April 10

From the Prologue

They all suffered for Christ and were crowned with the wreaths of glory during the reign of Emperor Decius. By order of the emperor, the governor of Africa announced to the people that everyone must offer sacrifices to the idols. To those who resisted, the governor threatened with cruel tortures. Upon hearing about these threats many fell away from the Faith and worshipped the idols. However these forty remained unwavering in their faith and were exposed to torture. St. Terentius (Terence) encouraged his companions saying: "Brothers, let us be on guard that we do not deny Christ our God, lest He deny us before His Heavenly Father and Holy Angels." The governor divided them into two groups. Thirty-six of them, after flogging, scrapping of the skin and pouring salt into their open wounds, were all beheaded. The first four they cast into prison with heavy iron chains around their necks, their hands and their feet. An angel of God appeared in the prison, touched the chains of the shackled and the chains fell off. After that, the angel prepared a bountiful table for them and fed them. Once again, they were brought out and tortured and, again, they were imprisoned. Then the governor ordered the soothsayers to gather as many poisonous, loathsome creatures as possible, such as snakes and scorpions and to lock them up in the same cell with the martyrs. The loathsome creatures did not want to touch those chosen by God but rather lay compressed in the corner where they remained for three days. On the third day, when the door of the cell was opened, the repulsive creatures rushed out and bit the soothsayers. Finally, the governor pronounced the death penalty upon the four martyrs. When they were brought out to be beheaded, they rejoicefully chanted Psalms and praised God, Who made them worthy of a martyr's death. They suffered honorably in the year 250 A.D., and were found worthy of the Kingdom.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas