whipped, and finally she was cast into prison covered with wounds. But the Lord did not leave His martyr comfortless. At midnight a heavenly light illumined the prison, and many angels, with St. Isidore in their midst, appeared to her. ``Peace be to you, Myrope,'' St. Isidore said to her. ``Your prayer has reached God, and soon you will be with us and will receive the wreath prepared for you.'' The holy martyr rejoiced and at that moment surrendered her soul to her God. A sweet fragrance issued from her body, filling the entire prison. One of the guards, seeing all of this and sensing the fragrance, believed in Christ, was baptized, and soon received a martyr's death. St. Myrope took up her habitation in eternity in the year 251 [on December 2nd]." (taken from:

Icon of St. Myrope the Great Martyr (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
"Her body was interred beside Isidore's, and a chapel erected over the graves. Saint Marcian built another in the fifth century. In 1525, the relics of Isidore and Myrope were moved by the Latins to the Church of Saint Mark in Venice." (taken from:
St. Myrope the Virgin Martyr of Chios (
And finally, there is a very touching local tradition that in the place where St. Isidore was martyred, the mastic trees shed fragrant tears at the suffering of the Holy Martyr of Christ. The tradition holds that the mastic, which is a major product of the island of Chios, can only be gathered and prepared from the trees in the area of the Saint's martyrdom. Thus the masticha, or mastic, is a divine gift, and a blessing to the people of Chios (taken and translated from:

The Mastic Trees of Chios, which shed tears at St. Isidore's Martyrdom (taken from:

Ἀπολυτίκιον. Ἦχος δ'. Ὃ ὑψωθεῖς ἐν τῷ Σταυρῷ.
Ὡς στρατευθεῖς τῷ Βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, τῶν ἐπιγείων τὴν στρατείαν ἀπώσω, καὶ εὐθαρσὼς ἐκήρυξας Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ὅθεν τὸν ἀγῶνα σου, τὸν καλὸν ἐκτελέσας, Μάρτυς θεοδόξαστος, τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἐδείχθης ὂν ἐκδυσώπει σώζεσθαι ἠμᾶς, τοὺς σὲ τιμώντας, παμμάκαρ Ἰσίδωρε.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone (amateur translation)
As a soldier of the eternal King who abandoned the earthly army, and bravely preached Christ God. Therefore as you completed your struggle well, O Martyr, you were glorified by God the Savior, Whom you entreat that we who honor you may be saved, O all-blessed Isidore.

St. Isidore the Great Martyr of Chios (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
Apolytikion (for a male Martyr) in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of St. Isidore the Great-Martyr of Chios in the Fourth Tone
In thy holy prayers to God, thou hast shone brightly, a great guide for all the world. Wherefore, we praise thee on this day, O Saint, thou Martyr of godly mind and boast of Chios, O glorious Isidore.

Three of the great Patron Saints and Wonderworkers of Chios: Sts. Markella, Isidore and Matrona (source)
Apolytikion in the First Tone (amateur translation)
O great martyr Myrope, and spotless Bride of Christ, you now stand beside Him with beauty and comeliness. As radiant and shining stones you bear your body's wounds, and the porphyry of your blood as a royal robe, O glorious one. Entreat Him on behalf of us who praise your divine Struggle with fervor in victorious hymns and odes.
Apolytikion (for a female Martyr) in the Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.
(taken from:
St. Isidore the Great Martyr of Chios (
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

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