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THE THIRD MONTH
HEDAR 18
(November 27)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, 
ONE GOD.  AMEN.

On this day the holy virgins Atrasis and Yona became martyrs.  This Saint Atrasis was the daughter of King Iskandrianus who worshipped idols; and he made her a palace, and he established her therein by herself so that she might never see a man.  And she used to think about the end of this world, and she asked God by day and by night to teach her the path of righteousness and integrity.  And she saw a vision one night and it was as if one said unto her, “Send to the virgin Yona, the daughter of Philaspheron and she shall teach thee the way of God.”  When she awoke from her dream her soul rejoiced and she sent a message to the virgin Yona who made haste to come unto her; and Atrasis embraced her, and bowed down at her feet, and she entreated her to teach her and make manifest to her the path of God.  And Yona the virgin told her the reason why the Son of God became a man, and she began to tell her [the history of the world] from the time when God created our father Adam, and how He expelled him from the Garden; and she told her about the days of Noah, and how the water of the Flood came and destroyed all mankind, and how only eight men were left [alive], and how the earth was renewed once more, and how men worshipped idols, and how God appeared to our father Abraham, and how the Israelites went out from Egypt, and how the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, and how Satan was master of the world through the worship of idols, and how the Son of God came down from heaven, and took flesh of Mary so that He might save the children of men from the dominion of Satan.  And Yona the virgin told her and made her to know about heavenly grace, and the kingdom which is for ever, which God gives unto those who labor for His holy Name’s sake.  When Atrasis the virgin heard the words of Yona she rejoiced exceedingly; and the words of Yona the virgin were unto her sweeter than honey and sugar, and straightway she believed on God.  And the two virgins lived together and they fasted and they prayed by day and by night; and the king, the father of Atrasis, knew nothing of this matter.  One day they saw our Lord Jesus Christ, and His mother Mary the pure and holy Virgin, and she took the two virgins and brought them to her Son as an offering, and He blessed them.  And the king, the father of Atrasis, departed to fight a battle, and when he came back he came to his daughter and said unto her, “Come, my daughter, cast incense to the god Apollo before thou comest to thy marriage (?).”  And Atrasis the virgin said unto her father, “Why dost thou forsake the God of heaven and worship foul idols?  Turn, O my father, to the God Who created thee and in Whose hand is thy soul and body.”  When the king her father heard these words, the like of which he had never heard from her before, he marveled, and asked what had come to his daughter and what had changed her mind.  And [his servants] told him, “It is Yona the virgin, the daughter of Philaspheron, who hath corrupted thy daughter’s heart.”  And the king commanded [his soldiers] to burn them in the fire, and they dragged them out arrayed, as they were in costly raiment wherein gold and silver were woven in cunning devices, and they did not strip them naked because they were daughters of kings.  And there were many of their slaves, and their handmaidens, both small and great, who wept for them, and the men of the city also wept and were sorry for those virgins, and they begged them to submit to the king so that he might not kill them; but they would not turn from their good counsel, and their divine love.  And straightway the soldiers dug pits in the ground and they lighted fires therein and the flames thereof rose to a great height.  And the two virgins took each other’s hand and they cast themselves into the fire, and the people saw them standing up in the fire with their faces turned towards the east, and they were praying, and after that they died.  Now the fire was unto them as cool water.  And certain believing men took away their bodies, and their countenances were unchanged, and their apparel was unscorched, and the fire had not touched the hair of their head; and they laid them in a good place with great honor until the end of the days of persecution.  And they built a fine church and laid their bodies therein, and great signs and wonders were wrought there through them.  Salutation to the virgins Atrasis and Yona who died in the fire holding each other’s hand.

