The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete

Celebrated 23rd December

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In the third century under the oppressive reign of Roman emperor Decius, ten men fought the good fight.

Decius ruled from 249 to 251, and fiercely persecuted followers of Christ. Saints Theodulus, Saturninus, Europus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompeius, Agathopous, Basilides and Evaristus came from all over Crete, including Gortyna, Knossos and Heraklion. They were united before the emperor because of their belief in Christ. For thirty days they were dragged to pagan sanctuaries all over Crete, forced to make idolatrous sacrifices. Passers-by mocked them, hit them, threw stones at them and spat in their faces. They were even dragged through dung.

Despite these sufferings, they persevered in their faith and refused to concede to the demands of their society. Displays of such heroic endurance gave encouragement to other Christians in Crete. Decius therefore ordered even more cruel tortures, before their limbs were finally broken and they were each beheaded.

These ten men were unified in their love for Christ and won the crown of eternal glory. Their adversaries wished to break their spirit, yet God brought these men together in order to strengthen their spirit. Around one hundred years later, St Paul of Constantinople (November 6) visited Crete and took the relics of The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete back to Constantinople to serve as a protection for the city.


Source: December 2015 – January 2016 Lychnos Edition