Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Holy Martyrs Agapios, Plesios, Timolaos, Romulus, Two Dionysioses and Two Alexanders at Caesarea in Palestine

Holy Martyr Agapios and Those Martyred With Him (Feast Day - March 15)

Verses

To Agapios.
Agapios hastened towards martyrdom,
For he kindled inwardly love for God.

To Plesios, Romulus and Timolaos.
Among the three Plesios is beheaded by the sword,
Now you stand together with them near God.

To the Two Alexanders and Dionysioses.
As the Alexanders were called to beheading, crowning,
The Dionysioses held this in common.

On the fifteenth Agapios and those with him were beheaded.


HISTORY OF THE MARTYRS OF PALESTINE

By Eusebius of Caesarea

The Confession of Agapios, and of the Two Dionysioses, and of the Two Alexanders, and of Timolaos, Romulus and Plesios,

In the Second Year of the Persecution in our Days (304 A.D.), in the City of Caesarea.

It was the festival at which all the people assembled themselves together in their cities. The same festival also was held in Caesarea. And in the circus there was an exhibition of horse races, and a representation was performed in the theatre, and it was customary for impious and barbarous spectacles to take place in the Stadium. And there was a rumor and a report generally current, that Agapios, whose name we have mentioned above, and Thekla with him, together with the rest of the Phrygians, were to be sent into the theatre in the form of martyrs, in order that they might be devoured by the wild beasts; for the governor Urbanus would present this gift to the spectators.

When the fame of these things was heard abroad, it happened further that other young men, perfect in stature, and brave in person (they were in number six) arrived. And as the governor was proceeding to the theatre, and passing through the city, these six men stood up courageously before him. And having bound their hands behind them, they drew near before the judge Urbanus, and, in fact, by binding themselves, showed what was about to be done to them by others, and exhibited their excellent patience, and the readiness of their mind for martyrdom, for they confessed, crying aloud and saying, "We are Christians;" and beseeching the governor Urbanus that they also might be thrown to the wild beasts in the theatre in company with their brethren who appertained to Agapios.

For all this confidence of Jesus our Savior, in his own champions did He manifest to all men; extinguishing the menaces of the tyrants by His champion's valor, and manifestly and clearly showing, that neither fire, nor steel, nor even fierce wild beasts, were able to subdue His victorious servants, for He had girded them with the armor of righteousness, and strengthening them with victorious and invincible armor, He made them despise death.

They struck at once the governor and the whole band with him with astonishment at this their courage. And the governor gave command that they should be delivered up to prison; and there they were detained many days. And while they were in prison, Agapios, a meek and good man, the brother of one of the prisoners, arrived from the city of Gaza, and went frequently to the prison to visit his brother, and having already striven in many contests of confession before, he went with confidence to the place of imprisonment. He was denounced to the governor as a man prepared for martyrdom, and consequently was delivered over to bonds, in order that he might endure the trial of a second conflict. And things similar to these did Dionysios also suffer. And this good recompense was given to him from the martyrs of God as the reward of his service to them. And when the governor was made aware of this recompense of the compassion of Dionysios towards the martyrs, he gave the sentence of death against him. And thus he became associated with those who preceded him. And all together they were eight in number; namely, Timolaos, whose origin was from Pontus; and Dionysios, who came from the city of Tripolis; and Romulus, a sub-deacon of the church of the city of Diospolis; and two were Egyptians, Plesios and Alexander; and again another Alexander, and those two respecting whom we have said that they were at last cast into prison.

All these were delivered up together at one time, to be beheaded. And this matter took place on the twenty-fourth of Adar. But there was, at the same time, a sudden change of the emperors, both of him who was the chief and emperor, and of him who was honored in the next place after him: and those who had divested themselves of the power of empire and put on the ordinary dress, having given up the empire to their associates, were rent asunder from their love towards each other, and they raised against one another an implacable war; nor was any remedy given to this malady of their hostility, until the peace in our time, which was spread throughout the whole empire of the Romans; for it arose like light out of clouds of darkness, and forthwith the Church of the supreme God and the divine doctrine was extended throughout the whole world.


Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy soul aflame with love for Christ, thou didst gather a company of illustrious athletes, O glorious Agapios. With them thou didst excel in lawful contest, and together you were beheaded by the sword. Henceforth ever pray that we may be granted the forgiveness of our sins.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
For love of Christ the eightfold choir of martyrs spurned all earthly things. As they were beheaded they cried out together: O Compassionate One, gladden Thy servants.

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