New Martyr Ahmed the Calligrapher

December 24

Saint Ahmed was born and raised a Muslim in Constantinople during the Ottoman Empire. As a profession, he worked as a copyist or calligrapher in the Great Archives. Because he was unmarried, according to Ottoman law, he lived together with a young Russian slave girl as well as an older slave woman, both of whom were very pious Orthodox Christians. Being a generous master, Ahmed allowed his older slave woman to go to Church on Sundays and Feast Days. She would bring back the antidoron (holy bread given after the service) and she would give it to the younger slave girl. After she ate the antidoron, a beautiful and heavenly fragrance came from her mouth. Ahmed would ask her what she had eaten that was making her breath so fragrant, and she would reply that she wasn’t eating anything, not considering the antidoron a type of food. Eventually she realised that it was the antidoron which she explained that it was holy bread that was blessed by the priests. Having heard this, Ahmed was filled with yearning to learn about the Orthodox Faith. He asked to attend a Divine Liturgy attended by the Patriarch of Constantinople. When he was in the liturgy, he noticed the Patriarch shining in light and elevated off the floor. Also, as he came out of the altar to bless the people, rays of light beamed from his fingers and fell on each of the people’s heads. All except Ahmed’s head. In this way, Ahmed accepted Christ and without delay, sought out baptism. One day, when Ahmed was conversing with certain noble Ottomans, the began to discuss the greatest thing in the world. Each gave their opinion, and when it came to Ahmed’s turn, he exclaimed boldly that the greatest thing in the world was the Faith of the Orthodox Christians. Confessing himself a Christian, the noblemen were aghast, but then fell on him and dragged him to the judge who sentenced him to death. Thus, the New Martyr Ahmed received the imperishable crown of martyrdom.