June 6

From the Prologue

As pure and virginal nuns, Archelais, Thecla and Susanna lived a life of asceticism in an unknown monastery near Rome. When the persecution of Christians began under the evil Emperor Diocletian, they fled to Campania and settled near the town of Nola. They could not conceal their holy lives from the people and the people began to come to them from the surrounding settlements seeking advice, instruction and assistance for various difficulties and infirmities. They were finally captured by the pagans and brought to trial. They openly and freely confessed their faith in Christ. When Leontius, the judge, asked St. Archelais about the Faith of Christ she replied: "By the power of Christ I trample on the power of the devil, I teach the people with understanding that they may know the One True God and by the Name of the Lord, my Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, through me, His handmaid, is given restoration of health to all who are sick." All three virgins were flogged, had boiling pitch poured over them, were exhausted by hunger in prison and finally beheaded. When they were led to the scaffold, an angel appeared to them whom some of the executioners saw and were so frightened that they could not raise their swords against the holy virgins. However, the holy virgins encouraged the executioners to carry out their duty. And thus as lambs, they were slain in the year 293 A.D. and entered the Kingdom of Christ that they may rest and receive delight in gazing upon the face of God in eternity.



Bessarion holy, without roof and bread,

From childhood to the grave, his chastity preserved:

Bodily purity and purity of mind,

Therefore, with power and wisdom, was he overly-filled,

Divine wisdom and power divine,

Joyful in the spirit, without profound sorrow,

Without profound sorrow and without darkened thoughts

A pure and discerning mind as a crystal luminous.

When Divine Love in his heart, he rekindled,

He, many and glorious miracles performed:

Over the water walked as on dry land,

And a terrible whip was he, to every darkened spirit,

He stopped the sun and delayed evening,

And what he said by mouth, everything became a deed.

In him, the power of God worked

For he, to God in everything, was obedient.

Miraculous saint, help even us

By your prayers, before the throne of God!

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas