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The 7 Hieromartyrs of Cherson (7 March)

These holy Bishops were sent to Cherson on the Black Sea by Hermon, Bishop of Jerusalem, in the days of Diocletian, about the year 300, to preach the Gospel. Ephraim and Basileus were sent first. Basileus raised to life the dead son of a local ruler, because of which many were baptized.

Those who remained in their unbelief, however, dragged him through the streets until he died. Ephraim, refusing to offer sacrifice to idols, was beheaded. After them, Euguene, Agathodorus, Capito, and Elpitius were sent by the Bishop of Jerusalem as heralds of the Faith, but they also were slain by the ungodly. Last of all, the Bishop of Jerusalem sent Aetherius; he was drowned during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great.

All of them were bishops in Cherson at different times. All suffered and were martyred at the hands of unbelievers: either Jews, or Greeks, or Scythians. Only Aetherius died peacefully. All of them were sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem as missionaries to bring the light of the Gospel to this wild and uncivilized area. They were tortured and suffered for their Lord. In Cherson, Basil raised the son of a prince from the dead. This embittered the Jews, and they brought an accusation against him. He was bound by the feet and dragged through the streets until his soul departed from his body.

Ephraim was beheaded. Eugene, Elpidius and Agathadorus were beaten with rods and stoned until they gave up their souls to God. Aetherius lived during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. He governed the Church in freedom and peace, erected a large church in Cherson and died peacefully. When the last of them, Capito, was appointed bishop for the wild and savage Scythians, they sought a sign from him that they might believe. They suggested that he enter a fiery furnace. If he was not consumed, they would all believe in Christ. With fervent prayers and hope in God, Capito placed his episcopal pallium over his shoulders, signed himself with the sign of the Cross and, keeping his heart close to God, entered the fiery furnace.

He remained in the flames for about an hour without any injury or damage, either to his body or vesture. He came out in good health. Then all of them cried out at once: “One is God, the God of the Christians, great and mighty, Who protects His servant in the fiery furnace.” All in the city and in the surrounding area were then baptized. This miracle was spoken of at length at the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325 A.D.]. The participants in the Council all glorified God and praised the steadfast and solid faith of St. Capito. It happened that while Capito was traveling along the Dnieper River, he was captured by the pagan Scythians and drowned. All seven of these hieromartyrs suffered around the beginning of the fourth century.

Apolytikion of 7 Hieromartyrs of Cherson

Plagal of the First Tone

Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strengthen the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.