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PROPERS: 03-09_Forty_Martyrs_DL
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Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (from God with Us On-line): The-Forty-Holy-Martyrs-of-Sebaste-Synaxarion

On March 9th we commemorate the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste or The Holy Forty. At that time, 40 soldiers openly confessed themselves Christians & were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night so they would freeze to death. One confessor yielded & renounced his Christianity in exchange for the warm baths near the lake. A guard who kept watch over the martyrs beheld a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and thus proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and joined the remaining 39 & the number of 40 remained. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned & the ashes cast into a river. Christians, however, collected their remains, and the relics distributed throughout many cities. Veneration of the Forty Martyrs became widespread & numerous churches were erected in their honor.

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