July 17, 2017

The Holy 15,000 Martyrs of Pisidia with Many Women

15,000 Martyrs and Many Women of Pisidia (Feast Day - July 16)


To the Fifteen Thousand Martyrs of Pisidia.
Divine athletes were five and ten,
Thousand and were beheaded being as one on earth.

To the Women Martyrs.
Many women, unknown how many,
Though unknown to us, Christ knows them, having been beheaded.

During the trials of Saint Marina of Pisidia, at one point a huge cauldron was filled with water. She was then fettered to wood and raised above it, with her head down, and she was slowly lowered into the cauldron in order to be drowned. As they were about to immerse her, she prayed that the water may count towards her baptism, since she had not previously been baptized a Christian. As she entered the water, she was loosed from her bonds, stood up straight, and a dove of light shined on the head of Marina, holding a crown, and the dove spoke, saying: "Peace to you, O handmaiden of God. Take courage, and receive from the right hand of the Most High this heavenly crown." There also appeared a fiery column with a radiant Cross on top, and the dove perched atop the radiant Cross, and said to Marina so all could hear: "Come to the upper mansions of Paradise, O godly bride Marina, to enjoy the incorruptible crown in the beloved tents of God, so you may eternally rejoice with the choirs of the saints in a place of rest."

All of the dwellers of that city heard this divine voice. They feared and trembled and, forthwith, many believed in Christ. Numberless crowds of men and women cried aloud that they were ready to receive death for Christ, the true God, and they renounced the pagan idols. When the eparch heard them reviling the emperor and the gods, he ordered that they be killed. The soldiers of the tyrant were unleashed on them, and about 15,000 men were slaughtered,* not counting the women which they left unnumbered. Hence, all were baptized in their sacred blood; they needed no other baptism. Having sacrificed their lives for Christ, they were in turn translated to the eternal Kingdom. Thus, Marina was the cause of salvation for many. These holy martyrs were sent to her heavenly Bridegroom before her final contest. For this reason they are celebrated by the Church on July 16th, the day prior to the feast of Saint Marina.


* This is the number according to the Synaxarion of Constantinople, though other sources say they were 5,000, while others say 1,015.