The Holy Martyr Arethas.

October 21

From the Prologue

This holy martyr suffered for the Christian faith with more than four thousand other Christians: priests, monks and nuns, townsmen and women and children. Arethas was the local governor of the town of Negran, in the land of Omir in southern Arabia, and was ninety-five years old when he suffered. The land of Omir was governed by a Jew called Dunaan, a vicious persecutor of Christians. Resolving to exterminate Christianity completely in his land, he laid siege to the Christian town of Negran and told the citizens that, if they did not deny Christ, he would put them all to death. The citizens closed the gates, and Dunaan attacked the city wall for a long time without success. Then the iniquitous governor swore to the citizens that he would do nothing to them if they opened the gate for him to enter and take the tribute owing to him, saying that he would then go away at once. The Christians believed him, and opened the gates. Then the bloodthirsty Jew summoned the aged Arethas to him, along with his clergy and other eminent citizens, and slew them all with the sword, and then indulged in a riot of butchery through the town. Hearing of this, the Byzantine Emperor, Justin, was greatly distressed and wrote a letter to the Ethiopian Emperor Elesbaan, urging him to set out with an army against Dunaan and avenge the Christian blood that had been spilled. Elesbaan obeyed Justin, attacked the governor of Omir, overcame him, slaughtered his entire army and put him to the sword. A devout man called Abramius was installed as ruler of Omir by God's revelation and, as archbishop, also by God's revelation, St Gregory (see Dec. 19th). In Negran, the Christians rebuilt the Church of the Holy Trinity that Dunaan had burned, and built a church to the holy martyr Arethas and the other martyrs of that city. They suffered and received wreaths of martyrdom from the Lord in 523.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK





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