Saturday, April 29, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostles Jason and Sosipater and Those With Them

Sts. Jason, Sosipater, Kerkyra and Those With Them (Feast Day - April 29)

Verses

To Jason.*
Jason found perishable life in a foreign land,
But he found another acquired even further beyond.

To Sosipater.
Dying Sosipater your face showed the glory,
Of the Father of God the Word.

To the Seven Martyrs Who Were Formerly Thieves.
When the thieves learned of the allotted portion of the thief in Eden,
They hurried to obtain their lot in the burning pitch.

To Kerkyra.
The punctured wounds from the arrow of the king,
Left a mark that shined like a pearl.

To Eusebius.**
The fire cleansed you of filth, Eusebius,
Making you the pure gold of Christ.

To Zenon and Vitalion.
Do not be afraid, Vitalion, as you approach the fire,
For Zenon goes before you and enters beforehand.

To Neon.
Not wanting to worship the gods of the Greeks,
Neon was burned and destroyed the faith of the Greeks.


Of these two Apostles, Jason was from Tarsus of Cilicia and was the first to be caught in the pursuit of piety. Sosipater was from Achaia, namely Livadia, and received the faith of Christ after Jason. Both became disciples of the Apostle Paul, who writes of them in his Epistle to the Romans: "Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen" (Rom. 16:21). Jason became the Bishop of his homeland, namely Tarsus,*** and Sosipater became Bishop of the Church of Iconium. Having shepherded those Churches, they traveled West and arrived at the island of Kerkyra,**** where they built a church in the name of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr. There they liturgized to God, and gathered in any unbelievers to the faith of Christ. Having been accused to the king named Kerkyllinos, for this reason they were imprisoned. In there were also locked up seven leaders of thieves, whose names were as follows: Saturninus, Iakischolus, Faustianus, Jannuarius, Marsalios, Euphrasios and Mamminos. These the Apostles taught with their words, and informed them with the wonders that they wrought, thus bringing them to faith in Christ, and instead of wolves made them into sheep. After this they were placed in a fiery cauldron, full of pitch and oil and wax and sulphur. There their lives came to an end, and they received the crown of the contest. Likewise the prison guard, because he came to believe in Christ, his left hand was cut off as well as his two legs. Afterwards they cut off his head, while he called upon the name of the Lord.


The king had Jason and Sosipater removed from prison, and delivered them to the eparch of Kerkyra in order to have them punished. He, after asking the Apostles to deny Christ, and seeing that they remained firm, had them tied up and thrown into prison. Seeing them tied up and condemned, and learning that they suffered on behalf of Christ, Kerkya, the daughter of the king, proclaimed herself a Christian. Thus she removed her jewelry and distributed them among the poor. When her father found out about this, he urged her to change. Unwilling to do so, she also was cast into prison, then delivered over to an Ethiopian in order to corrupt her. The Ethiopian, as soon as he even touched the door of the prison, was torn to pieces by a wild animal. When Saint Kerkyra found out about this, she healed him, and by her teachings she made him a soldier of Christ and Christian. Wherefore with a loud voice the Ethiopian cried out: "Great is the God of the Christians!" When the king learned of this, he had him tortured, and thus the renowned one delivered his soul to the hands of God. The soldiers then brought much wood to the prison, and they lit a fire in order to consume Saint Kerkyra. When they did this, the Saint remained unharmed. In this way she gathered many to believe in Christ. Then she was hung up on a wooden pole, under which they made smoke in order to choke her with. Afterwards they shot at her with arrows, and wounded her so much, that because of the pain she delivered her soul into the hands of God.


After these things King Kerkyllinos began a persecution against Christians. Because the Christians fled to a small island nearby, the king himself got into a boat in order to go there and punish them. When he arrived in the middle of the sea, he was plunged into the depths of the sea as pharaoh of old. And the people of the Lord offered up hymns and thanksgiving to God, while Jason and Sosipater were freed from prison, who taught without hindrance the word of God.

Then another king came to rule, and having learned about the Saints, he ordered for an iron cauldron to be brought to him, and they were to put in it pitch and resin and wax, which they were to boil very much, and after put the Saints inside. However the Saints were preserved unharmed, while some of the unbelievers themselves were burned, and others came to believe in Christ. The king then tied a rock to his neck and repented and lamented, saying: "O God of Jason and Sosipater, help me and have mercy on me." Then blessed Jason gathered all those who came to believe, and he taught them words of truth, in the presence of the king, and after catechizing them he baptized all of them together with the king in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The king was given the name Sebastian, and after a few days the son of the king became ill and died. The Apostle Jason prayed on his behalf, and raised him up. Many other things did the Saint do, worthy of words and commemoration. They built a beautiful church together with the king, and did all things well and venerably. Having increased the flock of Christ, their life came to an end in deep old age, and they went from the earth to the heavens.

Notes:

* Saint Jason is also commemorated on November 10th.

** Eusebius, Zenon, Vitalion and Neon are not mentioned in the synaxarion, but they were burned to death by King Kerkyllinos after converting to the Christian faith at the preaching of Jason and Sosipater.

*** Some believe this is the Jason mentioned in Acts 17 who gave housing to Saint Paul in Thessaloniki.

**** The writer of the syaxarion actually calls it Cyrene, while copies of the synaxarion write Kerkyra. However, Cyrene is in Libya of Africa, while the tradition says that Jason and Sosipater went to Kerkyra (Corfu).


Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
We honour the like-minded pair of Christ's Apostles, God-inspired Jason and noble Sosipater. For they received the word of grace, and enlightened Kerkyra with the light of godliness. They intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion in the First Tone
O thrice-blessed Apostles, illumined by Paul's teachings, you enlightened the whole world. You shine on it with miracles, Jason, source of healings, and Sosipater, glory of the Martyrs. O God-bearing Apostles, holy protectors of those in need, pray to God that our souls may be saved.

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