THE HOLY FORTY

July 10

From the Prologue

During the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled the eastern half of the Byzantine Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, St. Leontius, with several of his friends, appeared before Lysius, the representative of Emperor Licinius and declared that they were Christians. "And where is your Christ?" Lysius asked. "Was He not crucified and did He not die?" To that St. Leontius replied: "Since you know that our Christ died, know also that He resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven." After a lengthy discussion about the Faith, Lysius scourged them and threw them into prison and gave them neither food nor drink. Vlassina, a benevolent Christian woman brought them water and handed it to them through the window of the prison. An angel of God appeared to comfort and encourage them. When the time came for sentencing, two jailers and many others appeared before Lysius as converted Christians, totaling forty-five in number. The judge sentenced all of them to death but in this manner: first, that their arms and feet be severed with an axe and then they be thrown into the fire. This horrible two-fold punishment was carried out and the souls of the holy martyrs took flight to their Lord entering into eternal life. They honorably suffered and inherited the Kingdom in the year 319 A.D.





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