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August 22, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Anthousa and the Holy Martyrs Athanasios, Charisimos and Neophytos

Sts. Anthousa, Athanasios, Charisimos and Neophytos (Feast Day - August 22)


To Anthousa.
In the land of Seleucia there blossomed forth a rose,
Anthousa was received into the hands of Angels.

To Athanasios.
Athanasios was beheaded by the sword,
Alive in Christ he lives with His appointed friends.

To the Servants.
Two servants were found to be both beheaded,
Having destroyed of old their noble birth.

Saint Anthousa lived during the reign of Emperor Valerian (253-260), and was from the city of Seleucia which is found in Syria. She was the daughter of Anthony and Maria, who were very wealthy, attached however to the religion of the idols. Secretly therefore she believed in Christ, wanted to receive Holy Baptism, and desired to see Bishop Athanasios, who preached the word of God in Tarsus of Cilicia.

After persuading her mother, she was given two mules, one of which was ridden by the Saint, and she took with her two of her eunuchs and servants, Charisimos and Neophytos, pretending that she was going to see her caregiver. As she was traveling along the road, an awesome wonder took place. Athanasios was taken up by Holy Angels, and arriving at the road he stood before Anthousa. When the Saint saw this, and she found out this was the Athanasios that she sought, she fell at his feet, and begged him to perfect her with Holy Baptism.

Because there was no water to be found there, for this purpose Saint Athanasios prayed, and immediately a fountain of water issued forth from under the earth. At the fountain two Angels in the form of soldiers appeared, who gave the Saint two white garments. Thus she and her two servants were baptized. She then gave the Bishop the precious garment inlaid with gold that she wore, in order for him to sell it and distribute the money to the poor. Then the thrice-blessed one wore a humble and worthless garment, and in this way she went to her caregiver. Her caregiver rejected her, reproaching and criticizing her, because she believed in Christ, and wore such a worthless garment. Going to her mother, she found her also grieved, because her daughter believed in the name of Christ.

The Saint therefore left her mother and caregiver, and went to the already mentioned Saint Athanasios, and through him she became a nun, and wore a garment made of goats hair. Lifting on her shoulders the cross of Christ, she went into the desert, where she lived for twenty years among the wild beasts, from whom she received food by Divine Providence. Having withstood many demonic temptations, she delivered her soul in peace into the hands of God, positioning herself as is proper for the dead on a rock which she used for a bed.

Bishop Athanasios had been arrested by Greek pagans, and brought before Emperor Valerian. He received many punishments through rods, and finally was beheaded. Also the two previously mentioned servants of blessed Anthousa, Charisimos and Neophytos, because their mistress had withdrawn into the desert, and Bishop Athanasios had been martyred, they also went before Valerian and confessed themselves to be Christians, anathematizing the idols and those who worship them. The emperor had them sent to the duke Apellianos. Having confessed Christ also before him, he had them suspended and lacerated for three entire hours. Then having been beaten with rods, their honorable heads were finally cut off, and thus entered as crown-bearers into heaven. Their Synaxis and Feast is celebrated in the place called Iptoichna.