Paona 9 : The Martyrdom of St. Claudius, and the Commemoration of the Consecration of the Altar of the Forty Martyrs in Alexandria.
1. The Martyrdom of St. Claudius.
On this day, the honorable St. Claudius, was martyred. He was the son of Ptolemy (Abtelmawos), who was Emperor Numerianus' brother. He was loved by the people of Antioch for his courage and good appearance. Because they loved him so greatly, they painted a picture of him on the doors of the city of Antioch.
When Diocletian reneged the faith and incited the persecution against the Christians, this Saint agreed with St. Boktor (Victor) Ebn Romanus to be martyred for the sake of the Name of Christ.
Satan appeared to them in the form of an old man and told them, "O my sons, you are young men, the sons of nobility, and I am afraid for you from this infidel Emperor; so if he asked you to worship the idols, accept his command, and in your houses you can worship Christ in secret." They realized that he was satan disguised as an old man and told him, "O you who are filled with all evil, go away from us." Straightway the old man changed his appearance and became like a black slave and told them, "Behold, I will go before you to the Emperor and instigate him to shed your blood."
The Emperor brought St. Claudius and proposed to him the worship of the idols, and promised to give him his father's position. Claudius neither accepted his promise, nor submitted to his order. He spoke to him boldly and fearlessly reviling him for worshipping the idols. The Emperor did not dare to harm him for the people of Antioch loved him. Romanus, St. Victor's father, advised the Emperor to send him to Egypt to be killed there. He sent him with a letter to the Governor of Ansena (Antinoe) stating in it: "Claudius neither obeyed our orders, nor hearkened our words. Persuade him with all your power first, and if he does not return on his counsel, cut off his head." When the Saint heard that, he called Sidrakhos, his sister's husband, asked him to care for his sister, his possessions and bid him farewell. The Saint went with the soldiers to Egypt. When he arrived to Arianus, the governor of Ansena, he received him standing, kissed his hand, and said, "O my master Claudius, do not transgress the command of the Emperor." The Saint replied, "I was not sent to you for you to lead me astray by your words, but that you might fulfil what the emperor commanded." They argued with each other till Arianus became enraged with the answers of the Saint, and he drove the spear into the Saint. He delivered up his pure spirit and received the crown of martyrdom. Some of the believers, took his body and shrouded it. They placed it with the body of St. Victor who was martyred shortly before that. After the end of the time of persecution, Victor's mother came, and took their bodies to Antioch.
May their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. The Commemoration of the Consecration of the Altar of the Forty Martyrs in Alexandria.
On this day also, the church celebrates the commemoration of the consecration of the altar of the Forty martyrs of Sebastia, in the church of the Savior, in Alexandria.
May their intercession be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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