The PriestMartyr Polychronios, Bishop of Babylon, Presbyters Parmenias, Elimos and Chrysotelos, Deacons Luke and Muko, Holy Persian Prince-Martyrs Abdones and Sennis, and the Holy Martyrs Olympios and Maximos
Commemorated on July 30
Polychronios, Bishop of Babylon, Presbyters Parmenias, Elimos and Chrysotelos,
Deacons Luke and Muko, Holy Persian Prince-Martyrs Abdones and Sennis, and the
Holy Martyrs Olympios and Maximos suffered during the III Century during a
time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Decius (249-251).
Decius, having gained a victory over the Persians and having seized territories
from them, found there many a Christian and he began a persecution against
them. The Babylonian bishop, Saint Polychronios, his presbyters Parmenias,
Elimos, Chrysotelos and two deacons, Luke and Muko, were arrested and brought
to the emperor, who commanded them to offer sacrifice to idols. But Saint
Polychronios boldly replied to Decius: "We do offer ourselves in sacrifice
to our Lord Jesus Christ, but your insignificant idols, wrought by human hands,
we shalt never worship". For these words the enraged Decius had the confessors
thrown into prison. At a second interrogation Saint Polychronios stood silent.
Thereupon Decius said to the presbyters: "Your leader is voiceless".
Saint Parmenias retorted: "The holy bishop is not without voice, but he
doth not wish to defile his pure lips and "cast pearls before
swine"" (Mt. 7: 6). In a rage Decius commanded the tongue of Saint
Parmenias to be cut out for these words. In spite of this happening, Parmenias,
in turning to Saint Polychronios, clearly uttered the words: "Pray thou
for me, father, for I behold upon thee the Holy Spirit". By order of
Decius they began to strike the holy Bishop Polychronios about the mouth with
stones, and he, lifting up his eyes to heaven, gave up the spirit. They left
his body laying there afront the pagan-temple of Saturn. By night there came
the two Persian princes, Abdones and Sennis, secret Christians, and they buried
the body of the holy martyr along the city walls.
Decius soon set off to the city of Kordula and gave orders to bring along the three presbyters and two deacons. At Kordula he again demanded the martyrs to offer sacrifice to idols, but Saint Parmenias, in spite of his cut-out tongue, loudly and firmly answered refusal for all.
Reckoning that Saint Parmenias could speak without a tongue through some sort of magic power, Decius gave orders to intensify the tortures and to burn at the confessors with fire. At this moment was heard a Voice from Heaven: "Come unto Me, ye humble of heart". Decius considered this Voice also the work of magic and he gave orders to behead the martyrs. The Persian princes Abdones and Sennis by night carried off the bodies of the martyrs and buried them in their own village, near Kordula. Reports of this were made to Decius. They arrested the princes and brought them to the emperor who, in seeing their brave and steadfast confession of faith in Christ, commanded the holy princes to be locked up in prison. The saints rejoiced and glorified God for such a fate.
And on this same day another two Persians named Olympios and Maximos were brought before Decius on charges of being Christians. For their bold confession of faith in Christ, the holy martyrs after being fiercely tortured were beheaded by the sword. For five days their bodies lay unburied, but on the sixth day Christians secretly by night gave their remains reverent burial.
Returning to Rome, Decius took with him the captives Abdones and Sennis in chains. And at Rome, having summoned the pagan-priests, Decius demanded the saints to offer sacrifice to the gods, promising freedom and honours. The holy martyrs answered: "We offer ourselves in sacrifice only to our God Jesus Christ, – wherefore offer thy sacrifice to thine own gods". Decius thereupon sentenced them to be devoured by wild beasts. They set loose upon them two lions, and later on four bears, which would not touch the holy martyrs but instead lay only at their feet. Then they ran through Abdones and Sennis with swords. Their bodies lay for three days afront an idol to frighten Christians. By night a secret Christian, Cyrenius by name, took the bodies of the martyrs and buried them in his own home. The holy Martyrs Abdones and Sennis suffered in the year 251. Their relics are preserved in the church of Saint Mark at Rome.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.