January 22, 2018

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs of Adrianople (813 - 815)

Holy Martyrs of Adrianople (Feast Day - January 22)


To Manuel.
Manuel was cut in two by the sword,
Honoring the undivided two natures of Christ.

To George and Peter.
George and Peter, commonly revered,
Were commonly beheaded and have the common grace of the Master.

To Leo.
Inexpressible was the eagerness of Leo,
Struck by the sword in the stomach.

To Gabriel and Sionios.
Fright was far from Gabriel and far from Sionios,
When the sword was stretched near to their necks.

To John and Leo.
The generals are not terrified by the sword,
Noble John and Leo.

To Parodos.
Handfuls of stones were cast at Parodos,
Passing from life on a pleasant path.

To the Three Hundred and Seventy Seven.
Five times twenty times three were slain by the sword,
Joined together by seven times eleven.

All of the above Saints, being from different provinces and places, settled in Adrianople. Then the thankless and forgetful Bulgarians came to battle against the Romans. Having taken the Christians of Thrace and Macedonia captive, they also sought to attack the Queen of cities Constantinople. Therefore they arrived at Adrianople, and waiting for three days they seized it. When these things happened, Leo the Armenian the iconoclast was emperor, and Krum was leader of the Bulgarian nation, in the year 815. When Krum entered Adrianople and took possession of it,* he expelled from there 40,000 Christians, together with the most-holy Bishop of Adrianople, who they threw onto the ground, and trampled on his throat. When Krum died, his successor in authority over the Bulgarians was Dukum. And Dukum having died, the ruler of the Bulgarians was Ditzevg,** who was a man both terrible and inhuman, who cut in half the Bishop of Adrianople, whose name was Manuel, and after cutting off his arms at the shoulders, he had him cast to the wild beasts to be devoured. Due to his ferocity, he was struck by the hand of God with the inability to see and blindness, and he was killed by his own people.

Murtagan then succeeded in ruling and leading the Bulgarians, who killed all the Christians that refused to deny Christ. Others he had bound, and they underwent torment and torture, while others he punished with inhuman punishments, removing them from this present life. With them the holy Bishop George of Develtos and Bishop Peter they inhumanly beat with rods, and then cut off their holy heads. Another 377 were also put to death by the sword. Also Leo and John, the generals of the Christians, were beheaded. The holy Bishop Leo of Nicaea, who appeared to be a eunuch, had his stomach ripped open by a sword. Gabriel and Sionios were beheaded. The most-sacred Presbyter Parodos was condemned to be stoned. And many other Christians with various punishments were tormented and put to death by the inhuman one. Not only did the impious Murtagan do this, but also other rulers of Bulgaria, who received succession of his rule. And they, namely all the villainous, put many Christians to death by various tortures.***


* Krum entered Adrianople in 813.

** The reigns of Dukum and Ditzevg were so short, that aside from the Synaxarion of Constantinople they are unknown to historians.

*** Either Joseph of Thessaloniki or Joseph the Hymnographer composed a Canon in their honor, where about 25 other martyrs are named.

It should be noted also that Theodore the Studite composed a short sermon based on eye-witness accounts concerning fourteen martyrs put to death for refusing to eat meat, likely to have been prisoners-of-war released by the Bulgars after the peace treaty of 816. It could be that it was based on their testimony, now lost, that the above account was written, which together with the Menologion of Basil II is the only text that describes this persecution.