September 29, 2016

Holy Martyrs Gobdelaha, Dada, Kasdios and Kasdoa of Persia

Sts. Gobdelaha, Dada, Kasdios and Kasdoa (Feast Day - September 29)


To Gobdelaha
Gobdelaha is pierced by reeds and dies,
Honoring my Christ, who was struck by a reed.

To Dada
Your entire body was hacked in pieces by a sword,
Saving your spirit, Martyr Dada of the Highest.

To Kasdios and Kasdoa
Kasdios and Kasdoa contested as one,
He slain by a blade, while she struck by wood.

Dada was a high officer at the Persian court during the reign of King Shapur II (310-79), and he was also a Christian and relative of the King. When he was sent to govern some provincial Persian cities, he did not conceal his Christian faith, but worshiped Christ openly. This was made known to the King, for which he sent his highest man of rank named Adramelech to inquire into the matter. When he found Dada indeed having reverence towards Christ, he wrote to the King, who replied that Adramelech was given authority to punish any Christian he found. The King sent this letter through the hands of his son named Gobdelaha.

Dada was therefore brought to trial before Adramelech and Gobdelaha. Dada confessed before them with his whole heart his faith in Christ. For this it was ordered that a furnace be prepared for Dada to be cast in. As Dada approached the high flames of the furnace, which frightened those standing near, he made the sign of the Cross over it, and immediately the flames vanquished, and instead of fire there came forth water from the furnace. Those who witnessed this wonder were astonished.

Gobdelaha then asked Dada: "Dada, who taught you such magic?" He replied: "You also can be taught to do such things through the teachings of my Christ if you wanted." Gobdelaha said: "If I believe in your Christ, then I will be given the power to do similar things?" The Martyr responded: "Not only will you do such things, but you will also reign together with Christ Himself." Gobdelaha then ordered another furnace to be lit, and when he called upon the name of Christ, it immediately vanquished. He therefore fell at the feet of the Saint, and believed in Christ.

When Adramelech saw this, they went to present themselves before the King. Gobdelaha then stood before his father the King, and informed him that he was now a Christian. The King then ordered for his son to be beaten by four soldiers with thorny rods. And when these four soldiers grew tired, another four came and resumed the beating. Meanwhile the Martyr of Christ, who was beaten everywhere on his body, silently asked God for patience to endure these torments. Then an Angel of the Lord appeared to him who strengthened and encouraged him, saying: "Do not fear, for I am with you." He was then cast into prison for five days.

After these things the King gave authority to another man named Gargalos to punish not only the son of the King, but also all Christians. Gargalos therefore ordered Gobdelaha to be thrashed with a cowhide. Then Gargalos ordered that he be tight up tightly with two ropes from his head to his feet and cast into prison, thinking that Christ could not heal him now. But the Saint was later found to be both unbound and healthy. For this Gargalos went before the King and told him of this. The King therefore ordered his son to be killed, for he no longer considered him a son, but one who committed treachery against him by believing in Christ.

Gargalos therefore had a flaming spit prepared, in order to pass it through one ear of the Saint to the other. When this took place, the Saint was again thrown in prison and he prayed. Suddenly an Angel of the Lord appeared and removed the spit from the ears of the Saint and healed him. When Gargalos saw the Martyr healed, he had him beaten with the cowhide again and thrown back into prison. The next day the Martyr was beaten with thorny rods, and his flesh was torn at with iron claws, thinking that Christ could not heal him of such wounds. But again the Saint prayed and he was healed, for which he thanked and glorified God. When the other prisoners saw these things, they exclaimed: "Great is the God of the Christians."

Hearing of this, Gargalos became enraged. So he ordered that Gobdelaha be loaded with pieces of iron on his shoulders and to be hung up. He hung like this from the third hour until the ninth hour. The Saint prayed during this time. He was then taken down and put back into prison. At this time the mother of the Martyr as well as his sister Kasdoa desired to see him, but they feared the King.

When the King found out from Gargalos that Gobdelaha was still alive, he ordered for him to be beaten on the head and neck with skins then to cover his head with the skin and be put back into prison. When the King found out he was still alive the next day, he ordered that all his nails be extracted from his hands and feet, and to have four of his teeth removed, then to be thrown back in prison like a dead dog. He also ordered that he not be given even a drop of water to drink, and that no visitors were allowed to visit him.

But his sister Kasdoa dared to secretly visit him in prison, and she gave water to her beloved brother. And she warned the prison guard that if he revealed what she did, he would be surely ordered by the King to be beheaded. Then Christ's athlete, who until then asked for consolation and healing from God, because his faith in Christ was not still firm, now asked for inspiration and patience and eagerness to endure the torments. He then received this from the Holy Spirit, but instead of being healed, he healed others of their wounds. This astounded everyone. Even a magician who was in the prison that was also named Gargalos, who was there for the many wicked things he did, and who saw the patience of the Saint and all the miracles, fell at his feet and said: "I entreat you, servant of God, remember me before your Christ." The Saint said to him: "Believe in Him, and He will redeem you of all your sins." Gargalos then said: "I believe in You Lord Jesus Christ." And from that moment he clung to Saint Gobdelaha.

