February 13, 2023 - Amshir 6, 1739
Appearance of the Body of St. Apolidus, the Pope of Rome
On this day the church celebrates the appearance of the body of St. Apolidus (Hippolytus), Pope of Rome. He was a virtuous and a perfect man in his generation.
He was chosen to the Roman See after Father Augius. This was in the first year of the enthronement of Abba Cladianus, 9th Pope of Alexandria. Pope Apolidus was always teaching his people and guarding them from the pagan influences, confirming them in the faith of the Lord Christ.
When reports of St. Apolidus reached the infidel Emperor Claudius Caesar, he arrested him and tortured him severely. The Emperor then tied his feet with a heavy stone, and cast him in the sea on the 5th day of Amshir.
On the following day, one of the faithful found the body of the saint floating above the water, and the stone was bound to his feet. The man took it to his home and shrouded the body. The news spread in the City of Rome and in all the neighboring cities, and it reached Caesar, who asked for the body, but the man hid it.
This father left a great wealth of teachings about the Incarnation, and several sermons about Christian teaching. He also established 38 bylaws.
Martyrdom of the Saints Abakir, John, the Three Virgins and Their Mother
On this day also, the saints Abakir; John; the three virgins, Theodora (which means the gift of God), Theopisti 'Theophana' (which means the faithfulness of God), and Theodosia (which means the glory of God); and their mother, Athanasia (which means the immortal), were martyred.
St. Abakir was a monk since his young age, and St. John was a soldier in the private guards of the Emperor. They left Alexandria, their own home town, and lived in Antioch. When Diocletian incited the persecution against the Christians, they confessed their faith in the Lord Christ along with the virgins and their mother.
When the Emperor knew that they were from Alexandria, he returned them to the governor of Alexandria. When they came to Alexandria, and were brought before the Governor, they confessed their faith in the Lord Christ. He ordered them beheaded. St. Athanasia was comforting and confirming her daughters and telling them that if they were martyred, they would become the brides of Christ. The virgins were beheaded first, then their mother, then St. Abakir and St. John.
Their bodies were cast to the wild beasts and to the birds of the sky. However, some believers came and took their bodies by night and they placed them in a coffin and hid them until the end of the time of persecution.