Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Holy Martyrs of Pisidia During the Reign of Diocletian

On the twenty-eighth of this month [September], we commemorate the Holy Martyr Mark the Shepherd, the Holy Martyrs Alexander, Alpheios and Zosimas the brothers, and the Holy Martyrs Nikon, Neon, Heliodoros, and the other Virgins and Children.


To Mark
Mark was a shepherd, who was slain with a sword,
A shepherd of sheep, as was Scripture’s Abel.

To Alexander, Alpheios and Zosimos
Into the earth went the three Martyrs of the Lord,
From there came out a divine dew.

To Heliodoros, Nikon and Neon
Heliodoros, Nikon as well as Neon,
Gave a new victory against the enemies of Christ by a sword.

To the Virgins and Children
A myriad of children and women were slain,
O Child of a woman and God, receive the multitude.

These Saints flourished during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), when Magnus governed the city of Pisidia. The blessed Mark was a shepherd of a flock there, and he had white hair that reached down all the way to his feet. When it was revealed he was a Christian, they immediately had him hung up high and torturers tore at his flesh with iron claws. Then he was brought to Claudiopolis in Isauria, where Mark converted thirty soldiers and their commanding officer to Christ, all of whom were later beheaded in Nicaea.

Blacksmiths were sought to make iron chains to bind Saint Mark, so three brothers were called named Alexander, Alpheios and Zosimos from the village of Katalytos in Pisidia to fulfill the task. As soon as they began to hammer the iron, the iron became like water and their hands were covered in blood and were paralyzed. Astounded by this, they then heard a voice from on high telling them to accompany Saint Mark on the path of martyrdom. Thus they immediately confessed they were Christians, and for this molten lead was poured down their throats. Then they were nailed to a rock and in this way delivered their souls into the hands of God.

Meanwhile Saint Mark was forced to wear iron shoes, and was severely beaten and pierced with spits. His tongue was then cut out, and he also was nailed to a rock, and then he was beheaded. At this time Nikon, Heliodoros and Neon, along with many children and virgins, were held prisoners and later beheaded at a place called Moromilon. In this way the blessed ones together received the unfading crowns of the contest.

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