Martyrdom of St. Arbsima the Virgin and her sisters the Virgins
On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of the holy virgins Arbsima and Agatha and their sisters during the reign of Emperor Diocletian.

This infidel sought out the most beautiful damsel to marry. He sent artists to every country in order to paint a portrait of

the most beautiful damsel that their sights fell on and to give him

an accurate description of her. When they arrived near Rome they entered a convent for virgins and found Saint Arbsima, they thought that their was none like her in beauty. They painted a portrait of her and sent it to the Emperor who was delighted when he saw it.

He then sent to the kings and governors to invite them to the wedding celebration.

When Arbsima and the virgins knew this matter, they wept and left the convent fleeing, entreating the Lord Jesus to help them and to guard their virginity. They fled to the country of Armeni an entered the city of the Governor Tridatah, there they dwelt in a winery in a deserted garden. They had a hard time getting their food, so one of them sold glass and with the money they paid for their food.

When Diocletian sought for Arbsima he did not find her. Later he heard that she was in the country of Armenia so he sent to the Governor Tridatah asking him to look for her and keep her. When the virgins heard the news, they left their shelter and hid themselves in the city, but they were later found. As Arbsima did not wish to go to the Governor they abducted and brought her to him.

When he saw her beauty he wanted to have her for himself but she did not let him. He brought her mother to persuade her but instead she besought her to endure with patience, comforted her and told her that she must not forsake her true Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the Governor knew what her mother had done, he commanded the soldiers to break her teeth, but God gave Arbsima the strength to push the Governor forcefully and he fell on his back. He was humiliated having been vanquished by a virgin damsel and ordered his men to cut off her head.

The soldiers tied her up, tore out her tongue, plucked out her eyes, and then cut her into pieces. When the Governor rose up from his fall and his senses returned to him, he was saddened having killed the Saint. He ordered to slay the rest of the virgins. The soldiers bored holes into the soles of their feet, flayed them, cut them into pieces, and then cast them out. One of them was sick and was lying on a bed, and she cried out to the soldiers to make her join her sisters. So, they cut off her head also and thus all the virgins received crowns of martyrdom. The soldiers also slew all who had come with them from Rome.

After their departure, the Governor became mad and doctors could not help him until Saint Gregory, Bishop of Armenia, came to him and prayed over him. When he was healed of his affliction, he believed in the Lord Jesus. He took the bodies of the holy virgins and laid them in a holy place.

The Holy Martyrs Eulampios and Eulampia, a brother and sister by birth, lived at the beginning of the IV Century in the city of Nikomedia. Having read the decree of the emperor Maximian (284-305) putting every Christian under a sentence of death by execution, Eulampios became upset that the emperor, rather than going off to fight the enemies of his fatherland, instead was taking up arms against his own subjects. They brought the youth to trial and demanded that he renounce the Christian faith. For his refusal they first tore at him with iron hooks, and then they placed him upon a red-hot bed. Of a sudden the sufferer expressed a wish to visit the pagan temple. The judges were delighted, supposing that they had swayed the youth from Christianity. In the pagan temple of Mars the saint cried out: "In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee, idol dumb and without soul, fall down upon the ground and be turned to dust!" The idol with a crash smashed down upon the ground. People exclaimed: "The Supreme God is the Christian God, great and mighty!" The saint again was taken off for torture. And this time the sister of the sufferer, Eulampia, appeared before the judges and declared, that she also was a Christian. Eulampios encouraged his sister: "Sister, fear not those killing the body, but unable to kill the soul" (Mt 10:28). After tortures they threw the martyrs into a red-hot furnace, but the Lord protected them from the fire. Finally, they beheaded the brother, and the sister died from the tortures.

Sainted Amphylokhii was bishop of one of the oldest of Russian dioceses -- Vladimir-Volynsk -- established during the time of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir. Sainted Amphylokhii was the third archpastor to sit upon the cathedra-seat. The first Vladimir-Volynsk bishop was Stefan, established under Saint Vladimir himself; the next in succession -- was the monastic hegumen of Pechersk Stefan (commemorated 27 April), who had received the hegumenate from the Monk Theodosii (commemorated 3 May). Saint Amphylokhii was ordained bishop on 27 August 1105 by the Kiev metropolitan Nikiphor (1103-1121). For seventeen years he guided the Vladimiro-Volynsk flock. Only a couple of generations separate his time from that of the Baptism of Rus', and the saint had occasion to toil no little at the conversion of pagans to Christ, and likewise to root out pagan superstitions among the newly-baptised, while pacifying the strife amongst the princes.

Resigning finally as hierarch, he continued his service to God in the caves of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, where also he died in the year 1122. The celebration of his memory -- 10 October, conjointly with the other sainted-hierarchs of the Volynsk region -- was established in the year 1831, after the restoration of the Pochaev Lavra in Volynia to Orthodoxy.

Blessed Andrei [Andrew] of Totemsk was born in the year 1638in the village of Ust'-Totemsk and already while still in his childhood he left the world. With the blessing of Stefan, hegumen of the Voskresensk [Resurrection] monastery in Galich, Andrei took upon himself the arduous exploit of fool-for-Christ. He settled in the city of Tot'ma on the banks of the River Sukhona at the church of the Resurrection of Christ. He walked barefoot both winter and summer, in tattered clothing, he ate only bread and water and then only in such small quantity, as sufficed but to keep him from dying of hunger, and he prayed both day and night. If anyone gave him something, he gave it all away to the poor. For his efforts and toil Blessed Andrei merited the gift of wonderworking. One time in winter a blind man by the name of Azhibokai came to the fool, offering him a large sum of money whilst imploring healing, but the fool fled away. Azhibokai thereupon washed his eyes with snow from where the saint had stood, and in doing so he was able to see. To Blessed Andrei was revealed the time of his death. He made confession, communed the Holy Mysteries and peacefully expired to God. Over his grave was erected the bell-tower church of the holy Martyr Andrew Stratilates (commemorated 19 August), whose name he bore. At the grave of Blessed Andrei was witnessed many a miracle.

