St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

7 / 20 March

The Seven Hieromartyrs of Cherson

Basil, Ephraim, Eugene, Elpidius, Agathodorus, Aetherius and Capito. They were all bishops in Cherson at different times, and all suffered from unbelievers (only Aetherius died peacefully), either Jews or Greeks from Scythia. They had all gone to that savage land as missionaries, sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the light of the Gospel there. They were all tortured and suffered for the sake of their Lord. Basil raised the son of a prince of Cherson to life, which embittered the Jews and they brought charges against him. He was bound by the feet and dragged through the streets of the town until he gave up the ghost. Ephraim was beheaded. Eugene, Elpidius and Agathorodus were beaten with rods and stones until they gave their souls into God's hands. Aetherius lived in the time of Constantine the Great, and so he governed the Church in freedom and peace, built a great church in Cherson and died peacefully. When the last of them, Capito, was sent as bishop, the savage Scythians sought a sign of him, that they might believe. And they suggested to him that he go into a burning furnace, and, if he were not burned up, they would believe. With fervent prayer and hope in God, Capito put on his episcopal pallium and, crossing himself, entered the burning furnace, holding his heart and thoughts directed towards God. He stood in the flames for about an hour, and came out untouched, with no scorch-mark either on his body or his clothing. Then all cried out: 'There is one God, the great and powerful God of the Christians, who keeps His servant safe in the burning furnace!', and the whole town and surroundings were baptised. Many spoke of this wonder at the Council of Nicaea (325), and all glorified God and praised the firm faith of St Capito. But Scythian unbelievers caught Capito by the River Dnieper and drowned him. They all suffered around the beginning of the fourth century.

Saint Eosterwine

688. A Northumbrian noble, he entered the monastery of Wearmouth with his relative St Benedict. He succeeded St Benedict as abbot. He was celebrated for his gentleness.

On the same day: Our Holy Father Emilianus

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