Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

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(March 9/22)

Forty Martyrs of SebasteIn the years 307-325 A.D. the eastern part of the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Licinius.  Licinius fought against Constantine and tried to eliminate Christianity from the lands he controlled.

In one of the legions of the Roman army there were forty Christians who came from Cappadocia.* All were brave and well-trained soldiers, among the best in the army.  In 320 their legion was staying in the Armenian town of Sebaste (now in Turkey).

The commander of the army, Agricola, ordered his soldiers to bring a sacrifice to the pagan gods.  The forty Christian men refused to do that.  Agricola, who was very hostile towards Christianity, tried to force the Cappadocian men to abandon their religion.  First, he promised the soldiers different favours from the emperor.  When that did not work, he began to threaten them with cruel punishment.  The Christian soldiers were thrown in prison where they prepared to die for the holy faith.  In prison they prayed and supported each other.

The next day, the soldiers were taken to a lake.  It was winter, and the water was icy cold.  The soldiers were stripped of their clothes and ordered to stand in the lake the whole night.  To make the punishment worse, warm baths were set beside the lake as a temptation.  One soldier could no longer stand in the freezing water.  He ran towards the baths but fell dead to the ground before reaching them.  The other soldiers continued to pray to the Lord asking Him for strength.

Next morning, the guards saw that the holy soldiers were still alive.  In the air, above their heads, appeared thirty-nine radiant crowns.  One of the guards, Aglaius, seeing the miracle of the true God, shouted, “I am a Christian too!”  With these words, he took off his clothes and ran into the lake.

The soldiers were brought back to prison and tortured until they died.  The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste remained faithful to Christ to the end.

The bodies of the soldiers were burned, and their bones thrown into the river.  The clergymen of Sebaste found the bones and secretly buried them with honour.

view of Cappadocia  20Cappadocia2

Виды Каппадокии


* Территория Каппадокии расположена в современной Турции.  В древние времена страна отличалась сильными христианскими традициями.  Mногочисленные пещерные монастыри Каппадокии сохранились до наших дней.

Licinius [ləˈsɪ nɪ əs]
Cappadocia [ˌkӕpǝ ′douʃǝ]
Armenian [ɑːˈmɪːnɪən]
Sebaste [se′ ba: stǝ]
Turkey [ˈtǝ:kɪ]
Agricola [əˈgrɪ kə lə]

Словарь к тексту

eliminate, v. [ɪˈlɪ mɪ neɪt] устранить, исключить, уничтожить
sacrifice, n. [ˈsæk rɪ faɪs] жертва
abandon, v. [əˈbӕn dən] покидать, оставлять
favour, n. [ˈfeɪvəʳ] услуга, посул, благосклонность
threaten, v. [ˈθretn] угрожать
punishment, n. [ˈpʌ nɪʃ mənt] наказание
temptation, n. [tempˈteɪ ʃən] соблазн, искушение
guard, n. [gɑːd] стражник
radiant, adj. [ˈreɪ dɪ ənt] сияющий, светящийся
torture, v. [ˈtɔː tʃəʳ] мучить
honour, n. [ˈɒnəʳ] честь, почтение