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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Martyrs of Sevaste

On this day, March 9, 320, singing hymns together, 40 soldiers, stripped of their armor and clothing stood shivering on the pond of Sevaste as the sun sank.

The crisp night air carried a prayer to all ears:
"Lord, there are forty of us engaged in this battle; grant that forty may be crowned and not one be wanting from this sacred number."

They were ordered on the ice to freeze to death because they refused to worship the Roman emperor Licinius.

The "rebels" however, did not wait for the sentence to be imposed, but instead tore off their own clothes and ran to the pond in the raw March air.

"We are soldiers of the Lord and fear no hardship," they said. "What is death for us but an entrance into eternal life?"

41 men died that night, as one of the soldiers standing guard over them, moved by their passion and zeal decided to stand with them in solidarity, and by their example, repented of his own false worship and gave his life to Christ both by confession and by martyrdom.

May we all be encouraged and strengthened by the example of the Martyrs of Sevaste!