These Martyrs, men of high rank in the Roman (Byzantine) army, were taken captive when the city of Amorion in Phrygia fell to the Moslem Arabs in 838, during the reign of Theophilus the Iconoclast. Among them were Aetius and Melissenus, the generals; Theodore, the chief of the imperial ceremonial bodyguard; Craterus, the eunuch; Callistus, Constantine, Bassoes, and Theophilius, who were military officials; and certain others who held important positions. Because of their experience in war and their virtue, the Moslems did not slay them, but tried by all means to convert them to Islam and have them to fight in their own campaigns. They kept the holy Martyrs shut up in a dark dungeon in the city of Samarra in Syria, threatening and abusing them, making promises of glorious rank and magnificent riches, keeping them in hunger, oppression, and darkness, not for a few weeks, or a few months, but for seven full years. Finally, unable to break the courage and faith of their captives, they beheaded them in the year 845.
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Ye who contended on earth for Christ's glory, and were shown forth as godly crown-bearing Martyrs, have been vouchsafed to dwell in Heaven joyously; for since ye brake all the snares of the enemy's cunning by your suff'rings and the blood of your tortures and woundings, ye ever send down freely from on high loosing of sins unto all them that honour you.
Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Kontakion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery