September 26, 2019

Synaxarion of the Holy Five Canonical Virgins Thekla, Mariamna, Martha, Maria and Ennatha

The Holy Five Virgin Martyrs (Feast Day - September 26 and June 9)


For June 9.
For the love of money the Canonicals,
Were slain by the sacrificer; O unfortunate sacrificer!

For September 26.
The Five Virgins longed only for Christ,
For the love of money the father killed them all together.

During the reign of King Shapur of Persia in the year 330, there was a Priest named Paul near the village called Aza, who being rich, he had with him five Canonicals, namely Virgin Nuns, who were adorned with the brilliance of the virtues. He served as a priest and chanted with them, while whatever money the Canonicals had they would give to him, and he would treasure them. The devil, who is a hater of good, being unable to behold the progress according to God of the Canonicals, which every day and hour was increased, and extended before him, what did the most-wicked one devise? Through a certain Persian named Nirse, news about this passed on to the arch-magi who in turn passed it on to the King, namely that "there is a certain wealthy Christian Priest, and if you want, O master, to gain his wealth, have him stand before you with the Virgins he has. And because they will not deny their faith, you will gain all his wealth."

Immediately the arch-magi had the Priest with the Canonicals and Virgins brought before him, together with all his belongings. Then Satan entered into the heart of the Priest, and said to the arch-magi: "Why did you take my money, when I have done you no evil?" The arch-magi replied: "Because you are a Christian, and do not keep the edict of the King." Paul responded: "And what do you order me to do?" The arch-magi said: "If you worship the sun, and eat blood, then take the money, and go home." Then the wretched Paul, turning here and there, saw his money, and all his other things thrown on the ground, and was drawn to them. He thus replied with this pitiful answer: "All that you told me, O master, all will I do." Therefore the wretch worshiped - alas! - the sun, and ate blood from the sacrifices, drinking it as well. Because the arch-magi failed in his purpose, and was unable to take the wealth of the wretched Paul, he said to him: "Persuade the Virgins subject to you, to also do the same as you, and to take husbands, then you will receive back your riches, and can go wherever you want." Paul then went to the Virgins, and said to them: "The arch-magi took our money, and had me stand before his tribunal, urging me to do what was ordered by the King. I therefore worshiped the sun, and fire, and ate and drank the blood of the sacrifices. He urges you also through me to do the same as I did, and in this way you will get back your money and other things, and can go to your home."

When the Virgins heard this, together they spit in his face, and said: "Wretched man, first you dared to commit such a great sin, and now without shame you are urging us to do the same? Behold, you have made yourself a second Judas by your betrayal. For just as he, because of money, betrayed our Teacher and Master Christ to death, and not having gained it after the betrayal, he went off and hanged himself, so also you, wretched one, like a second Judas, sold your soul for silver, not remembering, miserable one, the riches of the one who had a lot of money and an inheritance, who would say: 'My soul, you have many good things. Eat, drink and be merry.' For this reason he heard it said to him: 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' We therefore say to you, as if we are standing before God, that these two examples, of Judas and the Rich Man, have been fulfilled in you." After this they spit in his face a second time, as an apostate of the faith of Christ.

Then by an order of the arch-magi, the five Virgins were beaten without mercy for a long time. As the renowned ones were being beaten with rods, they would say: "We worship our Lord Jesus Christ, and the edict of the King we do not obey, therefore that which you want to do to us, do it." The arch-magi tried in every way to gain the riches of the wretched Paul. He therefore decided to behead the honorable Virgins, at the hands of Paul himself. The purpose behind this decision was as follows: If Paul would not be persuaded to kill them himself, then he would find a reason to take the money, and kill him together with the Virgins.

When the wretched one heard and found out the purpose of the arch-magi, he immediately turned and saw his money, and he was conquered by his love and longing for it. He therefore said to the arch-magi: "All that you ordered, all I will do." Being therefore blinded by avarice (O guard us Lord from such avarice!), the thrice-wretched one took the sword, and he approached the Virgins to behead them. When the Saints saw him coming over them, they remained unmoved. Hence with one voice the five cried out to him: "Wretched and miserable one, having been a shepherd, do you now come as a wild wolf to kill your flock? This is the honorable Body, and this is the holy Blood of the Lord, which we took from your unclean hands, and received them? O how very blind you are! Know, lawless one, that the sword and death which we are receiving today at your word, will become for us eternal life. And we are going to our Lord Jesus Christ. While you most unfortunate one of all men, will lose together with your riches your soul as well, and you will soon hang yourself with a rope, and will go to be with your companion and agreeable Judas, to be damned with him for eternity."

These and other such things were said by the blessed Virgins. After they prayed, they were beheaded by him. Then the arch-magi said to the Christ-betraying Paul with deceitfulness: "Know, O Paul, that I have never seen a man with as much cleverness and suitableness as you have. I will not be able to leave you therefore without the order of the King. When the King hears from me about your progress, he will want to raise you up with great honors. For now let us make merry together, and stay in this cell near me, and in the morning I will mention you to the King." The wretched one replied: "May it be done as you order." That night the arch-magi sent his servants to Paul, who tied him up with a rope around his neck, and they choked him. The arch-magi went there in the morning, and found him hanging, and said to the others that he hanged himself. Having been taken down from being hanged, he was cast to the dogs to be eaten. In this manner the wretched one lost his soul. The arch-magi gained all the money, and in this way all was fulfilled that was predicted by the holy women. The unfortunate Paul hanged himself, and received a double death of his soul and his body.