20000 thousand of St. Martyrs
20000 thousand of St. Martyrs
Glikerius, Zinon, Theothilus, Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius, Indys, Horhonius, Peter, Euthimius, Secund, Nikostratus, Agafia, Domna, Theothila, Anthonia and others.
At the beginning of the IV century emperor Maximian (284 - 305) ordered to destroy Christian churches, burn religious books and deprive all Christians of their civil rights and posts. At that time the bishop of Nikodimia was St. Chirill who contributed by his sermons and behavior to the spreading of Christianity. So many of the emperor grandees were secret Christians.
At the emperor's court there lived pagan priestess Domna. In Maximian's absence she had read the Apostles' Deeds and the Apostle Paul's Message and desire to learn Christianity inflamed her heart. With the assistance of a young Christian Domna accompanied by eunuch Indys secretly came to Bishop Chirill. There they both were baptized. Domna began charity and with Indys' help passed round all her jewelry, food which left after the emperor's meals. The chief eunuch learned about their strange way of life and imprisoned and starved them, but Angels kept them safe. To escape living with pagans Domna pretended insane and was exiled from the emperor's palace. She settled in a nunnery at abbess Agafia who gave her men's clothes, cut her hair and let out.
In the meanwhile the emperor returned and ordered to find the former priestess. The soldiers reached the nunnery and ruined it. Nuns were imprisoned, tormented, and outraged, but none of them was violated. St. Theothila who was sent to brothel kept her virginity - an Angel lead her out. Once the emperor organized pagan oblation at the town square, when the crowd was sprinkled with blood, Christians left the square. The emperor saw it and flared but did not show one's rage as earth suddenly trembled. Some time later Maximian came to church and demanded renunciation of Christ, promising to burn church and kill Christians. Presbyter Glikerius answered that Christians would never disavow Christ regardless any tortures. The emperor left enraged and later ordered to bring Glikerius for judgment. Executioners tormented the presbyter, who kept praying all the time. Seeing his rigidity, Maximian commanded to burn him.
On Christmas of 302 A.D. In Nikodimian cathedral gathered for about 20000 Christians. The emperor sent there a herald who announced the emperor's order to leave the church and make sacrifice to idols, otherwise he threatened to burn them. During the preparations for burning bishop Anfim (memory on September, 3) baptized and gave communion to the present. All 20000 of praying people died in fire. Among them died abbess Agafia and St. Theothila who miraculously escaped from haunt. Bishop Anfim managed to escape.
Maximian believed that he exterminated all Christians, but later learned that they still live and profess their religion ready to die for Christ. He desired to finish with them. By his order general Zinon was was captured and cruelly beaten for calling the emperor godless and monstrous. Zinon was beheaded. Eunuch Indys was imprisoned for the refusal to participate in heathen feast.
Meantime Domna had been concealing in a cave eating plants. Persecution continued. Were imprisoned the Italia governor, Dorofeius, Mardonius, deacon Migdopius and some grandees. Bishop Anfim strengthened their spirit sending them messages. One of the messages was found at deacon Theothilus, he was tortured, but the St. martyr endured the torments. Then he was executed together with those mentioned in the message.
When St. Domna returned to the town she cried on the church ruins regretting that she had not died together with her sisters. Then she went to the sea coast. At that time fishermen's nets caught the bodies of St. Martyrs Indys, Gorgonius and Peter. St. Domna still dressed in men's cloths helped the fishermen and they left the bodies to her. With veneration she observed the saint relic especially she was rejoiced to see her friend - Martyr Indys. She kept staying with them even after the burial daily scensing the tombs. When the emperor learned about an unknown youth rendering homage to the executed Christians he ordered to behead him. Together with Domna was killed St. Martyr Euthimius.