Saint Menas of Egypt
Holy Great Martyr Menas of Egypt was a military officer and served in the Kotyaeion region of Phrygia under the centurion Firmilian during the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305 AD) and Maximian (305-311 AD). When the emperors began the fiercest persecution against Christians in history, the Saint refused to serve these persecutors. He removed his soldier’s belt (a sign of military rank) and withdrew to a mountain, where he lived an ascetic life of fasting and prayer.
Once he arrived in the city during a pagan festival. At the climax of the games, the Saint’s accusing voice rang out, preaching faith in Christ, the Saviour of the world. At his trial before the prefect Pyrrhus, the Saint bravely confessed his faith, saying that he had come to denounce the impious. The prefect was angered, and had St Menas arrested.
Pyrrhus offered to restore the Saint’s former rank if he would offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. When he refused, he cruelly tortured, and then beheaded. This occurred in the year 304 AD. Christians gathered up the martyr’s relics by night and hid them until the end of the persecution. Later, they were brought to Egypt and placed in a church dedicated to St Menas southwest of Alexandria.
The Saint received grace from God to work miracles, and to help those in need. St Menas is noted for healing various illnesses, delivering people from possession by demons, and as a protector, especially during times of war. We also ask his help in finding lost objects.
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
With great valour of soul, you strived in martyrdom and having fought the good fight, O divine Great Martyr Menas, you received the gift of miracles from heaven; for God has shown you to the world as a worker of great signs, and He made you our protector and a swift help in afflictions and ever-vigilant defence from harm.
Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)
As godly-minded athletes and Martyrs who strove for piety, the Church honours and glorifies this day the godly contests and travails of Menas the prizewinner, noble Victor, brave Vincent, and valiant Stephanie, and lovingly cry out and glorify Christ, the Friend of man.
Victor and Stephanie
Saints Victor and Stephanie contested in Damascus in 160, during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The pagans arrested Saint Victor as a Christian and cut off his fingers, put out his eyes, and beheaded him. As Saint Stephanie, the wife of a certain soldier, and a Christian, saw Victor’s nobility in his sufferings, she loudly cried out to call him blessed and to say that she saw two crowns prepared, one for him, and one for herself. She also was taken, and was tied to two palm trees which had been bowed down; when they were released, she was torn asunder.
Holy Martyr Vincent
Saint Vincent is the most illustrious of the Martyrs of Spain. Because of his virtue, he was ordained deacon by Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa, who, because of his advanced age and an impediment in his speech, commissioned Vincent to be preacher of the Gospel. In 303, the impious Emperors Diocletian and Maximian sent Dacian to Spain as governor, with an edict to persecute the clergy. Saint Vincent was brought with Bishop Valerius to Valencia; the bishop was sent into exile, but the holy deacon was tortured on a rack, and after suffering other cruel torments, gave up his soul into the hands of God on January 22 in the year 304.
Apolytikion of Martyr Vincent in the Fourth Tone
With songs of praise, let us hymn the steadfast athletes of Christ: * divine Victor, Vincent, and the noble Stephanie, with Menas the all-glorious. * Having crushed the foe in sundry ages and countries, * they rejoice together, glorified in the Heavens. * Have mercy, O Christ Saviour, on all, by Thy Great Martyrs’ prayers.
Kontakion of Martyr Vincent in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As godly-minded athletes and Martyrs who stove for piety, * the Church doth honour and glorify on this day the godly contests and travails * of Menas the prizewinner, * noble Victor, brave Vincent, and valiant Stephanie, * and lovingly doth cry out and glorify Christ, the Friend of man.
Theodore the Studite
Saint Theodore the Studite was born in Constantinople in 759; his pious parents were named Photinus and Theoctiste. He assumed the monastic habit in his youth, at the monastery called Sakkoudion, and became abbot there in 794. About the year 784 he was ordained deacon, and later presbyter by the most holy Patriarch Tarasius. On joining the brotherhood of the Monastery of Studium (which was named after its founder Studius, a Roman consul), the Saint received the surname “Studite.” He proved to be a fervent zealot for the traditions of the Fathers and contested even unto death for the sake of his reverence for the holy icons. He endured three exiles because of his pious zeal. During the third one, to which he was condemned by the Iconoclast autocrat, Leo the Armenian, he endured courageously – being beaten and bound and led from one dark dungeon to another – for seven whole years. Finally he was recalled from exile by Michael the Stutterer. Receiving thus a small respite from his labours of long endurance, he reposed in the Lord on November 11, 826, a Sunday, while his disciples, who stood round about him, chanted the 118th Psalm. Some say that after receiving the immaculate Mysteries, he himself began chanting this psalm. And on reaching the verse, ‘ I will never forget Thy statutes, for in them hast Thou quickened me” (Ps. 118:93), he gave up his spirit, having lived for sixty-seven years. In addition to his other sacred writings, he composed, with the collaboration of his brother Joseph, almost the whole of the compunctionate book of the Triodion (see also July 14).
Apolytikion of Theodore the Studite in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Theodore, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion of Theodore the Studite in the Second Tone
Ascetic in truth and equal to the Angel’s life, thy life was made bright with contests and martyric trials; and the holy Angels’ companion was thou, Theodore, blest of God; now together with them, O Saint, thou ceaselessly prayest Christ in our behalf.