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March 3rd (III - 16)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of Martyrs Eutropios, Theodoritos and Kleonikos

Martyrs Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos (+ c. 308); Sabinus; Sebastian. Monastic Piama the Virgin (+ 337). Saints Zinon and Zoilos. Volokolamsk Icon of the Mother of God (1572).

The Holy Martyrs Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos suffered in the city of Pontine Amasia (Asia Minor) in about the year 308.

The brothers Eutropios and Kleonikos, and Basiliskos the nephew of the GreatMartyr Theodore of Tyre (Comm. 17 February), were comrades. After the martyr's death of Saint Theodore, they wound up in prison and by their preaching brought to the Christian faith many of the pagans located in prison with them.

When he tortured Saint Theodore, Publius perished shamefully, struck down by Divine wrath. Asclepiodotos was chosen governor of Pontine Amasia, and did not bend from the fierceness of his predecessor. Knowing the comrades of the martyr Theodore of Tyre were still all in prison, the governor commanded that they be brought to him. Saints Eutropios, Kleonikos and Basiliskos thus firmly confessed their faith in Christ in front of this new governor. They were mercilessly beaten, such that their bodies became entirely bruised. At the time of torture Saint Eutropios prayed loudly to the Saviour: "Grant us, O Lord, to endure the making of these wounds for the sake of the crown of martyrdom, and come in help to us, like as Thou camest to Thy servant Theodore". In answer to this prayer of the saint, there appeared to the martyrs the Lord Himself with Angels and together with them the holy GreatMartyr Theodore of Tyre, saying to them: "Behold, the Saviour is come in help to you, that ye may know about life eternal".

Soldiers and many of the people standing nearby were also granted to behold the Saviour. They began to urge Asclepiodotos to halt the tortures. Seeing, that the people were distraught and ready to believe in the True God, the governor commanded the martyrs to be taken away. The governor then invited Saint Eutropios to him at supper and urged him to publicly offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, yet remain a Christian in soul.

But Eutropios refused this offer.

On the following day they brought the martyrs to a pagan temple, so as to compel them by force to offer sacrifice. Eutropios thereupon began to entreat the Saviour: "Lord, be with us, and destroy the raging of the pagans. Grant, that on this place be offered a Christian Bloodless Sacrifice unto Thee, the True God". These last words of prayer had only just been spoken, when there began an earthquake, the walls of the temple began to collapse, and with them was smashed also the statue of the goddess Artemis. Everyone fled from the temple so as not to be crushed amidst the rubble. Amidst the noise of the earthquake was heard a voice from on high: "Your prayer is heard, and on this place shalt be built an house for Christian prayer".

When the earthquake ended, the governor Asclepiodotos, barely just recovered from fright, gave orders to drive high wooden stakes into the ground, tie the martyrs to them and pour boiling tar over them. The saints began to pray to God, and Eutropios cried out turning to the torturers: "May the Lord turn your deed against you!" And the tar began to flow aside the bodies of the martyrs, like water with marble, scorching the torturers. Those seeing this fled in terror, but the governor in his bitterness gave orders to rend their bodies with iron hooks and to sting their wounds with mustard, mixed with salt and vinegar. The saints endured these torments with remarkable firmness.

The following night before execution the saints spent their time at prayer, and again the Lord appeared to them and strengthened them.

On the morning of 3 March, Saints Eutropios and Kleonikos were crucified, but Basiliskos was left in prison.

They executed Saint Basiliskos on 22 May in the city of Komana. They beheaded him, and threw his body into a river. But christians found his remains and buried them in a ploughed field. Later at Komana was built a church in the name of Saint Basiliskos.

An account about the life of the holy martyr is located under 22 May.

The Monastic Piama pursued asceticism not far from Alexandria. The saint lived in the home of her mother, as in an hermitage: she partook of food at the end of the day, and after prayer she spun flax. Saint Piama was vouchsafed to receive the gift of insight. When the people of a nearby more populous village, bedazzled with greed, were ready to destroy the small village of the holy maiden, in order to divert water only to their own fields at the time of the overflowing of the Nile, Saint Piama discerned in spirit about this wicked intent and explained it to the village elders. The startled elders fell on their knees to the saint, imploring her to go to the neighbouring people and dissuade them from their evil purpose. The monastic Piama did not go for a meeting, since for a long time she shunned contact with people. The saint spent all night at prayer, and in the morning the people of the neighbouring habitation, having armed themselves and set off for the village of the holy maiden, suddenly stopped still and were not able to proceed further. The Lord revealed to the impious, that the prayer of Saint Piama held them back. The people came to their senses and repented of their wicked intent. They sent messengers to the village with a request for peace and said: "Thanks be to God, Who through the prayers of the maiden Piama hath delivered us". The saint expired peacefully to the Lord in the year 337.

The Volokolamsk Icon of the Mother of God -- is a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Moscow Uspenie cathedral. The icon was brought from Zvenigorod to the Uspenie monastery of the Monk Joseph of Volotsk on 2 March 1572, during the 2nd week of Great Lent and was solemnly met by hegumen Leonid (1563-1566; 1568-1573) together with all the monastic brethren.

It is distinguished by its particular depiction on the margins of Sainted Kyprian (right) and Sainted Gerontii (left), metropolitans of Moscow.

With the name of Metropolitan Kyprian is associated the first arrival of the ancient Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God from Byzantium to Moscow in the year 1395, and under Metropolitan Gerontii in 1480 the Vladimir Icon came finally to Moscow.

In the year 1588 the Volokolamsk Icon was dedicated atop the gate in the church at the south gates of the Josepho-Volotsky monastery in honour of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God (Comm. 26 August).

At the end of the XVII Century, when a church of the same name was built in Moscow at Staraya Basmanna, the atop the gate church of Joseph of Volotsk was re-dedicated in the name of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The Volokolamsk Icon was transferred to its proper place on the iconostas of the new cathedral Uspensky church of the Josepho-Volotsky monastery.

In its useage at the Josepho-Volotsky monastery, this icon in 1578 was accounted as wonderworking.

Copyright 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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