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10 Holy Martyrs of Crete (23 December)

The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompius, Agathopus, Basilides and Evaristus suffered for Christ during the third century under the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of Crete, also named Decius, fiercely persecuted the Church, and arrested anyone who believed in Christ. Once, ten Christians were brought before him from various cities of Crete, who at the trial steadfastly confessed their faith in Christ and refused to worship idols.

For thirty days they were subjected to cruel tortures, and with the help of God they all persevered, glorifying God. Before their death they prayed that the Lord would enlighten their torturers with the light of the true Faith. Since pain did not influence them, the saints were beheaded.

Saint Paul of Constantinople (November 6) visited Crete about a hundred years later. He took the relics of the holy martyrs to Constantinople to serve as a protection for the city, and a source of blessings for the faithful.

Άγιοι Δέκα Μάρτυρες που μαρτύρησαν στην Κρήτη - Ενωμένη Ρωμηοσύνη

These Saints, who were all from Crete, contested for piety’s sake during the reign of Decius, in the year 250. Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, and Eunician were from Gortynia, the capital; Zoticus was from Knossos; Agathopus, from the port city of Panormus; Basilides, from Cydonia; Evarestus and Pompey, from Heraklion. Haled before the Governor as Christians, they were subjected to torments for thirty days, being scourged, racked, dragged upon the ground through dung heaps, stoned, spit upon. They were questioned again, but their costancy roused the Governor to greater fury. After subjecting them to torments more bitter still, he had them beheaded.

They suffered for Christ the Lord during the persecution of Decius in the year 250 A.D. Their names were Theodulus, Saturnicus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompeius, Agathopous, Basilides and Evaristus. They were all eminent and honored citizens, the best among the best. When they were brought to the place of execution they were elated, and they discussed among themselves which of them would be the first to be beheaded, for each one of them wanted to be the first to go to his beloved Christ. Then they prayed: “O Lord, forgive Thy servants and accept our blood, which is about to be shed, as an offering on our behalf and for our kinsmen and friends and for all of our fatherland, that all may be freed from the darkness of ignorance and may know Thee, the True Light, O Eternal King!” They were beheaded and entered into the Kingdom of Glory to rejoice eternally.

Apolytikion of 10 Martyrs of Crete

Third Tone

Let us now honour Crete, that land most marvellous, which sprouted forth the ten flowers revered by all, those goodly pearls of Christ our God, those verdant boughs of the Martyrs; for although they were but ten, the most blessed men put to shame the ten thousand armoured host of the wicked demonic ranks. And hence, they have received crowns of glory as stout-hearted Martyrs of Christ Saviour.

Kontakion of 10 Martyrs of Crete

Fourth Tone

Shining like a morning star, the Martyrs’ contest, worthy of all reverence, hath shown beforehand unto us Him that was born in a lowly cave, and Whom the Virgin conceived without seed of man.

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