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Martyr Alexander and Virgin Martyr Antonina at Constantinople (10 June)

The Holy Martyrs Alexander and Antonina the Virgin. Saint Antonina was from the city of Krodamos (Asia Minor). She was arrested for being a Christian, and was brought before the governor Festus. He urged her to worship the pagan gods, promising to make her a priestess of the goddess Artemis. But the saint bravely confessed Christ, and she urged the governor to renounce the worship of demons in the form of idols. Festus gave orders to strike the saint on the face and lock her up in prison.

The martyr spent all her time at prayer, she ate and drank nothing, but then she heard the voice of God, “Antonina, fortify yourself with food and be brave, for I am with you.” When they led her before the governor again, the martyr continued to stand up for the Christian Faith and to denounce the pagans.

The governor decided to give the holy virgin over for defilement by soldiers, but the Lord inspired one of them, Saint Alexander, to save the holy virgin. He sought permission to go in to her on the pretext that he might be able to convince her to obey the governor’s will. Saint Alexander then suggested that she put on his military attire and flee. Saint Antonina was afraid, but the Lord ordered her to agree.

No one recognized her dressed as a soldier, and she walked out of prison. The soldiers sent by Festus found Saint Alexander alone in the cell. He would not respond to the questions of the governor, and so he was tortured and mercilessly beaten. Through the inspiration of the Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Antonina also came to stand before Festus.

Soldiers cut off their hands, then they smeared them with pitch and threw them into a pit where a fire was burning. When the fire went out, they threw snakes into the pit, so that Christians would not be able to gather up the bones of the martyrs. Returning home, Festus became numb, and was able neither to eat nor to drink. He died after seven days of terrible torment.

Sts Alexander and Antonina were martyred on May 3, 313. In the Prologue their memory is listed under June 10. The relics of the saints were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the Maximov monastery.

The holy Martyrs Alexander and Antonina were from the town of Cardamon (or Crodamon). Antonina was arrested by Festus the Governor and, because she refused to deny Christ, he had her placed in a brothel. But Alexander, sent by divine providence, came in unto her and gave her his cloak; with her head covered, she escaped without having been defiled. When Alexander was discovered, he was taken before Festus, and with Antonina was tortured and burned to death.

Both Alexander and Antonina were from Alexandria. Antonina was an honorable virgin and Alexander, an imperial soldier. They were both Christians. Antonina was first brought to trial and tortured. When they cast her into prison, Alexander, by the command of an angel of God, went to the prison (even though until then he had not know Antonina), covered her with his military mantel and told her to lower her head and so pass through the guards in front of the gates. And so the virgin escaped, and the soldier Alexander remained in prison. Then they brought Alexander before the judge and tortured him for the name of Christ. Hearing of this, Antonina herself appeared before the judge, who subjected both of them to various tortures. He severed their hands, flogged their naked bodies, burned their wounds with candles, and finally threw them into a fire which was burning in a pit, and then covered them with earth. They suffered honorably for the sake of the love of Christ and took up their habitation in the mansions of the Heavenly King on May 3, 313 A.D. Festus, the evil judge, became dumb at the moment of the death of the martyrs, and an evil spirit seized him, tormented him for seven days, and finally killed him.

Apolytikion of Martyrs Alexander and Antonina

Fourth Tone

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.

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