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 40 Martyrs of Sebastia
Posted By: Moderator  
 Event date: Saturday, March 25, 2006
This event has ended. 


March 25, the Armenian Church commemorates the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia.

Although the background and identity of the forty young soldiers are not known for sure, it is believed that they came from Lesser Armenia. They served in the Roman army in the region of Cappadocia.

During a general purge of Christians from the ranks, it became rumored that in Sepastia there was an elite military unity whose members were Christians. Forty youths of the unit confirmed being Christians and remained steadfast to their faith.

The young soldiers were tried and condemned to death by stoning. Miraculously, when the sentence was being carried out, the stones would not reach the intended targets, but rather “boomeranged” striking those throwing the stones. The young soldiers were then thrown into a frozen lake and forced to stay there, with the admonition that should they renounce their faith they would be allowed to come out of the cold water and into a warm bath. Of the forty, one chose to accept this offer, but he died nevertheless. As one by one the youths died, halos came down upon them. Seeing this, one of the guards threw himself into the lake and joined the 39 bringing the number to 40 again.

Subsequently some of our great church fathers, such as Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephraem the Assyrian, and Sisian of Sebastia, wrote panegyrics about the forty martyrs.

Their memory is commemorated each year during Lent on the Saturday following the median day of Lent (Meechink), The Armenians have also built and named churches in their memory in various parts of the world.



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