The Holy Martyr Victor at Damascus was a soldier during the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius the Philosopher (161-180). When the emperor began a persecution against Christians, Victor refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Such obligatory sacrifices were a test of a soldier’s loyalty to the gods, the emperor and the state. The saint was given over to torture, but he came through all the torments unharmed. By the power of prayer he was victorious over a sorcerer, who from that point gave up give sorcery and became a Christian.
Through Saint Victor’s prayers, blind soldiers suddenly received their sight. Witnessing the miracle worked by the Lord through Saint Victor, Stephanida, the young Christian wife of one of the torturers, openly glorified Christ, for which she was condemned to a cruel death. She was tied to two palm trees bent to the ground, which when released, sprung back and tore her apart. She was fifteen years old.
The torturer ordered that the holy Martyr Victor be beheaded. Hearing the commander’s order, Saint Victor told his executioners that they would all die in twelve days, and that the commander would be captured by the enemy in twenty-four days. As he foretold, so it came to pass.
The martyrs suffered in the second century at Damascus, where their venerable relics were buried.
Saints Victor and Stephanie contested in Damascus in 160, during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The pagans arrested Saint Victor as a Christian and cut off his fingers, put out his eyes, and beheaded him. As Saint Stephanie, the wife of a certain soldier, and a Christian, saw Victor’s nobility in his sufferings, she loudly cried out to call him blessed and to say that she saw two crowns prepared, one for him, and one for herself. She also was taken, and was tied to two palm trees which had been bowed down; when they were released, she was torn asunder.
Victor was a soldier of Roman birth. He was tortured for Christ during the reign of Emperor Antoninus. At the time of his torture a young woman, Stephanida, declared that she too was a Christian. Victor was beheaded and Stephanida was pulled apart by having her legs bound to the tops of two palm trees.
Apolytikion of Martyrs Victor and Stephanie
With songs of praise, let us hymn the steadfast athletes of Christ: * divine Victor, Vincent, and the noble Stephanie, with Menas the all-glorious. * Having crushed the foe in sundry ages and countries, * they rejoice together, glorified in the Heavens. * Have mercy, O Christ Saviour, on all, by Thy Great Martyrs’ prayers.
Kontakion of Martyrs Victor and Stephanie
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As godly-minded athletes and Martyrs who strove for piety, the Church doth honour and glorify this day the godly contests and travails of Menas the prizewinner, noble Victor, brave Vincent, and valiant Stephanie, and lovingly doth cry out and glorify Christ, the Friend of man.
Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org