The Holy Virgins Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora, the Martyrs
The Holy Virgins Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora (305-311 AD), were sisters from Bithynia (Asia Minor). Distinguished for their special piety, the sisters wanted to preserve their virginity and avoid worldly associations. They chose a solitary place for themselves in the wilderness and spent their lives in deeds of fasting and prayer. Reports of their holy lives soon spread, since healings of the sick began to occur through their prayers. Governor Frontonus, who gave orders to arrest the sisters and bring them before him, governed the Bithynia region at that time. At first, he tried to persuade them to renounce Christ, promising great honours and rewards. However, the holy sisters steadfastly confessed their faith before him, rejecting all the suggestions of the governor, and told him that they did not value temporal earthly blessings, and that they were prepared to die for their Heavenly Bridegroom.
In a rage, the governor took out his wrath on St Menodora, the eldest of the three. The Saint bravely endured the torments and finally, cried out, “Lord Jesus Christ, joy of my heart, my hope, in peace receive my soul!” With these words, she gave up her spirit to God. Four days later, they brought Metrodora and Nymphodora to the court. They put before them the battered body of their elder sister to frighten them. The virgins wept over her, but they remained steadfast. Then they subjected St Metrodora to torture. She died, crying out with her last breath to her beloved Lord Jesus Christ. Then they turned to Nymphodora and laid the battered bodies of her elder sisters in front of her. Governor Frontonus hoped that this sight would intimidate the young virgin.
Pretending that her youth and beauty charmed him, he began amiably to urge her to worship the pagan gods, promising great rewards and honours. St Nymphodora rebuffed his words, and shared the fate of her older sisters. She was tortured to death with blows from iron rods.
The bodies of the holy martyrs were to be burned, but a strong rain extinguished the blazing fire, and lightning felled Frontonus and his servant. Christians took up the bodies of the holy sisters and reverently buried them at the so-called Warm Springs at Pythias (Bithynia). Part of the relics of the holy martyrs are preserved at Mount Athos in the Protection cathedral of the St Panteleimon Russian monastery, and the hand of St Metrodora is at the monastery of the Pantocrator.
Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)
In you the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up your cross, you followed Christ, and by your deeds you teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Therefore, O righteous Menodora, your spirit rejoices with the Angels.
Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
You put the foe to flight with all his devices, when you contended for the Trinity bravely, as sisters bound in spirit with a sacred love. Therefore you are gone to dwell with the five prudent virgins in that fair and glorious bridal chamber in Heaven; and, O prize-winners, you now stand before the King of all with the Angels in endless joy.
Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Theotokos
Apolytikion of Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Theotokos in the Fourth Tone
Your birth, O Theotokos, brought joy to the whole world, for from you dawned the sun of righteousness, Christ our God. Freeing us from the curse, He gave us His blessings. Abolishing death, He granted us eternal life.