And on this day also died Philip the apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles.  Now the lot fell upon this apostle to go to the country of ‘Afrakya (Phrygia), and all the region round about, and he preached to the people thereof the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Redeemer; and he worked miracles there which astonished the hearts [of men].  And when Peter and Philip drew nigh to the city a certain man in whom was an evil spirit received them, and he cried out, saying, “O Apostles of Christ, I will not let you go into the city.”  And Peter knew that [he was possessed of] a spirit of devils, and then and there he rebuked him, and Satan went out of him, and the man was healed and he followed the apostles into the city.  Now there was above the gate of the city an exceedingly high pillar, and when they came to that gate Peter entreated God, saying, “I beseech Thee, O my Lord Jesus Christ, that this gate, and this high pillar and the things which are on it may fall down upon the earth in such a manner that the hand of a man may touch them.”  And at that moment the gate, and the pillar, and the things, which were on it, fell down upon the earth, and they appeared to be like the face of the earth.  And Peter said unto the man from whom the foul spirit had gone forth, “Go up and cry out,” and he cried out, saying, “Apostle of Christ, I will cry out as thou commandest me.” And similarly he commanded him to speak with his mouth so that awe might fall upon the men of that city.  And that man went up from the ground upon the pillar which had stood over the gate, and Peter said unto him, “In the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ let it be raised up,” and at that very moment the gate raised itself up, and the pillar which was upon it, and the doors resumed the place which they had formerly.  And the man cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O men who live in this city, assemble ye in the place where are the Apostles of Christ, our Lord, that they may bless you and may entreat Him to forgive you your sins.”  And whilst the man was standing upon the top of the pillar and saying these words, there was an earthquake and lightning, and the men of the city were frightened, and they feared exceedingly, and they went into the houses, and caverns, and islands (sic), and the lightning pursued them wherever they went; and many men, and women also, died of fright at the noise of the thunder and the lightening. And because of this groups of people came to the apostles, and they looked at them, their hands being stretched out, and they made supplication to God, and they fell on the ground and bowed low before them, saying, “O servants of God, we beseech thee to have mercy upon us.”  And the apostles made entreaty to God on their behalf, and the thunder ceased and there was no more lightning; and they all believed on our Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles brought them to the knowledge of God, and after this they made them to enter the True Faith.  And [Philip] went outside the city and turned the people to the knowledge of God, but those who did not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ took counsel together against Philip so that they might seize him and kill him.  Now they enjoyed the favor of the king, and he would not allow them to enter into their alien city.  When Philip came to them they rose up against him, and seized him, and shut him up in prison.  And he used to laugh before them, and say unto them, “Why do ye go away from everlasting life, and why do ye not think about the salvation of your souls?”  And they rose up against him, and seized him, and shut him up in prison; and they tortured him with severe tortures, and they suspended him head downwards, and he delivered up his soul whilst still under torture.  And when they wanted to burn his body in the fire, an angel of God snatched it out of their hands whilst they stood looking at him, and he carried it to a place outside the city of Jerusalem.  And when they saw this great miracle they all cried out with a loud voice, saying, “One is the Lord God of Saint Philip the apostle.”  And they were sorry and repented that they had tortured him, and they entreated God by day and by night until the body of Saint Philip returned.  And when they saw it they rejoiced exceedingly, and they came back to the Faith of our Lord Christ, and through the body of Philip God made manifest signs and miracles.  Salutation to Philip and Eleutherus.

And on this day also Eleutherus, and his mother Entia, who belonged to a noble family of the city of Rome, became martyrs.  This holy man was brought up by a God-fearing bishop whose name was Anicetus.  When he was sixteen years of age he was made a deacon, when he was eighteen he was made a priest, and at the age of twenty years he was made bishop of the country of ‘Elerikos.  In those days Andrianus the emperor came to the city of Rome, and when he heard about Eleutherus he commanded Pilkes to bring him to him; and Pilkes found him in the church teaching the Word of God.  When Pilkes heard the Faith of Eleutherus, he believed and was baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.  When he had brought Eleutherus to Andrianus the emperor, he said unto him, “Offer sacrifice to the gods.  Thou art a free man, why dost thou worship a man who was crucified?”  And Eleutherus said, “My freedom is the Cross of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator of the heavens and of the earth.”  When the emperor heard this he commanded [his soldiers] to throw him into a red-hot oven and to shut him in; and they did so, and straightway the fiery oven was cooled; and [they threw him on the wheel, and] the wheel was broken.  When the emperor saw this he marveled greatly, and not knowing what to do he commanded the soldiers to throw him into prison.  And a raven brought him food from the Garden (i.e. Paradise) and he ate and was satisfied.  And when Illyricus (?) the governor saw him, he believed in the God of Saint Eleutherus, and they cut off his head with a sword.  And Andrianus commanded his soldiers to bring small horses, and to harness them to a chariot, and they tied Eleutherus to the middle of the chariot, and they dragged him about until is limbs were cut to pieces.  And straightway an angel of God came down and released him from his fetters, and he took him into a high place, and he sat down with the wild beasts glorifying God.  And straightway Andrianus ordered his soldiers to hunt down the wild beasts that were in the mountain in which they had found Eleutherus, and they took Eleutherus to Andrianus the emperor.  When they had brought him to him the emperor commanded them to give him to the lions, and when the lions came they licked the moisture from his face and feet; and all the men of Rome wondered.  Now the lions had slain fifty hundred pagans.  When the emperor saw this he was filled with wrath, and he commanded two soldiers to spear him [and they did so].  And his mother Entia also--after they had tortured her greatly, they speared her with him, and whilst she was embracing the neck of her son they delivered up their souls to God.  Salutation to Eleutherus.

Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.  Amen.