Thursday, March 3, 2016

Saints Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos the Martyrs

Sts. Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos (Feast Day - March 3)

Verses

To Eutropios
The propitious way of life of Eutropios,
Discovered Christ and an end by the sword.

To Kleonikos
And the glorious Kleonikos is victorious,
He was hanged on a cross, like my Christ of old.

To Vasiliskos
Physically imprisoned and before imprisonment Vasiliskos had,
Two released from prison.

On the third Eutropios contended for the prize on the wood of the cross.

These Saints lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). They came from Amasia, the famous city in Cappadocia at the Black Sea. They were relatives and fellow-soldiers with Saint Theodore the Tiro. Having been accused to governor Asclepiodotes, they were harshly beaten. Saint Eutropios received wounds on his mouth, because he insulted the governor. However, although the soldiers who were hitting them were paralyzed and tired, the Saints were cured, because the Lord and the holy Martyr Theodore the Tiro had appeared to them. When they saw this miracle, many unbelievers believed in Christ and were beheaded.

When the governor saw these things, he changed his behavior and tried to turn Saint Kleonikos from faith in Christ with flatteries. He gave him gifts and promised to give him more, but not only wasn't the mind of the Saint changed, but he even got angry and ridiculed both the governor's lack of understanding as well as the sickness of idolatry. So, while the governor and the rest of the Greeks were offering sacrifices to their gods, Saint Kleonikos prayed and toppled Diana's idol down.

When the idolaters saw this, they burnt with anger, thus they boiled tar and asphalt in three boilers, and poured them on the backs of the three Martyrs of Christ. However, the Martyrs were kept unharmed, while the servants who were pouring the mix were completely burnt. After this Saints Eutropios and Kleonikos were crucified, and received the crown of martyrdom and went to eternal life. Saint Vasiliskos on the other hand was thrown in prison, where he reposed after he had spent quite some time there.


A Reflection by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Humanly speaking, Christ, by His obedience, elevated Himself to primacy in the Church, in the world and in the history of mankind. No one can be a good leader who has not completed the school of obedience. Adam forfeited the authority and dominion over the living creatures and the elements of nature at the very moment when he showed himself disobedient to God. The Abba Moses said, "Obedience begats obedience; if someone listens to God, God also listens to him." It is obvious then, that God listens to man more than man listens to God, especially when one takes into consideration how often and in how many ways man sins daily against the commandments of God. It is a fact that the Eternal God listens to us, corruptible as we are, more than we listen to Him. This should fill all of us with shame who still have a conscience. When St. Eutropios was being tortured, along with his two companions, he prayed to God, "Come to us in assistance as You came to Your servant Theodore the Tiro." Suddenly, the ground shook and the obedient Lord appeared with His angels along with St. Theodore. The Lord said to the sufferers, "During the time of your torture, I stood before your faces and observed your patience. I will write your names in the Book of Life."


Hymn of Praise

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The mind composed and uplifted to God the Most High,
The heart enflamed with love toward Him,
Does not care about pains nor about the body, worry,
Over such as these, only the Lord rules.

The mind fixed on Christ, that is most important.
This, during his torments, Saint Eutropios recognized
And Kleonikos his brother and beloved Vasiliskos,
All three in the fire as though in the morning dew, were.

A mind fixed on Christ, about tortures does not care,
If pain persists, so also does prayer persist,
About pain, it does not think, but prayer, it weaves;
He who fears God does not fear pain.

Two blood brothers raised on the Cross:
Their bodies convulse, but the spirit does not stir,
Both glorify God Who glorified them;
Such an honorable death, to them, He gave.

The garment of the flesh is rent and removed
And the spirit races toward heaven; the spirit, than the body, is stronger;
Receive O God, they cry out, our spirit in the heights,
To You be enteral glory, O Son of God!


Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Let us praise Eutropios, Vasiliskos and divine Kleonikos, the three holy Athletes of Christ. They surpassed human endurance in their contests and professed the supremacy of the Trinity. They ever intercede that we all may be saved.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Eutropios, Kleonikos and Vasiliskos, bound together in unity of faith, by their noble contest speedily destroyed the enemies' ranks.

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