THE VENERABLE MARTYR EUSTRATIUS OF THE CAVES IN KIEV

March 28

From the Prologue

Eustratius was very wealthy and, being touched with love for Christ, distributed his entire estate for the sake of Christ and entered the monastery of Pecer and was tonsured a monk. When the Polovtsians waged war against Kiev in 1097 A.D., they plundered the monastery and slew many Christians, including monks. Eustratius, alone, with some of the faithful, were sold into slavery to a Jew in the city of Khorsum [Chresom]. This Jew ridiculed the Faith of Christ and attempted to coerce the Christians into embracing the Jewish religion. Seeing that they had no other alternative, they all agreed to starve themselves to death and not to deny the True Faith. Eustratius encouraged the Christians to follow that decision. They all died of hunger; some after three days, some after four and some after seven. Being accustomed to fasting, Eustratius, alone, remained alive and endured fourteen days without food. The Jew, angered because he lost money with which he purchased the slaves, took out his revenge on Eustratius by nailing him to a cross. Eustratius praised God from the cross and prophesied a severe and imminent death for the Jew. Wild with rage, the Jew pierced him with a spear. The saint of God gave up his soul to his Savior. His body was thrown into the sea, but it floated to the surface. Great miracles occurred over this martyr's body. Shortly after the death of Eustratius, the Byzantine emperor decreed that the Jews of the city of Khorsum be punished for their wickedness toward Christians. This tormentor of Christians was hung on a tree and received the reward of Judas.





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