Agatha of Sicily
The Martyrdom of St. Sarapion
Archangel Suriel
The Martyrdom of St. Abe-Fam the Soldier (St. Phoebammon)

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Agatha of Sicily

Agatha, a wealthy and beautiful girl of fifteen, came to the attention of Governor Quintianus during the Christian persecutions of Emperor Decius. Quintianus wanted to take her for his wife because of her beauty and to take control of her lands. She refused, saying that she was betrothed to Christ.

So, Quintianus sent her to a woman, Aphrodisia, who together with her nine daughters had a brothel. They attempted to persuade her to the sensual life for a month, but they failed.

Then Quintianus demanded that she sacrifice to his gods, but she eloquently refused.

Finally, Quintianus had her tortured. But, the Apostle Peter appeared to her in a vision in prison, spoke with her, and completely restored her saying, "I heal thee by the grace of Christ." The next day she was chained and thrown into burning coals. She prayed and such a violent earthquake struck the city that the people threatened Quintianus' life if he continued his tortures of Agatha. He removed her unharmed from the flames and imprisoned her, where she prayed and gave up her soul there in Catania, Sicily in the third century.

Agatha's guardian angel angelic guide and protector appointed by God at baptism appeared with 100 other holy angels at her tomb and placed upon it a marble slab that read "A holy and freewill mind, honor from God and redemption of country."

Quintianus, learning of her death, went to take control of her lands; however, as he crossed a river on horseback with two other soldiers, one horse trampled him to death.

One year after Agatha died, lava from the nearby volcano Etna threatened to burn the city of Catania. Both Christians and idol worshippers ran to Agatha's tomb and taking a silk mantle from there, asked God for his protection. The lava flowed back into the volcano and many idol worshippers became Christians.

The Martyrdom of St. Sarapion (Serapion)

St. Sarapion was from Binosa in Lower Egypt. He was wealthy and had many possessions and he was a charitable man.

At the time of the persecution, he heard that Armanius, the Governor of Alexandria, had arrived in Lower Egypt, to torture the Christians. Sarapion went out with a friend by the name of Theodore and another shepherd friend whose name was Thomas. They all confessed the Name of Christ before the Governor, who cast them into prison. The people of his town heard about his arrest, and they came carrying arms to kill the Governor and free Sarapion; but, Sarapion constrained them and told them that he wanted to be martyred for the sake of Christ, so they went away.

The Governor took Sarapion with him on a ship to Alexandria and there he tortured Sarapion. Through it all, the Lord was with Sarapion and delivered him. At last Sarapion was crucified; but the angel of the Lord came, brought Sarapion down from the cross, and put the Governor in his place. They beat the Governor as if he was Sarapion, while the Governor was crying and saying, "I am Armanius." Sarapion said to the Governor, "As the Lord lives, you will not be brought down from the cross until you free all those who are in prison and spread the news of their freedom." The Governor did as Sarapion told him.

Then the Governor gave the responsibility of torturing the Sarapion to one of the princes, whose name was Orion. Orion travelled with Sarapion on a ship. At night, the ship was ashore at an unknown village, and they slept. In the morning, Orion found that the place when the ship was ashore was the village of Sarapion, and Orion marvelled, and heard a voice saying, "This is his village, you should get him out of the ship." After they had tortured the saint, they beheaded him, and he was granted the crown of martyrdom. Orion wrapped the body of the saint in his tunic and delivered him to his family.

See also The Sacramentary (Euchologion) of Serapion.

Commemoration of Archangel Suriel

On this day also, the church commemorates the honourable Archangel Suriel, who was with the righteous Prophet Ezra and told him about many unknown mysteries. He also intercedes on behalf of the sinners.

The Martyrdom of St. Abe-Fam the Soldier (St. Phoebammon)

On this day also, the church commemorates the martyrdom of St. Abe-Fam (Bifam or Phoebammon), the Soldier.

Abe-Fam was born in Oseem (Awsim) to a wealthy father whose name was Anastasius, and a righteous mother whose name was Susanna. They brought him up in the Christian faith and he grew up in the fear of the Lord, merciful to the poor, and persistent in prayer and fasting. His parents wanted him to get married, but he declined.

Emperor Diocletian knew that Abe-Fam did not raise incense to idols, so Diocletian sent Governor Arianus to torture Abe-Fam. Arianus went to Oseem and when he saw Abe-Fam, Arianus said, "Peace be with you." Abe-Fam replied, "Why do you speak the word of peace? Did not you know that peace is only for the righteous? and 'There is no peace for the wicked,' says the Lord." (Isaiah 48:22). Arianus became very angry and took the saint to Qaw where he tortured and then beheaded him. God honoured Abe-Fam by performing many miracles through his body.

Glory be to God forever, Amen.


Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants Agatha, Sarapion, and Abe-Fam may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.