February 20, 2018 - Amshir 13, 1734
Martyrdom of St.Sergius of Atripe and His Father, Mother, Sister, and Many Others with Them
On this day, St. Sergius, his father, his mother, his sister and many others with them, were martyred. This saint was born in the city of Atripe to a righteous father whose name was Theodore, and a faithful mother whose name was Mary. When he was 20 years old, St. Sergius desired to die for the Name of the Lord Christ. He presented himself to Cyprianus (Cyprian), the governor, and confessed his faith in the Lord Christ. The governor commanded him to be tortured with different kinds of tortures and to cast him in prison. At night he saw in a vision as if he was in heaven, and he saw the mansions of the saints. His soul was greatly comforted, and the Lord Christ healed him from his afflictions. A priest by the name of Mansoon heard about the labors of St. Sergius. Fr. Mansoon came with two deacons to Atripe and confessed the Name of the Lord Christ before the governor. The governor beat them with great cruelty. A multitude of people watched the tortures, and moved with compassion toward the priest, who could not do anything but to look at them, preach and command them to be steadfast in their faith in the Lord Christ. He prayed and blessed them and they all confessed the Orthodox faith. After they had been tortured, they were all beheaded, and received the crown of life. However, the Governor tortured the priest with fire, but the Lord saved him. The Governor sent him to Alexandria where he received his crown of martyrdom. As for St. Sergius, Governor Cyprianus brought him and tortured him with excruciating tortures but the Lord healed, strengthened and comforted him. They brought an idol and ordered him to worship it. He kicked the idol with his foot and it fell and broke. Cyprianus believed instantly and said, 'The god that cannot save itself, cannot save others.' The captain of the soldiers 'Ohios' continued to torture St. Sergius, and ordered to skin him and to rub his wounds with salt and vinegar, but the Lord gave him strength and grace. His mother and his sister came to visit him and saw him in this condition, they wept bitterly, until his sister died from her extreme grief, but God raised her up by the prayers of the saint. St. Julius of Agfahs came, wrote the biography of St. Sergius, and promised him that he would take care of his body and his burial. The captain 'Ohios' ordered that St. Sergius be tortured by pressing his body through the pressing wheel (Hinbazeen), that his nails be pulled out, that he be placed over an iron bed, with a fire under it, and that torches of fire be placed in his ears. The Lord strengthened him through all of this and healed him. When 'Ohios' the captain was tired of torturing him, he decided to behead him. St. Sergius called his mother and sister to bid them farewell. They came with the rest of his family and when they saw him tied up with the bridle of a horse that was dragging him to the place of his martyrdom, they protested to the Governor for his extreme cruelty. He ordered to behead them all and they all received the crown of life and the eternal bliss. There was a young boy among the crowd whose eyes were opened by the Lord and he saw the souls of the saints who were martyred carried by the angels, ascending to heaven. He cried with a loud voice saying, 'O My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.' His parents were afraid that the governor would hear him and destroy them because of him. When they could not calm him down, they put their hands upon his mouth to prevent him from screaming, asking the help of the Lord Christ, until he gave up his pure soul at the hand of the Lord.
Departure of St.Timothy the Third, the Thirty-Second Pope of Alexandria
On this day also of the year 528 A.D., the holy father Abba Timothy III, 32nd Pope of Alexandria, departed. His enthronement on the apostolic throne was in 511 A.D. He suffered many hardships because he was steadfast in the Orthodox faith. In his days, St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, came to Egypt escaping persecution. The two saints traveled together to Egyptian cities and monasteries confirming the people in the Orthodox faith. Because he did not agree with Emperor Marcion with regard to the canons of the Council of Chalcedon, he was exiled. On the day of his exile, the faithful opposed the enforcement of the order of his exile, and many of them were killed, about two hundred thousand, by the order of the Emperor. The saint departed in exile together with St. Severus of Antioch, after he had been on the apostolic throne for 17 years.