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By Michael S. Bauml

Imagine that you are doing well in your job, so well, in fact, that the CEO of your company has taken notice of you. Your thoughts turn to things like a promotion and a raise. You come home from work and find an invitation from your CEO to attend his son's birthday party with your spouse and your children. Things are looking up, so of course you reply that you will attend.

The day of the birthday party arrives, and you and your family travel to the CEO's mansion. You are welcomed and talk turns to your future with the company. There is a lavish spread of various different foods, but before the feast begins, the CEO asks for quiet. He then declares that the food has been offered to the pagan goddess Fortuna.

Your joyous mood suddenly turns. As Christians, you and your family know that you are not to partake of foods offered to idols. You politely refuse any food offered you, but the CEO notices this and is upset. He tells you that if you do not join in and be a company player, you can forget about any talk of promotion. You refuse again. The CEO becomes indignant and calls for some fellow employees to restrain you and your family. He orders that your children be tied to one of the trees on the grounds and tells you that he will torture them until you agree to eat the food offered to the goddess. Your day of joy has become a nightmare!

What would you do? Would you continue to refuse? Would you say or do anything to save your children? Could any of us really know what we would do?

I can tell you what the Holy Martyrs Hesperous, his Wife Zoa, and their children, Kyriakos and Theodoulos, did. They refused undo death. In fact when their children were being lacerated with iron implements, they counseled them to persevere to the end for the faith. How awesome was their faith and their belief in the words of Christ concerning this world and the coming resurrection. They are an inspiration for us all, as well as a wake up call to the work we need to do on our personal faith.

You can find the story of the Holy Martyrs Hesperous and his Wife Zoa on May 2nd in our new Saints by the Day section of our website. Their story, along with literally hundreds of others, can be found by selecting the month and the day you wish to read.

On December 28th we remember the 20,000 Martyrs burned at Nicomedia when they refused to leave their church and burned along with it as they prayed. It is hard to imagine such faith and commitment, yet the saints and the martyrs serve as an example to what we should aspire to be. Perhaps when we are thinking more like the Pharasee than the Publican, when we are tired, and think we have done enough for Christ and His Church, when we complain about the length of the services, and the requests for support, wee should take the time to revisit the lives of these amazing Christian forefathers to remind ourselves that we have much work to do.

Another use for the Saints by Day section is to help pick a name for a new baby. In our Parish Info section of our website, under parish guidelines, it states: Choosing the name is the right of the parents or, in the case of an adult, by the adult... with the consultation of the priest. On the eight day after birth, the priest gives the name at a special prayer service. The name must be that of an Orthodox Christian Saint, not one chosen at random. Children should be taught about their patron Saints as guides for their lives. Since each baptized Christian chooses one patron Saint, only one name is given at the Baptism - not two. The name should match the patron Saint's name in English and not be altered. Altering the Saint's name violates the Orthodox practice of honoring and venerating the Saints. (Example: using William instead of Basil).

If you can, from time to time, visit our Saints by Day section of the website and pick any day of the year and read about the lives of these truly exceptional Christians. I believe you will find it inspiring as I do.

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