On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of the two saints Atrasis and Yoana. Atrasis was the daughter of Emperor Hadrian, who worshipped idols. Because of his great love for her, he built her a special room where she could be by herself away from people.
Atrasis was always thinking about the vanity of the world and the end of life and wanted to know the way to God. In a vision at night, she saw a person who said to her: "Call Yoana the virgin, the daughter of Philospheron and she will teach you the way to God". When she woke up, she rejoiced and she sent for Yoana, who came to her at once.
When Princess Atrasis met Yoana she bowed down before her and embraced her. Yoana started to tell her the reason for the Incarnation of the Son of God. She started from the creation of Adam and why he was expelled from Paradise, the coming of the flood and the renewal of the creation once more, the reason for worshipping idols, the appearance of God to Abraham, the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, how the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, His coming down from Heaven and His Incarnation by the Virgin and the salvation of the world.
Yoana made clear to Atrasis that godly people will receive heavenly grace in eternal life. The soul of the virgin princess rejoiced exceedingly and she immediately believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The two virgins worshipped day and night with fasting and prayers. One night they saw the Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary in a dream. The Lord placed His hand over their heads and blessed them.
During that time, her father the Emperor had gone to war and came back. His daughter was betrothed to be married. Her father asked her to offer incense to the god Apollo, before getting ready for her bridegroom. She told him, "Father, how could we forsake the God of heaven and earth and worship defiled idols? Turn to the God Who created you and in Whose hand is your life and death".
When he heard these words, which he had never hear from her before, he asked who had taught her them. He was told it was Yoana, the daughter of Philospheron, who corrupted her mind. He ordered
them both to be burned. They took them outside the city, in their
beautiful garments and their jewellery. Their slaves and hand maidens were crying. The people of the city were sorry because these two saints were too young and they asked them to submit to the Emperor's wish by offering incense to the idols, but they would not change their minds.
When they dug the pit and lit the fire, the
two saints held each others' hand and they cast themselves into
the fire. They stood in the fire, turned their faces towards the
east and prayed. After the fire was put out, some of the believers
went forward to take their bodies. They found them stuck to each
other; their garment and their jewellery were not burned. They
placed their bodies in a safe place until the persecution era
ended, then they built a great church for them.
Also on this day in the year 80 A.D., St. Philip the Apostle, one of the Twelve Disciples, was martyred. He was to go to Africa and the surrounding regions. He went and preached there in the name of the Lord Jesus. There, he performed many miracles and wonders which astounded the people. After he led the people to the knowledge of God, confirming them in the faith, he went to Hieropolis where he also led the people to the knowledge of God.
The non-believers took counsel together to kill him, accusing him of disobeying the King's order, that no stranger was allowed to enter their city. They seized and tied him, but he said to them : "Why do you keep yourselves away from everlasting life and why don't you think about the salvation of your souls?". They paid no attention to his words and tortured him severely. Then they crucified him upside down. During the crucifixion an earthquake took place and the people were terrified and ran away.
Some believers wanted to untie him from the cross, but he asked them to leave him that he might finish his striving and gain his crown. He delivered his soul into the hands of Christ and gained the crown of martyrdom and was buried there.
In the sixth century A.D., his body was transferred to Rome. The Lord showed many great signs and wonders though the Saint's body.