March 13, 2019

Holy Martyrs Africanus, Pompeius and Terence

Sts. Africanus, Pompeius and Terence (Feast Day - March 13)


Three martyrs together, were crowned through the sword,
Crowned with as many needed iambic crowns.

The Holy Martyrs Africanus, Pompeius and Terence suffered during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251), after he issued a decree ordering all of his subject to sacrifice to the idols.

When the decree was received by the ruler of Carthage, Fortunianus, he had all the people gather in the square, showed them terrible instruments of torture, and declared that all without exception should sacrifice to the idols. Many who called themselves Christians, frightened by the prospect of torture, agreed to sacrifice, but forty Christians led by Saint Terence declared their loyalty to their Savior, Jesus Christ. Fortunianus had Terence and his three closest companions, Africanus,  Pompeius and Maximus, imprisoned.

Meanwhile, the other thirty-six Martyrs, including Zenon, Alexander and Theodore, were given over to be tortured, then brought to the temple to sacrifice to the idols. By their prayers, however, the idols fell and the temple was destroyed in a miraculous manner. For this reason, they were executed by being beheaded, and in this way they received crowns of martyrdom.

After this, Terence, Africanus, Pompeius and Maximus were shown the decapitated bodies of their fellow Christians, and were offered the opportunity to escape with their lives if they only sacrificed. They refused. For this they were bound and thrown back in prison, where they were forced to starve. That night an Angel of the Lord appeared and removed their fetters. When this was seen the next morning, snakes and scorpion were put in their prison cell through a hole in the roof, but by their prayers the snakes crawled at their feet and did not harm them. Instead, when the executioners opened the prison doors, the reptiles stung and bit them. Fortunianus therefore ordered them to be beheaded, and their bodies were taken by Christians and buried them outside the city.

According to Theodore the Reader, the relics of the Holy Martyrs Africanus,  Pompeius and Terence were translated during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) on September 21st to the Monastery of Saint Euthymia in the Petra district of Constantinople. Their Synaxis was later celebrated on March 13th in the Monastery of Paulopetrion on the Gulf of Nicomedia in Bithynia. These Saints are commemorated together on October 28th, March 13th, April 5th and April 10th.