Monday, November 2, 2009

Sts. Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidephoros, Anempodistos and their fellow Martyrs of Persia

Sts. Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidephoros, Anempodistos and their fellow Martyrs of Persia - Commemorated on November 2nd
"They were all Christians from Persia and suffered during the reign of King Sapor in the year 355. The first three [Sts. Akindynos, Pegasios and Anempodistos] were servants at the court of this same king but secretly served Christ their Lord. When they were accused and brought to trial before the king, he asked them where they came from. To this they replied: ``Our fatherland and our life is the Most-holy Trinity, one in Essence and undivided, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God.'' The king subjected them to cruel tortures but they endured all heroically, with psalmody and prayer on their lips. During the time of their torture and imprisonment angels of God appeared to them many times, and one time the Lord Christ Himself appeared to them as a man ``with a face radiant as the sun.'' When one of the torturers, Aphthonius, beheld a miracle, when boiling lead did no harm to the martyrs, he believed in Christ and cried out: ``Great is the Christian God!'' For this, he was immediately beheaded, and many others saw and believed.

Icon of St. Aphthonios (taken from:

Then the king ordered that Acyndinus, Pegasius and Anempodistus be sewn into animal skins and cast into the sea. But St. Aphthonius appeared from the other world with three shining angels, and led the holy martyrs to dry land and set them free. Elpidephorus was one of the king's nobles. When he revealed that he was a Christian and denounced the king for his slaughter of innocent Christians, the king condemned him to death and Elpidephorus was beheaded along with seven thousand other Christians. Then those first three martyrs [Sts. Acyndinus, Pegasius and Anempodistus] were finally thrown into a burning furnace along with twenty-eight soldiers and the king's mother, since they also believed in Christ-and thus, in the flames, they gave up their righteous souls into the hands of the Lord."

Icon of St. Pegasios (taken from:

"Many holy martyrs joyfully received their executioners who were seeking them, and treated them hospitably in their homes while they themselves prepared for death. To entertain one's mortal enemies-is this not an expression of great love toward one's enemies? When King Sapor harshly tortured Acyndinus, Pegasius and others with them, he suddenly went mad, became dumb and unable to speak, and began to claw his face with great fury. Seeing his tormentor in such despair, St. Acyndinus wept and prayed to God for the king and said, ``In the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, speak!'' and the king's tongue was loosed and he began to speak. Here is an example of true love for one's enemies!"
(taken from:

Fresco from Decani Monastery depicting the martyrdom of Sts. Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidephoros, Anempodistos and those with them (taken from:

"Two churches were dedicated in their honour in Constantinople. As is often the case in church hymns, there is a play on the meanings of the Saints' names here. Acindynus means "unimperilled"; Pegasius is derived from pegazo--"to gush forth"; Aphthonius is derived from aphthonos-"abundant"; Elpidephorus means "hope-bearing"; Anempodistus means "unhindered." These are all Greek translations of their Persian names."
(taken from:

Icon of Sts. Akindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidephoros and Anempodistos (taken from:

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Blessed is the earth that drank your blood, O prizewinners of the Lord, and holy are the tabernacles that received your spirit; for in the stadium ye triumphed over the enemy, and ye proclaimed Christ with boldness. Beseech Him, we pray, since He is good, to save our souls.

Kontakion in the First Tone
As five unerring stars of the great Sun of Glory, the soldiers of Christ God brightly shone on the whole earth, dispelling the gloom of passions and pouring abundant grace on all of the faithful without cease and unhindered; and they grant salvation that no sin can imperil, through hope that is full of faith.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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