Thursday, December 28, 2017

Holy Martyr Indes the Eunuch


Verses

I hear in the life of Indes how he received his end,
Arriving at the furthest edge his end came in the depths.

Saint Domna, also commemorated on this day, was a priestess of the idols from a young age, and after coming across a copy of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, she inquired further into the Christian faith from a certain Christian maiden she knew. One night she secretly paid a visit to Bishop Cyril of Nicomedia, seeking Holy Baptism, and at the age of fourteen she was made a catechumen under Deacon Agapios. Returning to her palace, she concealed her prayer and fasting from others, except from Indes her eunuch, who was privy to her actions. Indes was of a barbarian race, but in his manner and deeds he was most noble. He joined Domna in his desire to become a Christian, and they were both baptized together by Bishop Cyril.

Domna and Indes together would fast and pray, and only in the evenings partake of bread with water, giving thanks to the Lord. To observe almsgiving and abstinence, they would take whatever plates of food were served to them and give them to the poor. All these deeds were done in secret. One night, however, a certain eunuch who was a Persian Zoroastrian caught sight of them distributing food to the poor, and went before his superiors accusing them of this. The chief eunuch therefore seized the keys to the chambers of Domna and Indes, and entering their rooms, instead of finding gold and silver and rich fabrics and costly garments and beddings, he saw austere surroundings with nothing but a cross, the Epistles of Saint Paul, a container with prosphora and straw mats on the floor. When he inquired where the silver and gold went, they gave no answer.

The Saints were then taken, but before this Domna hid the Epistles of Paul in her garment while Indes took with him the container that contained prosphora. For their silence, the Saints were scourged, but they remained silent and undismayed. They were therefore imprisoned, and their only consolation in prison were the Epistles of Saint Paul and the sanctified bread of the prosphora, for they were not even allowed to have a drink of water. While in prison Domna fell ill due to the deprivation, so one night Angels appeared in the prison and they prepared a table for them laden with various foods. The Saints ate and rejoiced, giving thanks to the Lord.

The next day, the chief eunuch saw Domna and Indes with radiant countenances and of a joyous disposition, rather than in a debilitated state of hunger and thirst. He marveled at this, and had them brought food, drink and garments. Now many of the poor gathered at the cell of Domna and Indes, so they distributed everything they had to them, and they again went without food. Domna even offered her costly belt studded with stones, which she handed to Deacon Agapios through the window with the instructions to sell it and give the money to the poor.

Now Domna desired to be released from prison, so she feigned madness before the pagans, rolling back her eyes and letting saliva fall from her mouth, pounding her fists, shouting in a disorderly manner, and laughing uncontrollably. When the chief eunuch saw this he became concerned and frightened, lest he should have the death of the priestess on his hands. In order to escape the emperor's wrath, he called for Bishop Anthimos, the successor of Bishop Cyril who had since reposed, to take both Domna and Indes off his hands, to recover from her illness, since Bishop Anthimos was known in Nicomedia for curing those with madness by his prayers. Bishop Anthimos gladly received both Domna and Indes, and they were reunited with their fellow Christians.

At that time the emperor Maximian returned to Nicomedia as a conqueror of war, believing the gods gave him the victory. In the middle of the city he had set up an altar surrounded by idols in order for a public sacrifice to take place. As the emperor lauded his victory and the gods who he believed granted to him the victory, suddenly there was a loud thunder, lightning and a thick darkness, which was followed by a strong wind and hail. The spectators fled in terror, trampling and crushing each other. This storm caused great damage and loss, but the emperor remained in his impiety despite his gods being made to look ridiculous. He then asked for the registry to be brought to him that contained the names of the priests and priestesses of the twelve gods, and saw that Domna was not present. After it was explained to him that Domna became ill and mad and was being cared for by Indes and some Christians, he became enraged. This was how the persecution against the Christians of Nicomedia began.

A search was first made for Indes, in order to bring him back to the service of the gods. Indes was apprehended, but he had no intention of ever serving the idols again. Instead he spent his time secretly converting many pagans to piety, drawing many to the knowledge of the truth. It was not long before his activities were discovered however. A certain feast to the deities took place, and while everyone donned white robes to celebrate the feast, Indes sat alone in his cell, wearing black clothing and mourning for the behavior of the pagans. When the emperor received word of this, he had his men bind him in chains and imprison him.

Meanwhile the persecution continued, claiming the lives of thousands of Christians, and a search was made for Domna. During this time Indes was cast into the sea with a millstone around his neck, together with Saints Peter and Gorgonios, and in this way he departed to the Lord. When Domna heard that Indes had been submerged in the sea, she came down to the city from the mountain where she hid, dressed as a man. When she was near the sea, some fishermen, thinking she was a boy because of her garments, asked if she would like to come fishing with them, as they needed help casting the nets, and in return she could keep her share of the fish. She accepted this invitation. That night they had a catch that was too big to bring onto the boat, so they dragged it to shore. In the midst of all the fish, they caught three bodies. When Domna examined the bodies, she noticed one was her beloved Indes. After weeping and kissing his relic, and giving glory to God for the precious gift. Domna, not wishing to continue fishing, was thus given her portion of the fish and the bodies were left with her on shore.

Then Domna noticed another boat coming to shore, and she asked the captain if he wanted any of the fish for free. Thinking this was strange, he replied: "By Christ, what is it that you want from us?" By this she understood he was a Christian, so she bid him come to see the relics of the holy martyrs. Enthusiastic, the captain and his crew came to shore and approached. Thinking Domna was a male, he asked her if she wanted to become a member of his crew and be as a brother in Christ to him, but she refused, saying that her desire was to soon be a martyr, and until then she wished to stay with the relics of the holy martyrs. He in turn gave her some money to buy incense and sweet smelling oils for the relics, and he left taking the fish as a gift. Domna remained at the beach in prayer, censing the sacred relics, without departing in the least. When Maximian heard of this, he dispatched his men to go and have her beheaded, then to throw her remains in the fire. In this way she also received the crown of martyrdom.

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