The next day Gobdelaha and the former magician Gargalos stood before the other wicked Gargalos, and he ordered that the former magician be stripped and beaten with rods. While being beaten, he looked up towards heaven and prayed: "Lord Jesus Christ, I suffer for Your name, strengthen me." Saying this, he delivered his soul into the hands of God. Then Gobdelaha's feet were placed in a wooden spool and crushed. Then heated iron balls were placed under his armpits, and he was put back into prison. Those in prison who were also wounded anointed themselves with the blood flowing from the Martyr, and they were healed. Even the sick came and found healing, and they departed glorifying God. When the ruler Gargalos heard about this, he could not believe it, so after fifteen days he found that the Saint was healthy and whole. Instead of softening up and believing, he became even more hardened, and ordered a cauldron full of pitch be prepared, and for the Saint to be cast in. The Saint, after he looked up to heaven and prayed, entered into the cauldron and it broke apart, so that he emerged unharmed.

After this Gargalos had the Martyr crucified naked and ordered that from a distance arrows were to be cast at him. But when the arrows were cast, they stopped in mid-air and stayed there, and one even returned and hit an archer in the eye. The King therefore sent his daughter Kasdoa to try to persuade her brother with sweet words to deny his faith, but instead she was catechized by him and she became a Christian. This enraged their father the King, so he ordered her to be beaten harshly with rods and cast into prison.

When Kasdoa was in prison, she was in pain from the beating and the lashes, and asked her brother to pray that she not suffer any more torments. Her brother then assured her that from that moment God would not allow her to suffer any more torment. The King then had Gobdelaha removed from prison and ordered that he be bound hand and foot and thrown to the feet of his wild horses. He spent the entire night there so as to be trampled on and receive a violent death. But the next morning the Saint was not only unharmed, but also unbound. Then after burning his body with a burning spit, they had two hooks placed through his hands, to hang him from two pieces of wood three forearms in distance from each other. The brave athlete did not cease praying and glorifying God.

Two Christian Presbyters named Dadies and Audies witnessed all these sufferings of the Saint, and wrote them all down secretly. Gobdelaha requested for them to bring water and oil so that he may be baptized. They said to the Saint that God would send a cloud over him and and like a fountain would pour out water and wine so that he would be baptized. And when this took place, a voice from above was heard saying: "Servant of God Gobdelaha, behold you have received Holy Baptism." Then the face of the Saint was illumined with light, and a strong fragrance came from him. The athlete therefore praised and glorified the Savior Christ.

The Saint then was taken down and was pricked with reeds all over his body, from his head to his feet. After suffering this a long time, and with his mind completely focused on God, he delivered his soul into the hands of God. Gargalos, not satisfied with this, ordered the feet of the Saint be bound to wild horses, and that the soldiers were to beat the horses to run over rocky ground, so that the body of the Saint would be divided into pieces to the point of completely disappearing. When this was done, he took what was left of the Martyr's body and divided it into three pieces, to throw to the birds and dogs for food. However, the above mentioned Priests, Dadies and Audies, purchased these pieces of his sacred relic at a high price, and they took them with their Deacon Armazadak to their homes. Wrapping them with aromatic herbs and sheets, they buried them with reverence.

Saint Dada, the glorious one and relative of the King, after undergoing various torments, was finally cut into pieces, and was thus perfected in the Lord. Fellow Christians took up the pieces of his body, and buried them in a sacred and honorable manner. When the above mentioned Priests were gathered with the other Christians for an all-night vigil, at around midnight Saint Gobdelaha appeared in their midst, and said: "Be strong in the Lord brethren. Be firm and unmoved. And do not fear the killing of the body, but the killing of the soul." When the Priests saw the Saint, they rejoiced. The Martyr continued: "The Lord will repay you your wages, for the labors you endure." And bowing his head, he said to Dadies: "Take the Holy Myrrh, as well as the Honorable Body of Christ, and go into the imperial grounds, to chrismate my sister Kasdoa, and commune her of the Holy Body of the Lord." Dadies therefore took those things and went. As soon as he reached the door of the palace, he saw an Angel which led him inside. After baptizing Kasdoa, he chrismated her. Then he communed her of the Immaculate Mysteries, saying: "Go and sleep until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Immediately then the Angel took her holy soul and ascended to the heavens.

Another relative of the King, whose name was Kasdios, was beaten with a wooden sword in the name of Christ, and he departed to the Lord. The next morning the Queen went down into the prison and she found her daughter dead. Saddened she went to her husband the King and rebuked him for torturing and killing his son and his daughter, but the merciless King was unmoved and unsympathetic. So the Queen wrapped the body of her daughter with fragrant herbs and she buried her with her son Saint Gobdelaha, to the glory of God.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
You abandoned your royal office as perishable, and you followed the eternal King glorious one, and contested firmly on His behalf, suffering irresistible torments, for which we honor you with songs of praise Gobdelaha, crying out: Glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you all manner of healings.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Your soul received, the splendor of piety, your father was left, with all his delusion and glory, you contested on behalf of the Lord brave-mindedly, suffering the manifold torments firmly, which is why we cry out to you: Rejoice, O glorious Martyr Gobdelaha.

Rejoice, Champion Gobdelaha, the firm athlete for the love of Christ, together with your sister the all-revered Kasdoa, on our behalf plead for the forgiveness of offenses.