On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Luke the Evangelist and Physician. He was one of the Seventy Disciples which the Lord appointed (Luke 10:1). He accompanied the Apostles Peter and Paul and wrote their accounts.
After the martyrdom of these two Apostles, he went into Rome preaching. Those who worshipped idols and the Jews agreed among themselves, went to Nero the Emperor and accused St. Luke of attracting many people to his teaching by using sorcery. Nero commanded that St. Luke be brought before him. When St. Luke knew that, he gave the books he had to a fisherman and told him: "Take these books and keep them for they will be useful to you and will lead you on God's way".
When he came before Nero, Nero asked him: "How much longer will you mislead men by your sorcery?" St. Luke replied: "I am not a magician, but I am an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God". The Emperor commanded his soldiers to cut off his right hand saying, "Cut off this hand which wrote the books" and the soldiers did. To make the Emperor know the power of the Lord, he took his severed hand and made it unite to its proper place, then he severed it again.
Those who were present marvelled and the Prime Minister of the Emperor and his wife believed as well as many others and it was said that they numbered two hundred and seventy-six. The Emperor ordered that their heads be cut off together with that of the Apostle St. Luke, and they were all martyred. They placed the body of the Saint in a sack and cast it into the sea. By the hand of God, the waves threw it up on an island. A believer found it, took it and buried it with great honour.
This saint wrote the Gospel bearing his name
and the "Acts of the Apostles" addressing his words
to his disciple Theophilus who was a Gentile.
Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodist were courtiers of the Persian emperor Sapor II (310-381), and clandestinely they were Christians. When the emperor started his persecution against Christians, envious pagans denounced them before him. Summoned to the emperor for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The emperor gave orders to beat them with whips. Twice the exhausted executioners switched places, but the holy martyrs let out neither a cry nor a groan. Even the emperor could not endure the strain and he lost consciousness. Everyone thought him dead. But the saints appealed to God, and the emperor came to himself. And having recovered, Sapor accused the saints of sorcery and gave orders to take the holy martyrs over a bon-fire, so as to suffocate them with the smoke. But by the prayers of the saints the fire extinguished, and the ropes binding them sundered. When the emperor asked them how this had occurred, the holy martyrs told him about Christ working the miracle. Blinded by rage, the emperor began to blaspheme the Name of the Lord. Then the saints exclaimed: "Let thy mouth be speechless" -- and the emperor lost his voice. Having gone mad with terror and rage, he tried with gestures to give the order to take away the holy martyrs to prison. Those round about were not able to understand him, and he began to go into an even greater rage: madly plucking off his mantle, he tore at his hair and beat himself upon the face. Saint Akindinos took pity on him and in the Name of the Lord delivered him from the speechlessness. But this time the emperor attributed everything to magic and he continued the torture of the saints. They placed them upon an iron grate and lighted a fire beneathe it. The saints started to pray. Suddenly it rained and put out the fire. Beholding the miracle accomplished through the prayers of the holy martyrs, many people believed in Christ and confessed their faith. The saints glorified God and called on the believing to accept Baptism by the rain sent down upon them.
One of the executioners, Aphthonios, publicly asked forgiveness of the holy martyrs for causing them suffering, and he bravely went to execution for Christ. The dignitary Elpidiphoros and even the mother of the emperor confessed faith in the One True God. The emperor saw how much the number of Christians was increased and how the torturing of Saints Akindinos, Pegasias and Anempodist actually encouraged the Christian faith. He declared to the people that the holy Martyrs Akindinos, Pegasias, Anempodist and Elpidiphoros with them would have their heads cut off, and that their bodies could not be taken by Christians for burial. When they led the holy martyrs beyond the city walls for execution, a tremendous crowd accompanied them, glorifying Christ. By order of the emperor, soldiers massacred all the Christians (about 7,000) in the procession. Together with the others also was killed Elpidiphoros.
Akindinos, Pegasias, and Anempodist together
with the mother of the emperor were burnt on the following day.
Christians, coming secretly by night to the place of the execution
of the saints, found the bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by
the fire and with reverence they buried them.
The Monk Marcian lived during the IV Century. Having gone off into the wilderness, he lived for many years in solitude, in unceasing prayer and strict fasting. And having built himself a small cell, he settled in it and never lit up candles when by night he did his prayerful rule according to the Psalter, since the Lord lighted the cell with Divine Light. After several years the monk accepted two disciples, settling them beside him, but as before he lived as an hermit. The Antioch Patriarch Flavian (commemorated 18 February) and other bishops entreated the monk to abandon his strict solitude for the benefit of Christians, but the monk would not agree. However, while not quitting his cell, he taught those coming to him for instruction and he turned many away from heresy and led them to the Orthodox faith. Before his end, the Monk Marcian instructed his disciple Eusebios to bury him secretly far off from his cell, so as to shun posthumous glory and avoid contention among those wanting his remains for nearby churches. The Monk Marcian died in the year 388.