The Holy Martyrs Marinus, Martha, Audifax, Avvakum (Habbakuk), Cyrenus, Valentine the Presbyter, Asterius and many others with them at Rome:

Commemorated on July 6

      The Holy Martyrs Marinus, Martha, Audifax, Avvakum (Habbakuk), Cyrenus, Valentine the Presbyter, Asterius and many others with them at Rome:
      During the reign of the emperor Claudius II (268-270), Saint Marinus together with his wife Martha and their sons Audifax and Avvakum journeyed from Persia to Rome, to pray at the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. During this time fierce persecutions and executions befell the Roman Church. Saint Marinus with his wife and sons began to aid christians locked up in the prisons, and also to request the bodies of executed martyrs. At one of these jails they met a prisoner named Cyrenus and with love they helped him, as being one that had endured many torments for faith in Christ. The persecution spread and an even larger number of christians were arrested. During this time 260 christians, among whom was the tribune Vlastus, had been sent under the court sentence to dig ground along the Salerian Way, and were executed by bowmen. Marinus and his family, having learned about this vicious murder, together with the presbyter John began by night to take up the bodies of the martyrs for burial in the catacombs. Having returned later to the prison where Saint Cyrenus was locked up, they did not find him, since he had been executed the day before and his body thrown into the Tiber River. Doing their holy duty, Saints Marinus and Martha and their sons removed the body of the holy martyr from the river and committed it to earth. The holy workers were among christians, who continued secretly to make the Divine-services under the lead of holy bishop Callistus, and were hidden by them from pursuers.
      In consummation of their great charitable deeds the holy family was deemed worthy to serve the Lord by accepting martyrs deaths. The pagans beheaded the courageous Confessor Valentine (Valentinus) the Presbyter, and the imperial gardener Asterius who had been converted by him, and together with these the holy ascetics from Persia were arrested and given over to torture. By order of the emperor, in the year 269 Saints Marinus, Audifax and Avvakum were beheaded, and Saint Martha was drowned in a river.
      The relics of the holy saints are located at Rome, at the Church of Saint John the Hut-Dweller, and the relics of Saint Valentine, are in the Church of the holy Martyress Paraskeva.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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