The Holy Monastic Martyresses Archelia, Thecla and Susanna

Commemorated on June 6

      The Holy Monastic Martyresses Archelia, Thecla and Susanna sought salvation in a small monastery near Rome. During the time of the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), the holy virgins attired themselves in men's clothing, cut their hair and set off to the Italian province of Campagna. settling in a remote area, they continued to pursue asceticism in fasting and prayer. And having received from God the gift of healing, they doctored the local inhabitants, converting many pagans to Christ. But learning of them, the governor of the district gave orders to bring them to the city of Salerno. He threatened Saint Archelia with handing her over for abuse and a sentence of death, if she did not offer sacrifice to idols. With firm hope on the help of the Lord, the saint refused to submit to the command, and she denounced the folly of worshipping soulless statues. Then the governor gave orders to hand over the saint to be torn apart by hungry lions, but the beasts meekly did lay at her feet. In a rage the governor gave orders to kill the lions, and to lock up the holy virgins in prison.
      In the morning, having suspended Saint Archelia, the torturers began to cut at her with iron utensils and pour hot tar on the wounds. The saint prayer all the more loudly, and suddenly over her shone a radiance and a voice was heard: "Fear not, for I am with thee". The power of God defended the saint: when they wanted to crush her with an immense stone, an Angel pushed it to the other side, and it crushed the torturers instead. A judge ordered soldiers to behead the holy virgins, but the soldiers did not dare to put their hands upon the saints. Thereupon Saints Archelia, Thecla and Susanna said to the soldiers: "If ye fulfill not the command, ye shalt have no respect from us". The holy martyresses were beheaded (+ 293).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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