THE THIRD MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day Saint James the “chopped” became a martyr.
This holy man was one of the soldiers of Sakrad, the son of Sapor,
King of Persia, and he was a friend of the prince, who loved him
exceedingly, and took counsel with him about all his affairs; and for this
reason his heart inclined towards Saint James, and he made him worship the
sun and fire. When his mother
and his wife and his sister heard that he had become one with the king in
his acts and in his faith, they wrote him a letter, saying, “Why hast
thou forsaken the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and dost worship natural
objects which have been created, that is to say, the sun, and the moon,
and fire? Know that if thou
dost continue to hold the faith of the King of Persia, we shall become
strangers to thee.” When he
had read their letter he wept bitterly, and he said, “If I continue to
be of this opinion I shall become a stranger to my mother, and to my
household and kinsfolk. But,
however, how can I approach my Lord Jesus Christ?”
And he began to read Christian books, and he wept and forsook the
service of the king. And
certain men told the king and spoke unto him, saying, “Behold thy friend
James hath forsaken thy service and thy love, and the worship of the
gods.” And the king sent a
messenger to bring him to him, and when he had come he set him before the
king, and the king said unto him, “Why hast thou forsaken my service?”
And Saint James said unto him, “Our Lord Christ says in the
gospel, ‘whosoever confesses Me before men, him I will confess before my
Father Who is in heaven. Whosoever denies Me before the face of men, him will I deny
before the angels of God’ (Matthew x, 32).
Therefore have I left thy service, and thy love, and the worship of
thy gods, and I worship my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God,
the Creator of the heavens, and the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and
the stars, and the seas.” When
the king heard this he was exceedingly wroth, and he commanded his guards
to beat him very severely, and they did so until his blood ran down on the
ground like water; but he could not turn from his good counsel.
And the king commanded them to cut off his members with knives, and
they cut off the ten fingers of his hands and the ten toes of his feet,
and his arms. And they cut
him up into thirty-two separate pieces, and as each piece was chopped off,
he sang and glorified God, saying, “O God of the Christians, my Lord and
King Jesus Christ, receive Thou the branches of the tree according to the
greatness of Thy compassion. When
the master of the vineyard prunes the vines he leaves slips behind him,
and these sprout in the month of Nesan, that is to say Miyazya
(April-May), and the vine puts forth [new] roots and spreads abroad.”
When only the head, and breast, and loins of the holy man were
left, and he knew he was nigh to the giving up of his soul, at that moment
he prayed to God for the world, and for the people therein, and that He
would teach them and have compassion upon them.
And he said, “There is left to me neither limb nor hand which I
can lift up to Thee, O Lord; behold my limbs have been cast away before
me, O Lord receive my soul.” And
straightway our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him and comforted him, and
strengthened him, and immediately his soul rejoiced and was glad.
And before he delivered up his soul one of the guards made haste,
and cut of his head with a sharp sword, and Saint James received the crown
of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens, and he depart to the
habitation of light, to Christ Who loved him.
And certain God-fearing men took his body and made it ready for
burial and wrapped it in costly cloths, and they laid it in a pure place.
When his mother and his wife and his sister heard that he had
become a martyr they rejoiced with great joy, and they came to the place
where his body was, and they embraced it and wept over it, and laid
splendid cloths over it and sweet scents and unguents.
When the days of Saints Honorius and Arcadius and other kings
arrived, they built in his honor churches, and monasteries and nunneries.
When the King of Persia heard the report of those monasteries, and
the stories of the martyrs and their bodies, and what great signs and
wonders had appeared through them in every place, he commanded his
soldiers to burn the martyrs’ bodies in every place with fire, and not
to allow anything of them to remain in the country of his dominion.
And certain believing men came and carried away the body of the
saint, and they carried it and brought it to Jerusalem, and deposited it
there. And then they brought
it to Peter, Bishop of the city of Roha (Edessa), and it remained with him
until Marcianus reigned, and then Saint Peter took it and brought it to
the country of Egypt, and deposited it in the city of Behensa, where it
remained for a few days with certain brethren.
And whilst these men were praying at mid-day, and the body of Saint
James was in their midst, straightway Saint James appeared with many of
the martyrs of Persia, arrayed in Persian apparel; and they sang with
them, and they blessed them, and then they disappeared.
And before they disappeared from their sight Saint James said unto
them, “My body shall stay here even as God commanded.”
After this Saint Peter the bishop wished to return to his own
country, and he took the body of Saint James with him, and he carried it
to the sea and laid it in a ship, but the voice of Saint James went round
about, saying, “My body shall stay here.”
And straightway the body of Saint James was snatched out of their
hands, and returned to the place wherein it had been, even as God
commanded; and great signs and wonders took place through the body of
Saint James. Salutation to
Saint James who was cut up into thirty-two pieces.
And on this day also Saint Timothy, a native of Banhor, became a
martyr. This holy man was a
fearer of God from his youth, and he devoted himself to fasting and
prayer. He had a wife whose
name was Mora, the daughter of his father’s brother, and she was very
beautiful, and she gave him pleasure by all her works and they lived
together for many days in love and happiness.
Whilst they were living in this state of quietness the Imperial
Edict of the wicked Diocletian went forth into all the countries of his
Empire ordering the heathen temples to be opened and the churches to be
closed. When Saint Timothy
heard this he rejoiced exceedingly, for he had been waiting for this time,
and he told his wife what he was going to do; and she said, “God’s
Will be done.” Then he rose
up and prayed to God to prosper his way, and as he was sleeping that night
our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and He said, “Peace be unto
thee, O My beloved Timothy, behold I have numbered thee among the number
of the righteous. Rise up
now, and take thy wife, and go to the city of Behensa, and confess the
Name of Christ before all the people who worship idols.”
When he awoke he told his wife what he had seen, and she told him
that she had dreamed even so. Then
they rose up together and came to Quilquilianus, the governor, and they
found him celebrating a festival with singers and dancers who were
performing before him. Then
the soldiers seized Timothy and set him before him, and his wife was
following him. And the
governor spoke unto him with gentle and persuasive words and tried to make
him worship idols, but the saint reviled him and his foul faith; therefore
was the governor angry and he commanded them to cast him into prison.
After a few days the governor had him and his wife brought out and
beaten with whips until their blood ran down on the ground like water; and
his wife finished her strife under this torture.
And Saint Timothy he treated with gentleness because he wished to
make him agree to worship idols. And
when he refused to do so the governor had the saint’s body smeared with
oil and grease, and cast him into a red-hot fiery furnace.
And whilst the holy man was in the fire Gabriel, an angel of God,
came down to him from heaven, and delivered him from this torture.
Then the governor cast the saint into the prison house a second
time, where he wrought many signs and wonders.
One day whilst he was praying there our Lord Jesus Christ came to
him, and made a covenant with him and gave him peace.
And on the following day the governor had him brought out of the
prison house, and they took him to the city of Zanhus, and they cut off
his holy head. Thereupon an
earthquake took place, and the air was filled with angels, and the men of
the city came and prepared him for burial in a splendid manner and buried
him. When the time of
persecution had passed they built a church for him, and consecrated it on
the seven and twentieth day of the month of Sane (June-July), and they
laid his holy body in it. Salutation
to Timothy and to his wife Mora.
And on this day also is commemorated Saint Philemon the apostle,
who was one of the Seventy-two disciples.
Salutation to thy tongue with its eloquent words and pleasant
speech, thou father of the city (or country) of Lydia.
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.