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October 30, 2018

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Asterios, Claudius, Neon and Neonilla

Sts. Claudius, Asterios, Neon and Neonilla (Feast Day - October 30)


To Asterios, Claudius and Neon.
Claudius, Asterios as well as Neon,
Contesting by the sword, were seen as new stars.

To Neonilla.
Neonilla was stretched out on the wood,
Doing away with the ancient wood's deceit.

During the first consulate of Diocletian, when Lysias was governor of Cilicia in the year 288, these Saints contested who were Christian siblings that lived together, and had much wealth. With them was their stepmother, because their mother had earlier died, and afterward their father died also. Because the stepmother sought to unjustly hold the belongings of their parents, she betrayed them to the governor, accusing them of being Christians. These youth, standing before the governor, said to him: "We now disdain all our belongings, O governor, and on behalf of our faith we will endure all evil that will follow us. Our stepmother, who was not well chosen to replace our mother, knew that she did not betray us to you to protect the religion of your gods. No. Rather she is seeking to unjustly take the inheritance of our father and mother, since it consists of much." When the governor heard this, it seemed that he agreed with the purpose of their stepmother, and he wanted to put the Saints to death, in order for him to also acquire a portion of their parental inheritance.

Therefore he immediately ordered that Claudius spread out the four parts of his body on the ground, so that his back could be lacerated with rods. They then suspended him by his hands, while his feet were burnt with lit coals. Then they cut into his sides with sharp brass. They then crushed him with bricks, and burnt him with papyrus plants. Meanwhile the Saint heard the governor say to him: "Sacrifice to the gods that you may escape this." He responded: "As I told you once, for the faith of Christ, I disdain even this death. Therefore do as you want, O judge." Thus when he was taken down from the wood, he was cast into prison.

After this Asterios stood before the court, and Lysias said to him: "What is your name?" Because the Saint remained silent, the governor ordered that the teeth of the Martyr be smashed. As long as it took for his teeth to be smashed, the whiner yelled: "Sacrifice to the gods and save your life!" Despite the punishment he endured, the Martyr upon hearing the whiner did not cease to respond, saying: "Do whatever you want, O governor, do it and do not be neglectful. For I do not wish to deny Christ my God." Then he was suspended, and his sides were lacerated. They also burnt his feet, since they laid out underneath lit coals. After this they beat him with rods, then cast him into prison.

Then Neon stood in court. When he also was asked what his name was, he answered: "If you want to learn my name, O governor, know that I am called Neon. Have no hope to learn more beyond this. For I am the brother of Claudius and Asterios, who were punished before me. It is not possible to separate from them. But for my confession of Christ, behold now I stand before you. Therefore delay not to do what you wish." Thus he was spread out over the ground and harshly beaten, and under his feet were laid out lit coals. After beating him for a long time, they cast him into prison.

The next day, Lysias sat in the court, and brought before him Saint Claudius, saying to him: "Tell us if you have changed and considered better thoughts?" The Saint responded: "Today I stand before you brave and fearless, more than yesterday. For while I was being tortured I became stronger and braver." Therefore they immediately tied his hands and feet and suspended him, and brought out mechanical instruments, that enter into the joints and lock the members of the body. They also brought out tongs, in order to remove the soles of his feet and hands from their place. After a long time they brought him down half-dead and cast him into prison.

Saint Asterios then stood in the court, and saw Lysias, who said to him: "What do you say? Have you considered sacrificing to the gods, to be liberated from tortures?" The Martyr answered: "He who believes in the true God, and has all his hopes in him, does not regard death, but disdains it, even if he has to endure a myriad of tortures." Then Lysias said: "Hang him up, and lacerate his sides, cut off his hands and feet, and with a fiery spit burn his thighs." When this took place, and the Martyr felt severe pain, he said: "When God sees that which you are doing to his servant, impious one, may he return the justice appropriately."

Lysias then ordered for Saint Asterios to be cast into prison, and he brought Neon before him. Because he also remained unchanged in his faith, he was again made to lay down on the ground and he was lacerated with ox-hide. When his entire body was wounded, he was cast into prison.

The governor then ordered for the sister of the Saints to be brought out, Neonilla. Because he found her to be more firm than a rock in her faith in Christ, he ordered that her face be beaten. They then tied her up by her feet and suspended her, then they whipped her feet. After this they hung her up by the hairs of her head. Then they shaved her head to dishonor her. And spreading her out by her four members, they lacerated her body with raw hides. Then laying her down on her back, they placed on her breasts and womb lit coals. In this way the blessed one delivered her soul into the hands of God. Her honorable body was then placed into a sack and cast into the sea. The Holy Martyrs Claudius, Asterios and Neon were beheaded outside of the city, and their bodies were thrown to the beasts and the birds to be devoured. In this way they met their blessed end, these Holy victorious in Christ Martyrs and siblings, and received the crown of the contest.