October 18, 2017

Holy New Martyrs Gabriel and Kyrmidoles of Egypt (+ 1522)

Sts. Gabriel and Kyrmidoles of Egypt (Feast Day - October 18)


Both Kyrmidoles and Gabriel,
Contested together and were crowned together.

Gabriel and Kyrmidoles were born and raised in Egypt during the reigns of Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) and his son Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566). Both young men had wealthy and pious parents, and received a good education.

The two Christian brothers lived in Cairo next to a mosque, and were secretaries to some very high government officials. One day they were accused before Emir Haer Mek of Egypt by some neighbors, mostly out of envy, of being in the habit of throwing their garbage against the wall of the mosque next door to them. The Muslims considered this to be a great dishonor and insult to Islam.

Hearing this, the Emir sent soldiers to bring the two brothers before him. Though they were young and handsome, they were very firm in their adherence to their Orthodox Christian faith when the Emir began to flatter them and question them about their faith. Their answers enraged the Muslim soldiers present, so they demanded they convert to Islam. To this the brothers replied: "We will not deny the faith we received from our forefathers, but we will remain unshaken and very firm in it until the end. We find your religion disgraceful and turn away from it as false and fruitless."

As the brothers were being questioned by the judge, who flattered them at first and then threatened them with torture and death if they did not convert, their mother came to see them. But when the Muslims noticed her, they fell upon her and tore her clothing, then they gave her a thorough beating. When the brothers saw this, they stood up and rebuked the judge for the injustice, and informed him that they were ready to die in the name of Christ.

When one of the Muslims heard this, he became so angry that he took out a knife and stabbed Kyrmidoles in the chest, while someone else kicked him to the ground and beat him. After this an Arab took a large stone and dropped it on his head, then they plucked out his eyes. In this way Kyrmidoles delivered his soul to the Lord. Immediately after this, Gabriel was thrown to the ground and one of the soldiers severed his right shoulder, then he proceeded to cut off his head.

The Muslim soldiers then took the bodies of the Holy Martyrs to a place called Himer Ilgumen (that is, Soldier's Tents) where they lit a large fire and threw the bodies into it. It took more than two days for their bodies to be reduced to ashes, and their remains were sold to Christians. Gabriel's skull, which survived, was initially sold by a soldier in secret to a Christian goldsmith named Elias, the son of Mufra. He in turn gave the skull to Patriarch Joachim of Alexandria (1487-1567). Later the skull was buried with much ceremony at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo.

A Divine Office to the Saints can be found in codex 379 of the Patriarchal Library in Cairo.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
The honorable coffin, of your relics, is embraced by the faithful, who reverently draw healing from it, all-praised Kyrmidoles; wherefore we entreat, that you always and cease not to entreat, with your fellow-contestant Gabriel, that we may be delivered from dangers and afflictions, we who honor your divine relics.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
The praiseworthy memory, of the Martyrs has shined, let the faithful celebrate, and sing hymns with faith, crying out with understanding: You are the strength of the Martyrs O Christ.