The Holy Martyr Theotekhnos was a reknown military-commander at Antioch under the emperor Maximian (305-311). And one time the emperor arrived in Antioch, demanding that all the inhabitants offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. As a Christian, Theotekhnos refused to fulfill the order. Then the emperor, scoffing at the Christian faith, gave orders to dress Theotekhnos in women's clothing and put him up right alongside the slave-women. Three weeks later the emperor summoned Theotekhnos to him, thinking that the humiliation would break his spirit, but again he heard a confession of the Name of Christ. "Thou dost imperil thine life, if thou submittest not", -- growled Maximian. Theotekhnos was silent. Then the emperor in a fury gave orders to burn the feet of the martyr and to cut the tendons, and then throw him in a kettle of boiling tar. But just as soon as Theotekhnos went into the kettle, the flames beneathe it went out, and the heat of the kettle went instantly cool. Terror seized the emperor. Not wanting to torture the martyr further, he dispatched him to prison and entrusted his own centurion to deal with the saint.

In prison together with Theotekhnos was a Christian confessor named Alexander. Theotekhnos helped him escape from the prison. Learning of this, the centurion subjected Theotekhnos to brutal torments, and finally, he gave orders to throw him into the sea with a stone about his neck. After a certain while near the city of Rusob on the Cilician seacoast the venerable relics of the martyr were found and given Christian burial.

The Monk Vassian was born in eastern Syria. He asceticised at Constantinople, where the pious emperor Marcian (450-457) then ruled. In the monastery, at which the Monk Vassian was hegumen, there were three hundred monks. Among them also was the Nun Matrona (commemorated 9 November), dressed in men's attire. The Monk Vassian lived in his monastery into old age, famed for his virtuous life and numerous miracles, and in peace he expired to the Lord.

Saint Theophilos the Confessor came from the surroundings of Tiberiada. At thirteen years of age the saint secretly left his home to go off to the laura-monastery on Mount Selenteia, where he matured spiritually under the guidance of the elder, Saint Stephen. After three years Saint Theophilos accepted tonsure into the monastic ranks. When the parents of the saint learned where their son was, they went then to the monastery and besought the hegumen to send off both Theophilos and several of the brethren, to establish a new monastery closer to the parental home. The hegumen bid all the monks to fast and to pray, so that a sign might be received. On the third day in church was heard a voice, giving the blessing to send off Theophilos, since he would become reknown by his many spiritual exploits at the new monastery.

There eventually ensued the reign of the iniquitous iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian (717-741). Saint Theophilos openly revolted against the iconoclast folly. In accord with the emperor's orders, they subjected the saint to beatings, and they led him through the city all tied up like a criminal. The emperor then gave Theophilos over into the charge of the official, Ipatios. Ipatios tried every which way to compel the confessor to renounce holy icons, but he could not budge him. On the contrary, Saint Theophilos succeeded in persuading over Ipatios instead. He cited in proof the brass serpent erected by Moses (Num 21:9), the corroboration of the Cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant, and finally he reminded, how the Saviour Himself had given to Abgar the prince of Edessa His Image Not-Wrought-by-Hand (commemorated 16 August). Persuaded in mind by this conversation, Ipatios gained permission of the emperor to set free the saint. The confessor returned to the monastery founded by him. He lived there but a short while, and in the year 716 Saint Theophilos expired peacefully to the Lord.

The Suffering of the 26 Zografsk MonkMartyrs: In the year 1274 at the Council of Lyons (in France), the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Paleologos decided to buttress against his own near downfall of power, by reckoning on an union with Catholic Rome -- with an Unia. The step evoked universal discontent throughout the land, and the emperor in 1278 issued a decree to introduce the Unia at Byzantium, if necessary by forceful measures. Holy Mount Athos stood in firm opposition to the Unia. The Athonite monks dispatched a letter to Michael, in which they pointed out basically, that the Primacy of the Pope, his commemoration in the churches, the making of the Eucharist with unleavened bread-wafers, the inserted addition in the Creed-Symbol of Faith of the "filioque" ["and of the Son"] -- all this cannot be accepted by Orthodox, and they besought the emperor to change his mind. "We do clearly see," -- it says in the letter -- "that thou art become an heretic, but we implore thee: forsake all this and dwell in that teaching which was handed down to thee. ... Reject the unholy and novel teachings of a false knowledge, speculations added on to the faith." Crusaders, pushed out of Palestine and finding refuge in the Byzantine empire ("Romania"), declared to the emperor their readiness by fire and sword to affirm the power of the Pope. Michael moreover hired as mercenaries both Turks and Tatars. When the troops came nigh to the emperor's despised Athos, and so as not to provoke the Greeks, he decided to vent his spite upon the Athonite Slavs. By order of Michael the servants of the Pope descended upon the Bulgarian Zografsk monastery. When the demand to accept the Unia was presented before the Zografsk monks, none of them even wanted to hear about Catholicism. The majority of the Zografsk monks left the monastery, but the most steadfast, 26 in number, remained in the monastery wall-turret. These were: the hegumen Foma [Thomas], and Monks Varsonuphii, Kirill [Cyril], Mikhei, Simon, Ilarion, Iakov [James], Job, Kiprian, Savva, Iakov, Martinian, Kosma, Sergei, Mina, Joasaph, Ioannikii, Pavel [Paul], Antonii, Evphymii, Dometian, Parphenii and 4 Laymen. The holy martyrs for their Orthodox Faith were burned in the monastery turret on 10 October 1284.