Friday, August 18, 2017 UTC

MARCH 9: COMMEMORATION OF THE 40 MARTYRS OF SEBASTE

40%20Martyrs%20of%20Sebaste_1834_h480MARCH 9: PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY – 6:30 PM.

The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste or the Holy Forty were a group of Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata (Armed with Lightning) whose martyrdom in 320 for their Christian faith is recounted. They were killed near the city of Sebaste (present-day Sivas in Turkey) and were victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who persecuted the Christians of the East. The 40 soldiers confessed themselves Christians & were condemned to be exposed upon a frozen pond on a bitterly cold night so they might freeze to death. They were asked to renounce their Christianity of which one did and was freed.  One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and joined them.  Thus 40 Martyrs remained. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. Christians, however, collected the remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities. Veneration of the Forty Martyrs became widespread and numerous churches were erected in their honor.

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