St. Euthymios the Great
Euthymios (the name means "bringer of jollity") lived during the reign of king Gratian in 377. He came from Melitine, which lies in Armenia, and was the son of pious and faithful parents, who were called Paul and Dionysia. As John the Forerunner had been born of a barren mother so this venerable Euthymios was born of a sterile woman and received the name Euthymios from God before even being born. When Euthymios' father died, his mother offered him to Eutrojos, bishop of Melitine, by whom he was counted with the order of clerics. Because he was clever at studying the holy things of God and surpassed all the virtuous men in virtue and asceticism, he was ordained priest and sent to look after the holy hermitages and monasteries. When he was twenty-nine years old, he went to Jerusalem and lived with St. Theoktistos in a cave, which was on the mountain. While he was there, Euthymios liberated many men from the terrible chains of disease.
He opened the gates of heave, as great Elijah had done, and brought rain with which he cured the earth which was giving poor crops. Once a column of light, which was seen by the by-standers, came down from heaven while Euthymios was celebrating the bloodless sacrifice, and shone over him until he ended the Liturgy.
When he was ninety years old he depared to the Lord. He had a graceful kind of face and his soul was simple and easy to reach. He was of white colour and according to his age and his body's stature he was respectable and humble. He had white hair and a long beard which reached as far down as his thighs.
Martyrdom of St. Theodore El-Mishreke (from the East)
On this day also, the Church commemorates the martyrdom of the courageous prince Theodore (Tadros) El-Mishreke (of the East). He was martyred in the year 306 A.D.
He was born in the City of Tyre in 270 A.D. As a young man, he was enlisted in the Roman army and was promoted to the rank of a commander. His father "Sadrikhos" was a minister in the cabinet of Emperor Numerianus (283-284 A.D.), and his mother "Patricia" was the sister of "Basilides" another minister in the cabinet.
When Emperor Numerianus died in the war against the Persians, his son Justua was fighting in the west. The two ministers "Sadrikhos" and "Basilides" continued running the affairs of the Empire, until the infidel Diocletian became Emperor and started the persecution of the Christians.
St. Theodore was at that time in charge of the army which was fighting against the Persians. He saw in a vision at night a ladder extended between the earth and the heaven. At the top of the ladder sat the Lord Jesus on a great throne, with hosts of angels around Him praising Him. He saw under the ladder a great beast which was the devil. The Lord said to St. Theodore, "Your blood will be shed for My Name's sake." The saint asked, "Will my friend Lawondius be killed too." The Lord replied, "Not only Lawondius, but Banikaros the Persian also".
During a cease fire between the Roman and the Persian armies, St. Theodore met with Banikaros who was in charge of the Persian army and converted him to Christianity.
Emperor Diocletian ordered that Prince Theodore be brought before him. The prince came back with his army and with him also were Lawondius and Banikaros. The saint knew that the Emperor was going to ask him to worship the idols and he told his soldiers, "Whoever among you wants to fight for the name of Jesus Christ, let him come and join me." They all shouted in one accord, "We die with you and your God is our God also".
St. Theodore went to see the Emperor alone. The Emperor received him well, inquired from him about the war and asked him to worship the god Apollo. The saint answered with great courage, "I do not know any god that I can worship except my Lord Jesus Christ".
Diocletian commanded his soldiers to nail him on a tree and to torture him. The Lord strengthened him and comforted him. At last he gave up his spirit in the hands of the Lord Who loved him.
The Emperor sent the priests of Apollo to the soldiers of the saint to call upon them to worship the idols. They all shouted, "We have no king except our Lord Jesus Christ." When the Emperor heard that, he had them all beheaded. They all received the crown of martyrdom and eternal happiness.
Martyrdom of St. Anatolius
On this day also, we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Anatolius. He was born in Persia and when he grew up he became a soldier of the Roman Empire and was promoted to the level of a commander in the army. He spent fifteen years in the army until the time of Emperor Diocletian.
Yet he chose the heavenly kingdom, preferring it over all the vain glories of this world. He stood in the presence of the Emperor and confessed the Lord Jesus. The Emperor was surprised at his boldness and when he knew that he was a Persian, the Emperor delivered him to Romanos to pursuade him not to become a Christian. When Romanos failed to persuade him, he returned him to the Emperor who aflicted him with all kinds of torture, sometimes by pressing his body, by beating him, by throwing him to the wild beasts, and by cutting his tongue. The Lord Jesus sent His angel to comfort him in all his afflictions.
When the Emperor got tired, he ordered his head cut off and St. Anatolius was rewarded with the crown of martyrdom.
Glory be to God forever. Amen.