Martyrs Callinicus, Benjamin and Mamant; Martyr Theodota and her sons

The Holy Martyr Callinicus

A native of Cilicia, he was raised from childhood in the Christian Faith. Grieving that many misguided people would perish for eternity because they worshiped idols, he went through the cities and villages to proclaim Jesus Christ and His teachings to the pagans, and with the Word of God he converted many to Christianity.

Troparion — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Callinicus, O Lord, / through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions save our souls.

In the Galatian city of Ancyra the holy confessor was arrested and brought to trial before a governor named Sacerdonus, a fierce persecutor of Christians. The governor, threatening tortures and death, ordered the saint to offer sacrifice to the idols. The saint fearlessly declared that he was not afraid of martyrdom, since every believer in Christ receives from Him strength in ordeals, and through death inherits an eternal blessed life.

They cruelly beat the saint with ox thongs and tore at his body with iron hooks, but he endured everything with patience and calm. This aroused still greater fury in Sacerdonus, and he ordered that sandals with sharp nails be placed on the saint’s feet, and that they should drive the martyr with whips to the city of Gangra to be burned.

The pathway was arduous, and the soldiers who accompanied the condemned man were weak from thirst. In despair they began to implore the saint to pray the Lord for water. The saint, taking pity on his tormentors, with the help of God caused a miraculous spring of water to gush forth from a stone.

The astonished soldiers were filled with sympathy for their rescuer, and they wanted even to set him free. Fear of execution, however, compelled them to bring the martyr farther. In Gangra, Saint Callinicus joyfully offered thanks to the Lord, Who had vouchsafed him the crown of martyrdom. He went into the blazing fire and gave up his soul to God. His body, remaining unharmed, was reverently buried by believers.

The Holy Martyr Theodota and her three young children

They lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was a Christian, a native of the city of Nicea, Bithynia. After being widowed, Saint Theodota led a pious life and raised her sons in the Christian Faith. She had a spiritual friendship with Saint Anastasia (December 22).

Troparion — Tone 4

Your lamb Theodota, O Jesus, / calls out to You in a loud voice: / I love You, O my bridegroom, / and in seeking You, I endure suffering. / In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / and died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love. / By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

When the persecution against Christians began, they arrested the holy women. At the trial, the dignitary Leucadius was captivated by the beautiful Theodota and he decided to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself in the home of Leucadius with her children, Saint Theodota kept herself in purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan.

Angered at the steadfastness of the saint, Leucadius sent her and her children to Bithynia, to the district governor Nicetas. At the interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, Saint Theodota’s eldest son Evodus said that Christians do not fear tortures, but rather fear being forsaken by God.

They cruelly beat the boy before the eyes of his mother, so that his blood began to flow. Saint Theodota prayed that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being given a martyr’s death for the sake of truth.

They gave Saint Theodota over to be defiled, but the Lord preserved her. An angel of the Lord held back everyone who tried to approach the saint. Imputing this miracle to sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to death by fire.

The memory of the holy Martyrs Theodota, the child Evodus and her other two small sons is celebrated also on December 22, together with the memory of Saint Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions.

Our Church also celebrates today Holy Martyrs Benjamin and Mamant.

Tr by oca.org

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