The Holy Martyrs Hesperos, his Wife Zoa, and their Children Kyriakos and Theodoulos

Commemorated on May 2

      The Holy Martyrs Hesperos, his Wife Zoa, and their Children Kyriakos and Theodoulos suffered for their faith in Christ in the II Century, during the persecution under Hadrian (117-138). The holy spouses had accepted Christianity in their childhood and likewise they raised their children in deep faith. They were all slaves of the illustrious Roman named Catullus, living in the Asia Minor city of Attalia. While serving their earthly master, the saints never defiled themselves with idol-worship food, the use of which by pagans was obligatory. One time Catullus sent Hesperos on business to Tritoneia. During this while Saints Kyriakos and Theodoulos decided to run away, not wishing to be in constant contact with pagans. But Saint Zoa did not give her sons blessing for such conduct. Then the youths besought their mother's blessing for an open confession of their faith in Christ, and they received it. When the brothers explained to Catullus that they were Christian, he was surprised, but he did not deliver them over to torture, he instead sent them together with their mother to Saint Hesperos at Tritoneia, hoping that the parents would persuade their children into repudiating the Christian faith. Being at Tritoneia, the saints for a certain while dwelt in tranquility, preparing for the deed of martyrdom facing them. For the birthday of a son of Catullus all the slaves returned to Attalia, and at the house was prepared a feast in honour of the pagan goddess Fortuna. Food from the table of the master was sent round to the slaves, and amongst this was idol-worship meat and wine. But the saints would not partake of the food. Zoa poured the wine upon the ground and threw the meat to the dogs. Having learned of this, Catullus gave orders to torture the sons of Zoa Saints Kyriakos and Theodoulos.
      The brothers, being stripped, were suspended from a tree and lacerated with iron implements before the eyes of their parents, who during the time of torture counselled their children to persevere to the end for the faith.
      Then also the parents themselves, Saints Hesperos and Zoa, were subjected to terrible tortures. Finally, they threw all four martyrs into a red-hot furnace, where prayerfully they gave up their souls to the Lord. Their bodies were preserved in the fire unharmed, and there was heard Angelic singing, glorifying the act of the confessors of the Lord.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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