The Holy 42 Martyrs of Ammoreia: Constantine, Aetios, Theophilos, Theodore, Melissenos, Kallistos, Basoes and the others with them:
Commemorated on March 6
The Holy 42
Martyrs of Ammoreia: Constantine, Aetios, Theophilos, Theodore, Melissenos,
Kallistos, Basoes and the others with them: During the time of a war
between the Graeco-Byzantine emperor Theophilos (829-842) and the Saracens, the
Saracens managed to besiege the city of Ammoreia (in Galicia in Asia Minor). As
a result of treason on the part of the military commander Baditses, Ammoreia
fell, and forty‑two of its military defenders were taken captive and sent
off to Syria. Over the course of seven years of exhaustive imprisonment they
tried in vain to persuade the captives to renounce the Christian faith and
accept Mussulmanism. The captives stubbornly resisted all the seductive offers
and bravely held out against the terrible threats. After many torments that
failed to break the spirit of the Christian soldiers, they condemned them to
death, in the hope of shaking the steadfastness of the saints before the actual
execution. They said to the Soldier Theodore: "We know that thou, having
forsaken the priestly dignity, didst become a soldier and shed blood. Thou
canst not hope upon Christ, ‑- so accept Mahomet". But the martyr
with conviction replied: "I wilt not renounce Christ, and moreover, in
that I left the priestly duty, the bloodshed was necessary".
The condemned calmly and without fear walked up to the executioners. They beheaded them, and threw their bodies into the River Euphrates. In the service to them, these holy passion-bearers are glorified as: the "All-Blest" Theodore, the "Unconquered" Kallistos, the "Valliant" Constantine, the "Wondrous" Theophilos and Basroes the "Most‑Strong".
And indeed the betrayer Baditses did not escape his shameful lot: the enemy knew, that it is impossible to trust a traitor, and they killed him.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.