October 9, 2017 - Tout 29, 1734
Martyrdom of St. Arbsima the Virgin and Her Sisters the Virgins
On this day was the martyrdom of the holy virgins Arbsima and Agatha and their sisters during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. This infidel sought out the most beautiful damsel to marry. He sent the painters to every country and ordered them to paint a picture of the most beautiful damsel that their sights fell on and to give him an accurate description of her. When they arrived nearby Rome, they entered a monastery for the virgins and they found Saint Arbsima and thought that their was none like her in beauty. They painted a portrait of her and sent it to the Emperor who rejoiced at it. He then sent to the kings and governors to invite them to the wedding celebrations.
When Arbsima and the virgins knew this thing, they wept, and they went forth form the monastery entreating the Lord Christ to help them and to keep their virginity. They came to the country of Armenia, and entered the city of Tridatah. There they dwelt in a winery in a ruined garden. They had great tribulation in getting their food so one of them made glass and sold it, and with the money they paid for their food. When Diocletian sought for Arbsima, he did not find her. Later he heard that she was in the country of Armenia so he sent to Tridatah the governor to inform him about her and to keep her. When the virgins heard that, they left their shelter and hid themselves in the city. But some men told about them. Tridatah then commanded to bring Arbsima to him and when she did not wish to go, they abducted her and brought her to him. When he saw her beauty, he wanted to have her for himself, but she did not let him. He brought her mother to persuade her but instead she besought her to endure patiently, she comforted her, told her that she must not forsake her true Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that she must not defile her virginity. When he knew what her mother had done, he commanded to break her teeth, but God gave St. Arbsima power to overcome the governor; she pushed him forcefully and he fell on his back. She went away and left him lying on the floor although he was well known in war for his strength and bravery. He was ashamed of having been vanquished by a virgin damsel and ordered his men to cut off her head. The soldiers came and tied her, tore out her tongue, plucked out her eyes, and then cut her into pieces. When the governor rose up from his fall and his senses returned to him, he repented having killed the saint. He ordered to slay the rest of the virgins. The soldiers bored in the soles of their feet, flayed them, cut them in pieces, and then cast them out. One of them was sick and was lying on a bed, and she cried out to the soldiers to make her join her sisters. So, they cut off her head also and thus, all the virgins received crowns of martyrdom. The soldiers also slew all who had come with them from Rome. After their departure, the governor became mad and doctors could not help him until Saint Gregory, Bishop of Armenia, came to him and prayed over him. By this he was healed of his affliction and believed in the Lord Christ. And he took the bodies of the holy and pure virgins and laid them in a holy place. May their prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen