Martyrdom of St. Anastasia
On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Anastasia. She was a native of Rome and the daughter of Christian parents who raised her well and taught her Christian manners and the doctrines of the Church. When she grew up her parents wanted her to get married but she did not consent because she had forsaken the worthless world and its lusts. She instead had chosen to lead a monastic life and had longed for the heavenly glories since her young age.

She entered one of the convents of the virgins in Rome and became a nun. She subdued her body with asceticism and she used to eat once every two days. During the Holy Lent she ate only on Saturdays and Sundays after the prayer of the sixth hour of the day. Her food during all the days of her monastic life was dry bread and salt.

It came to pass that some of the convents near the convent where this saint was were celebrating a feast. The abbess took her with some of the virgins and went to join the celebration of that feast. On their way, St. Anastasia saw the soldiers of Emperor Decius the infidel torturing some Christians and dragging them. Her heart was inflamed with compassion towards the Christians and she shouted at the soldiers sayings: "O you hard hearted men, is that what you do to those whom God created in His own form and image and for whom He gave Himself?" One of the soldiers seized her and brought her to the Governor who asked her: "Is it true that you are a Christian, worshipping Him Who was crucified?" And she confessed the truth. He inflicted upon her severe tortures then he crucified her. He also had a fire burning under her but it did not harm her. When she did not give up her faith because of these pains he ordered to cut her head off. She said a long prayer then bowed her head for the swordsman cut off her head and she received the crown of martyrdom.

The Holy Martyrs Probos, Tarachos and Andronikes suffered for Christ in the year 304 in the city of Cilician Tarsus. To the proposal of the pagans to offer sacrifice to the idols, the old soldier Tarachos replied, that he offers sacrifice to the One, True God in a pure heart. Seeing the firmness of the saints in confessing the true faith, the proconsul gave them over to torture. "When my body doth suffer -- said Saint Probos to the idol-worshippers -- then my soul is healed and invigorated." The tormentors refined their tortures, such as their rage could invent, and then they tore the bodies of the saints apart. Christians secretly took up the remains of the saints and buried them.

The Monk Kosma, Bishop of Maium, Author of Kanons, was a native of Jerusalem. He was raised by the parents of the Monk John of Damascus (commemorated 4 December) together with their son, and he received a fine education. When Saint Kosma came of age, he set out to one of the monasteries of Palestine, where he attained reknown for monastic exploits. During a time of persecution against holy icons the Monk Kosma, together with the Monk John, came forth for the defence of Orthodoxy. In the year 743 Kosma was made bishop of Maium. He died in old age (+c.787), leaving behind many canons for feastdays and a triode for four days of Holy Week.

The Monk Amphylokhii, Hegumen of Glushetsk, already a monk of priestly dignity, came from Ustiug to the monk Dionysii of Glushetsk (commemorated 1 July) in the year 1417. Saint Dionysii, learning of the wish of Amphylokhii to become an ascetic, told him about the severity and harshness of life in his monastery, but this did not deter the newcomer. Then Saint Dionysii said: "If thou wishest to dwell here, then we shalt make a testament -- not to be distinct one from another, while we dwell upon the earth." Amphylokhii joyfully agreed and vowed to fulfill the ustav (rule) of the monastery.

The Monk Amphylokhii spent twenty years in deeds of fasting, prayer and obedience under the guidance of the Monk Dionysii, striving in all things to imitate him and assisting in the work of building up the monastery. After the death of Saint Dionysii, the Monk Amphylokhii was for 15 years the head of the Glushetsk monastery. The monk died peacefully in the year 1452 and was buried alongside his preceptor.

The Monk Tarasii of Glushetsk was hegumen of a monastery, built by Sainted Stephen of Perm (commemorated 26 April), and he zealously spread and affirmed the Orthodox faith among the Zyryani people.

In 1427 under the successor of Saint Stephen, Bishop Gerasim (commemorated 29 January), the Monk Tarasii voluntarily gave up leading the monastery and went to the Glushetsk monastery under the guidance of the Monk Dionysii.

Saint Dionysii, seeing the deep humility of Tarasii, accepted him. The former hegumen Tarasii toiled equally alongside the novices at the monastery and he led a strict ascetic life. The monk was buried at the Dionysiev monastery (+1440).

The Monk Makarii, Glushetsk Hegumen (in the world Matfei), was born in Rostov. As a twelve year old boy he was given over to the Monk Dionysii for raising. Growing up under the guidance of the great starets [elder], the saint was distinguished by a rare purity of soul. The Monk Makarii, already in the dignity of priestmonk, was chosen by the brethren as head of the monastery after the death of the Monk Amphylokhii. Saint Makarii expired to the Lord on 13 May (not earlier than 1462).

The Holy Martyress Domnica suffered for confessing Christianity in the year 286. Domnica lived in the region of Cilicia. By order of the governor Licius they beat her for a long time, and burnt her with fire. All tormented, Saint Domnica was thrown into prison, where she died.

Sainted Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours, lived in France. He is called the merciful for his generosity and care for the poor. Before accepting monasticism, Martin was a military commander under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) and was distinguished for his bravery. When barbarians invaded the empire, by order of the emperor Saint Martin went out from the city with his troops to do battle with them. Having encountered a beggar by the wayside, he gave to him his own cloak. By night the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the saint and promised victory over the enemy, which soon occurred. The emperor solemnly met the victor and suggested to him to offer sacrifice in thanksgiving for the gaining of victory. But Saint Martin said, that he wanted to offer sacrifice to Christ, with Whose help he vanquished the enemy, by the act of becoming a monk. The emperor banished the saint. After seven years of ascetic life, Saint Martin was elevated to be bishop of Tours. Saint Martin possessed gifts of perspicacity and wonderworking. He died at the end of the IV Century.