The Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexis, Demetrios, Photios, Peter, Leontios, Maria the Patrician, the Protospatharion ("Sword-Captain") Gregory and Others
Commemorated on August 9
The Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexis, Demetrios, Photios, Peter, Leontios, Maria the Patrician, the Protospatharion ("Sword-Captain") Gregory and Others suffered for holy icons in the year 730 under the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741). The emperor deposed the holy Patriarch Germanos (715-730) from the patriarchal throne and sent him off to prison, raising up onto the patriarchal throne the iconoclast Athanasias (730-753). By decree of the emperor, all icons were to be confiscated from homes and churches and then destroyed. At Constantinople from the time of the holy nobleborn emperor Constantine the Great (324-337) there was over the so-called "Copper Gates" a wonderworking icon of the Saviour, wrought from copper. The emperor and heretic-patriarch Anastasias gave orders to seize this icon. The gathered crowd became outraged at this sacrilege. And in the crowd was the Patrician Maria, a woman of illustrious family, who with many others rushed to the ladder and pulled it from the wall to keep the soldier from touching the icon. The ladder came down, and the soldier standing on it fell to his death. This occurred on 19 January 730. The Protospatherion ("Sword-Captain") Gregorios and the Martyr-Nun Theodosia (Comm. 29 May) also took part in the defense of the icon. Learning of this, the emperor gave over to death a multitude of the faithful – the names and number of which are known only to the Lord. The Protospatherion Gregory also received a martyr's death. But there are known some of the Orthodox among those – Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexis, Demetrios, Leontios, Photios and Peter – who were locked up in prison and kept there for about 8 months, each day being beaten with 500 blows; in these torments they remained alive by the power of Christ and bravely endured their sufferings. By order of the emperor were burnt with red-hot iron and their heads cut off. Saint Maria the Patrician, who had not been locked up in prison, learning about the approaching executions, voluntarily accepted a martyr's death. The bodies of the martyrs were buried in a pelagic (seashore) area near the church of the holy Mary Theodore and were uncovered unperished 139 years later.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.