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September 2, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Mamas the Martyr

On the second of this month [September], we commemorate the Holy Martyr Mamas.


With vigorous faith in the Trinity Mamas,
You were steadfast being wounded with the edge of the trident.
On the second the trident poured out the bowels of Mamas.

The Holy Martyr Mamas was from the city of Gangra in Paphlagonia, the son of Christian parents who had confessed their faith in Christ.* When his parents were captured by the Greeks and placed in prison for their faith in Christ, then the blessed Mamas was born in there to his imprisoned mother, in the year 260. Since after his parents had prayed, and departed to the Lord in prison perfected, the renowned Mamas remained an orphan. For this reason a wealthy Christian woman named Ammia took the child and raised him. Because he would continuously call his adoptive mother "Mama," she decided to call him Mamas.**

When he was fifteen years old, the Greeks captured him for being a Christian, and he was beaten with rods. Then they hanged lead from his neck, and with this he was thrown into the sea. He was rescued from drowning in the sea however by divine power, and went to hide in a cave. There he was found being nourished on the milk of deer.

Again he was captured by the Greeks,*** and cast in a burning furnace. Then he was thrown to wild beasts to be eaten. From these he remained unharmed. Then he was thoroughly pierced in his inward parts with an iron spear and trident, and by this departed this present life, and went to the Lord to receive the crown of the contest.****


* His parents were called Theodotos and Rufina, and are both commemorated as Saints on this day.

** It is said that the Saint remained speechless for five years after his birth. Then in Latin he said the word "Mama," which is why he was then called Mamas.

*** The governor sent a detachment of soldiers to arrest Mamas. When they encountered Saint Mamas on the mountain, the soldiers did not recognize him, and mistook him for a simple shepherd. The Saint then invited them to his dwelling, gave them a drink of milk and then told them his name, knowing that death for Christ awaited him. The servant of God told the soldiers to go on ahead of him into Caesarea, promising that he would soon follow. The soldiers waited for him at the gates of the city, and Saint Mamas, accompanied by a lion, met them there. This is why Saint Mamas is often depicted in his icons riding a lion.

**** We are told that when Mamas was pierced with the spear and trident in his inward parts, he left the theater holding his bowels in his hands, which had poured out. And going one stade out of the city of Caesarea, he died. Later his adopted mother Ammia built a beautiful and magnificent church in honor of Saint Mamas. The people of Caesarea celebrated his memory every year in this church in the spring, and at one time Gregory the Theologian, in the presence of Basil the Great, gave a panegyric discourse there in 383 (Oration 44), on the Sunday of Thomas. Basil the Great speaks thus about the Holy Martyr Mamas in a sermon dedicated to him to the people: "Be ye mindful of the Martyr; as many of you as have enjoyed him in your dreams, as many as in this place have been assisted by him in prayer, as many of you as upon invoking him by name have had him present in your works, as many as he has reduced into the way from wandering, as many as he has restored to health, as many as have had their dead children restored by him to life, as many as have had their lives prolonged by him: let us all come together as one, and praise the Martyr!"

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Holy descendant of martyrs, thou didst eagerly follow their steps: while preaching the Savior's Name thou wast marvelous in contest. Wise and glorious Mamas, pray to Christ out God to save us.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Shepherd thy people in life-giving pastures/,with the staff given thee by God. And crush the invisible enemies beneath the feet of those who praise thee. For all in danger have thee, as a fervent intercessor, O holy Mamas.