August 13

From the Prologue

Hippolytus was a military leader and the overseer of the prisons in Rome. He was born and raised a pagan. When St. Lawrence the archdeacon was thrown into prison, Hippolytus was ordered by the emperor to especially watch over this prisoner. Hippolytus saw with his own eyes how Lawrence restored the sight of the blind man Lucillus and how Lawrence cured many others who were sick and he [Hippolytus] believed in Christ. When Lawrence baptized him, Hippolytus had a heavenly vision and said: "I saw innocent souls in great happiness, i.e., in the heavens." He then took Lawrence into his own home and Lawrence baptized all the members, who with the old governess Concordia, numbered nineteen. When Lawrence was slain for Christ, Hippolytus took the body of the martyr at night, wrapped it in a winding sheet and honorably buried it. However, this somehow came to the ears of Emperor Decius and on the third day following the death of Lawrence, Hippolytus was arrested, brought before the emperor and refusing to deny the True Faith, he was stuck on the mouth with stones. After that, the emperor ordered Hippolytus to be stripped naked and flogged. Naked before the emperor, he said: "You have not stripped me but rather you have begun to clothe me!" Then they stretched him out on the ground and beat him mercilessly but Hippolytus only cried out: "I am a Christian." The emperor upon hearing that all of Hippolytus' household are Christians, he ordered that they all be brought in. The aged Concordia said: "We desire more to die honorably with our master in the Faith of Christ than to live dishonorably with you, who are unclean." Concordia was the first to be slain and, after her, the remaining eighteen were slain, all before the eyes of Hippolytus. Finally, they tied Hippolytus to a wild horse and dragged him here and there until the martyr gave up his soul to God.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas