December 22, 2015

Synaxaria for Saints Anastasia the Pharmakolytria, Chrysogonos, Zoilos, Theodoti and Her Three Children

On the twenty-second of this month [December], we commemorate the Holy Great Martyr Anastasia the Pharmakolytria.


Anastasia had as medicine great faith,
With all this medicine she was bound and burned.
Anastasia was violently burned in the fire on the twenty-second.

This holy and courageous Martyr Anastasia flourished during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), and hailed from the city of Rome. Her father was a Greek pagan named Praextetatus, and her mother Faustes handed her over to a God-fearing man named Chrysogonos, and from him she learned sacred letters. Thus she learned the Christian faith from him and her mother. She was married to a man named Puplius, with whom she always refused to have intercourse due to his unbelief, insisting that she was ill, thus avoiding their union. Later she would dress in poor clothing, and with her one servant she would live among the poor women. Frequently she would treat and visit the Martyrs for Christ by visiting them in prison. There she would loosen their bonds, anoint them with oil, wipe away blood from their wounds, and offer them a suitable meal.

When her husband Puplius learned of this, he took her and had her imprisoned, ordering many guards to guard her securely. Because her husband drowned at sea due to a storm, this allowed the Saint to distribute her belongings to the poor and she visited the Martyrs of Christ in prison without fear. And when they were perfected, she took them and buried them. Many of them she would also encourage in their martyric struggle. She herself was tortured by various rulers, and thrown into the sea with other women. Then she was tied to a stake, where she was devoured by flames, and in this way her martyrdom came to an end, and she proceeded towards her desired Christ.* Her Synaxis is held in her martyric Temple, near the Portico of Domninus.


* According to the Menologion of Basil II, Anastasia emerged unharmed from the flames and was beheaded.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Chrysogonos.


Chrysogonos gave his neck to the sword,
O golden spirit your strength is like brass.

The Martyr of Christ Chrysogonos was from Rome and flourished during the reign of Diocletian. He was a pious and God-fearing man, and as we said above the teacher of Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolytria, both in her Christian faith and in sacred letters. Because at that time a persecution against Christians was taking place under Diocletian and Maximian, he was taken and imprisoned. While there his student Saint Anastasia wrote to him, that he may pray on her behalf, and especially that he may pray for her husband Puplius to become a Christian, in order for her to live and be saved [from her imprisonment]. Rather he saw that he would die, and her wealth would not be distributed among the pagans, but be used to help the Holy Martyrs and support the poor, which indeed took place. Because her husband drowned at sea, as we mentioned above, she visited the Holy Martyrs, and bestowed her money upon them and cared for the poor.

While Diocletian was in Nicaea, he heard that in Rome there were a multitude of Christians in the prisons. And although they were given over to many and various tortures, they were not willing to deny their faith in Christ, having the divine Chrysogonos as their motivator in their torments and they altogether hung on his every word. Thus Diocletian ordered immediately that all the other Christians be killed, if they did not deny Christ, while Chrysogonos was to be sent to him in bonds. Therefore the Saint was brought before the tyrant, so that perhaps by flattery he would be persuaded to deny his piety, or perhaps by threats he would weaken in his faith and brave stance. Rather without any fear he preached Christ as the one true God, and the gods he called a delusion of men that corrupt and destroy souls. When the tyrant heard this he became enraged, and ordered that Chrysogonos be brought to a deserted place, where he was to be decapitated. In this way the blessed Chrysogonos received the crown of martyrdom.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Zoilos.


Zoilos abandoned the stream of life,
Remaining in life he found the place of the living.

Upon the martyrdom of the blessed Chrysogonos, divine revelation led the holy priest and ascetic Zoilos to collect his honorable relics, including his head. Thirty days later Saint Chrysogonos appeared to him and informed him that the three sisters who lived with him in his hermitage - Agapi, Chonia and Irene (who are commemorated on April 16th) - were to be martyred by the emperor in nine days, and that Saint Anastasia would come and prepare them. While Saint Anastasia was instructing them, the blessed Zoilos departed unto the Lord in peace.*

* (This brief life was written by John Sanidopoulos, as it is absent from the Synaxarion.)

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Theodoti and her three children.


Theodoti endures fire with her dearest,
Filled with the warmth and fire of affection for God.

This Martyr of Christ Theodoti was from Nicaea in Bithynia, and as a Christian she occupied herself in keeping the commandments of the Lord. Her three children also she educated in the knowledge of God and education of the Lord. When she heard of the good works of the above-mentioned Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolytria, she went to live with her together with her three children.

Prior to this the Saint was asked to enter into marital union with a certain ruler named Leucadius. Emperor Diocletian had brought them together, thinking that by their union and intercourse, she would separate herself from her faith in Christ. However this blessed one refused to enter into marital union with Leucadius, despite him using every way to persuade her. Wanting to redeem herself, the Saint informed him to wait a little while, then she would fulfill his will. When Leucadius went with the emperor somewhere, waiting for the appropriate time with Theodoti, the Saint received permission to go with Saint Anastasia to the prisons to visit the Christians, who were imprisoned for their faith in Christ. There she strongly encouraged and consoled them, to remain steadfast in their suffering for Christ.

A few days later Leucadius again tried to speak persuasive words to Theodoti similar to ones earlier. Knowing therefore that he would be unable to persuade her, he sent the Saint bound together with her sons to the consular Nikitius, the governor of Bithynia. After being rebuked by the oldest son of Theodoti, named Evodus, he became enraged. For this reason a large furnace was lit, and he ordered the Saint with her sons thrown in. Hence by this martyrdom the blessed ones were perfected, and now stand before Christ, wearing incorruptible crowns. Their Synaxis and feast is held in their martyric Temple, near the place called Kampon.

Apolytikion in the Fifth Tone
As a martyr you emulated the deeds of the martyrs, to whom you ministered, and, striving valiantly, you overcame the enemy. You are an abundant and overflowing source of grace for all who come to you, O godly-minded Anastasia.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
When they that are found in trials and adversities flee unto your church O Anastasia, they receive the august and wondrous gifts of divine grace which do abide in you; for at all times, O Saint of God, you pour forth streams of healings for the world.