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June 23, 2016

Saints Aristokles the Presbyter, Demetrianos the Deacon and Athanasios the Reader

Sts. Aristokles, Demetrianos and Athanasios (Feast Day - June 23)

Verses

To Aristokles
Aristokles the noble armed soldier,
Was the noblest of all and had his head decapitated.

To Demetrianos and Athanasios
Athanasios found immortality,
Dying with Demetrianos by the sword.

These three Holy Martyrs were from Cyprus and lived during the persecution of the Church under Emperors Maximian and Diocletian (245-310). In the year 302 the presbyter Aristokles, who was from Tamassos, decided to go hide in a remote cave, out of fear of the persecution against the Christians. While praying in the cave, he was engulfed by a divine light brighter than the sun, and a voice came from heaven telling him to go to the city of Salamis to face a martyric death.

He therefore went, obedient to the divine command, and when he arrived at the Church of the Holy Apostle Barnabas, he met Demetrianos the Deacon and Athanasios the Reader. Aristokles explained to them the vision he had, the voice he heard, and the reason he was going to Salamis. This inspired them to go with him to face martyrdom and shed their blood for Christ together.

When the three arrived in Salamis, they went up and stood at a visibly high place. The governor saw them, called for them, and after an inquiry discovered they were Christians. At first they were beaten, and after tearing at Aristokles the governor had him beheaded. When he saw that Demetrianos and Athanasios remained steadfast in their faith in Christ, they were tortured with various punishments, then they were ordered to be cast into the flames. After remaining unharmed by the grace of Christ, they were ordered to be beheaded. In this manner the Holy Martyrs received the unfading crown of martyrdom.