The Righteous Martyrs were put to death by the barbarians during the reign of Emperor Heraclius, when Saint Modestus was Patriarch of Jerusalem (632-634).
This glorious monastery, which still exists today, was visited by St. Sava of Serbia and endowed by several Serbian rulers. Many times it was attacked, pillaged and laid waste by ruthless Arabs. But, by the providence of God, it was always restored and is preserved to this day. During the reign of Constantine and Irene, it was attacked and pillaged by the Arabs.
The monks did not want to flee, but taking counsel with their abbot Thomas they said: “We have fled from the world into this wilderness for the sake of our love for Christ, and it would be shameful if we fled from the wilderness out of fear of men. If we are slain here, we will be slain because of our love for Christ, for Whose sake we came here to live.” Having decided this, they awaited the armed Arabs, unarmed like lambs before wolves. The Arabs slew some of the monks with arrows and some they sealed off in the cave of St. Sava. Then the Arabs lit a fire at the entrance of the cave, and the monks were suffocated by the smoke.
Thus many of them died as martyrs for the sake of Christ and went to the Kingdom of Him Whom they loved and for Whose love they perished. They suffered honorably before Pascha [the Feast of the Resurrection] in 796 A.D., during the time of Constantine and Irene, and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Elias. A just punishment quickly befell the savage marauders. Returning to their tents, they began to quarrel among themselves and, fighting with one another, slew one another.
Apolytikion of Fathers of the Monastery of St. Savas
Blessed is the earth that drank your blood, O prizewinners of the Lord, and holy are the tabernacles that received your spirits; for in the stadium ye triumphed over the enemy, and ye proclaimed Christ with boldness. Beseech Him, we pray, since He is good, to save our souls.
Kontakion of Fathers of the Monastery of St. Savas
Shunning all earthly and corruptible pleasures, ye chose a life of great ascetical struggles, disdaining worldly beauty and all fleeting fame; wherefore, ye dwell joyously in the Kingdom of Heaven with the Martyrs’ holy choirs and the ranks of ascetics. Hence, we revere your memory and cry: From every peril, O Fathers, deliver us.