The MonkMartyrs Epictetos and Astion the Monastic

Commemorated on July 7

      The MonkMartyrs Epictetos and Astion the Monastic lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian in one of the eastern districts of the Roman empire. The virtuous presbyter Epictetos from the time of his youth had dedicated his life to God. He was vouchsafed the gift of wonderworking, and by his prayers he accomplished numerous healings of those afflicted by unclean spirits and other maladies.
      Once during the time of a stroll, the son of the city-governor the illustrious pagan-youth Astion, came upon Saint Epictetos. In a prolonged conversation Saint Epictetos enlightened Astion, he sowed the Word of God in the soul of the youth, telling him about the True God, about the great value of the immortal human soul, about the insignificance of transitory worldly pleasures. [trans. note: Epictetus was a pre-Christian Greek Stoic philosopher, and the trait-name bestown upon the saint may reflect a didactic message that pagan philosophy was a preparation of the pagan mind with a propensity for the ultimate Truth of the Gospel, as also the Pax Romana, etc.].
      Having believed in Christ and having accepted holy Baptism, the blessed youth then began zealously to beseech of his guide to go together with him to some far-off land, so as to completely dedicate his life to God. Setting off on a ship, Saints Epictetos and Astion journeyed to the land of the Skythians. At the mouth of the River Danube (Dunaj) they settled not far from the city of Almirisium among the pagan Slavs, and passed their lives in deeds of prayer and fasting.
      The God-pleasing lives of the hermits could not long remain unknown to the world. People began to come to the saints, those who were afflicted by various illnesses and oppressed by evil spirits, and they received healing by prayer. The pagans even began to ask help of the holy ascetics, and having received relief in their suffering, they were converted to Christ.
      At this time the governor of the district, Latronian, arrived in the city of Almirisium, and pagan priests began to make denunciation against Saints Epictetos and Astion, that by sorcery they attracted people to their faith. They seized hold of the saints and began interrogation.
      After thirty days locked in prison without food and water, the holy martyrs Epictetos and Astion were again brought to trial before Latronian. They remained ready to bravely accept new suffering for Christ.
      They sentenced them to beheading with a sword (+ 290).
      The parents of the holy Martyr Astion Alexander and Marcellina accepted holy Baptism from the bishop of the city Thomas the Evangeliser, who soon also suffered for Christ by beheading with a sword.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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