On the 3rd of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates the holy and glorious Martyrs TIMOTHY and MAVRA.

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST.

CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

On the 3rd of May, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the holy and glorious Martyrs TIMOTHY and MAVRA.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon
death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Mode 2.

When Thou descended unto Death, O Lord, Thou
Who are immortal Life put Hades to death, by the
lightning of Thine Divinity. And when Thou raised
the dead from the netherworld, all the Hosts of
Heaven sang aloud to Thee, "O Christ God, Giver
of Life, glory to Thee!

For the Saints. Mode 4.

Today, O believers, let us honor Timothy and Mavra, the bride
of Christ, his fellow martyr and spouse, extolling their martyrdom,
bravely, and endurance. They were crucified together. With
longing they followed the example of the Savior, Who was slaughtered
and Who nailed to the Cross the sins of all.

The holy and glorious Martyrs Timothy and Mavra, the holy couple from the Thevaid of Egypt. They lived during the reign of the pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) and when Arrianos was governor of the Thevaid. Today, for your love and edification, we shall set before you the lives of these glorious and sacred Martyrs for our True God and Lord Jesus Christ.

The holy Timothy was from the village of Panageon, near Antinoe of the Thevaid. He was the son of pious and upright parents. After Timothy was weaned from the mother’s milk, he was given to a certain virtuous and God-fearing teacher so that the lad might learn Sacred Scripture. Since Timothy was vouchsafed a well-ordered mind, in a short time, he learned whatever was needed to know his Creator, the Only True God. He also quickly perceived the God-given nobility and immortality of the soul. The youth also came to understand the corruption and vanity of this present life. When Timothy came of age, according to the sacred laws of our Holy Church, he took a wife from a Christian family. She was the ever-memorable and worthy of love, Mavra. The couple lived a holy and blessed life, to the continual admiration of the faithful.

Though a newly married couple, the Bishop of the Thevaid observed Timothy’s remarkable manner of life and zeal for piety which also was acknowledged by everyone. Thus, the Bishop decided to honor Timothy by enrolling him n the Clergy. Timothy, with the consent of Mavra, accepted this Diakonia (Ministry). Thus, the Bishop ordained Timothy to the Priesthood. Moreover, Timothy was appointed to teach and strengthen the Christians in the Truth, so they might not be timid or fainthearted in the face of persecution and torment. For it was a time when the enemies of Truth oppressed and abused the devout Christians. Timothy was determined to emulate the Teacher, Christ. Together with instructing the God-fearing, he exhorted all through works and deeds. Thus, Timothy enthusiastically carried out his duties. Not one to tarry with the work of God, he counseled those among the faithful who were in turmoil or confusion that they should stand firm in the Orthodox Faith.

When the Christians heard Timothy’s God-inspired words, they received delight in their souls and were further confirmed in godliness. God also quickly blessed his endeavors when many idolaters were brought into the Church. When the pagans heard his sermons and observed his manner of life, they scorned the idols and became Christians. Timothy would admonish the idolaters to forsake their deceptive superstition. He urged them to believe in the One and Only True God, known in three Hypostases, Who, out of compassion, sent His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world. Christ CAME THAT HE MIGHT SHOW US THE PATH OF SALVATION., AND BLOT OUT THE DECEPTION OF THE DEVIL WHO HAD BEGUILED MANKIND. Thus, more and more, idolaters abandoned their impiety and came to the Faith of Christ. They were baptized in the Name of the Holy, Co-Eternal, and Undivided Trinity.

Now a mere twenty days passed since he was united to the blessed Mavra in their God-consecrated marriage when Governor Arrianos was set at variance with Timothy. Arrianos heard reports from pagan leaders of this Cleric and teacher of the Christians. Arrianos himself was an irreconcilable and harsh persecutor of the Faith of Christ. The atrocities of pagan Diocletian against the Christians were also cruelly enforced in Upper Egypt by Arrianos, a vessel of the devil and an enemy of godliness. He dispatched his minions of impious deceit to arrest Timothy and those Christians with him. Thus, the pious were made to stand before the tyrant who, without any previous questioning, singled out Timothy with a stern gaze. Arrianos commanded him to fetch the holy books by which he instructed the Christians. The real motive of Arrianos, a son of the devil, was to destroy the precious and priceless handwritten books of the Christians. He supposed that the holy Timothy, without the books, would be unable to establish the Christians in the Orthodox Christian Faith.

However, the great general of the Heavenly Kingdom, Timothy, cowered neither before the tyrant’s angry countenance nor at his death threats. Instead, he courageously responded, "O governor, what prudent father delivers, voluntarily, his children to death? If that father, who loves his children, yields to the law of nature, he will in no wise surrender the children of his flesh to death. So, how shall I give up my spiritual children, the Sacred Books, into thy profane hands? Nay, this will never be! I am ready to die rather than hearken to thy godless commands."

After the lawless tyrant heard Timothy’s declaration, he was mighty incensed and directed that iron skewers be laid to the fire. When they were brought to a red-hot glow, they were used to puncture the ears of the Martyr. Upon inserting the skewers into the glorious hero’s ears, the pupils of his eyes dropped. Yet–O the boundless steadfast patience of the Saint!–this excruciating punishment was valiantly borne by that blessed man for the Name of Christ. The enraged Arrianos ordered that they bind the prisoner to a wheel designed to rend to pieces Timothy’s bodily members. Timothy was told that if he persisted in not doing Arrianos’ bidding, he could expect a death befitting his civil disobedience. Since the Saint remained steadfast in his conviction, the minister of deception bound him to that grisly weel. They violently turned that contraption causing the notched-in nails to tear the athlete’s flesh mercilessly. Nevertheless, Christ’s soldier, once more, bravely withstood this torture, while he chanted, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Psalm 117:6).

In the interim, the Christians, including Mavra, were informed that Timothy had been captured. Straightway, a multitude of Christians converged upon the place where the holy Martyr was being tortured. Meanwhile, his companion in life, Mavra, prayed to God, seeking endurance and steadfastness for her husband. Moreover, she entreated God that He furnish relief for Timothy’s pain. All the while, Arrianos could not help but admire the prisoner’s capacity for pain. Finally, that dreadful wheel was brought to a halt by the executioners. Those present beheld the Martyr as a mass of bloodied flesh. His eyes were put out and his body sundered and shattered. He was gasping for. breath. Then, suddenly, a miracle! Forthwith, Timothy recovered his strength. He opened his eyes. His wounds vanished without a trace. Before such a spectacle, all the bystanders were dumbfounded and astonished. There was, at first, a hush in the crowd, then all were filled with enthusiasm for the victory of the Martyr and THE POWER OF GOD. This divine display of power brought many to confess the Faith of Christ. Mavra was stirred and joyous. She approached her husband and embraced him, glorifying God. Though many were enlightened by this miracle, Arrianos became more cruel and more determined than ever to do away with Christ’s witness. He continued with hideous new tortures. When, however, Arrianos was informed that the prisoner’s wife was in the crowd he thought to use her as a means to break Timothy’s resolve. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

(To be continued)

______________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George


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