The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael
Commemorated on June 17
The Holy Martyrs
Manuel, Sabel and Ismael, brothers by birth, were descended from an
illustrious Persian lineage. Their father was a pagan, but their mother was a
Christian, who baptised the children and raised them with firm faith in Christ
the Saviour. Having grown into adults, the brothers entered military service.
Speaking on behalf of the Persian emperor Alamundar, they were his emissaries
in the concluding of a peace treaty with the emperor Julian the Apostate
(361-363). Julian received them with due honour and showed them his favour. But
when the brothers refused to take part in a pagan sacrificial offering, Julian
became angry, and annulling the treaty, he locked up the peace emissaries of a
foreign country in prison, like common criminals. At the interrogation he told them,
that if they scorned the gods worshipped by him, it would be impossible to
reach any peace or accord between the two sides. The holy brothers answered
that they were sent as emissaries of their emperor on matters of state, and not
arguments about gods. Seeing the firmness of faith of the holy brothers, the
emperor gave orders to subject them to fierce tortures. They suspended the holy
martyrs, having nailed their hands and feet to wood, at their heads they thrust
nails, and under their finger-nails and toe-nails they wedged sharp needles.
During this time of torment the saints, as though not feeling the tortures,
glorified God and prayed. Finally, they beheaded they holy martyrs. Julian
ordered their bodies to be burned. But suddenly there occurred an earthquake,
and the ground opened up and took the bodies of the holy martyrs into its
bosom. After two days, following upon the fervent prayers of Christians, the
earth returned the bodies of the holy brothers, from which issued forth a
fragrance. Many pagans, having witnessed the miracle, came to believe in Christ
and were baptised. Christian reverently buried the bodies of the holy Martyrs
Manuel, Sabel and Ismael. This occurred in the year 362. And since that time
the relics of the holy passion-bearers have been glorified with wonderworking.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.