Hieromartyr Simeon the Bishop in Persia, and those with him in Persia

Commemorated on April 17

    

The Hieromartyr Simeon, Bishop of Persia, suffered during a persecution against Christians under the Persian emperor Sapor II (310-381). They accused the saint of collaborating with the Roman Empire and of subversive activities against the Persian emperor.

In the year 344, the emperor issued an edict which imposed a heavy tax upon Christians. When some of them refused to pay it, this was regarded as an act of rebellion, so the emperor began a fierce persecution against Christians.

Saint Simeon was brought to trial in iron fetters as a supposed enemy of the Persian realm, together with the two hieromartyrs Habdelai and Ananias. The holy bishop would not even bow to the emperor, who asked why he would not show him the proper respect. The saint answered, “Formerly, I bowed because of your rank, but now, when you ask me to renounce my God and abandon my faith, it is not proper for me to bow to you.”

The emperor urged him to worship the sun, and he threatened to eradicate Christianity in his land if he refused. But neither urgings nor threats could shake the steadfast saint, and they led him off to prison. Along the way the eunuch Usphazanes, a counsellor of the emperor, saw the saint. He stood up and bowed to the bishop, but the saint turned away from him because he, a former Christian, out of fear of the emperor, now worshipped the sun.

The eunuch repented with all his heart, he exchanged his fine attire for coarse garb, and sitting at the doors of the court, he cried out bitterly, “Woe to me, when I stand before my God, from Whom I am cut off. Here was Simeon, and he has turned his back on me!”

The emperor Sapor learned about the grief of his beloved tutor and asked him what had happened. He told the emperor that he bitterly regretted his apostasy and would no more worship the sun, but only the one true God. The emperor was surprised at the old man’s sudden decision, and he urged him not to abjure the gods whom their fathers had reverenced. But Usphazanes was unyielding, and they condemned him to death. Saint Usphazanes asked that the city heralds report that he died not for crimes against the emperor, but for being a Christian. The emperor granted his request.

Saint Simeon also learned about the death of Usphazanes, and he gave thanks to the Lord. When they brought him before the emperor a second time, Saint Simeon again refused to worship the pagan gods and confessed his faith in Christ. The enraged emperor gave orders to behead all the Christians in the prison before the saint’s eyes.

Without fear the Christians went to execution, blessed by the holy hierarch, and they bent their heads beneath the sword. Saint Simeon’s companion, the Priest Habdelai, was also beheaded. When they came to the Priest Ananias, he suddenly trembled. Then one of the dignitaries, Saint Phusicus, a secret Christian, was afraid that Ananias would renounce Christ, and he cried out, “Do not fear the sword, Elder, and you will see the divine light of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Saint Phusicus betrayed himself by this outburst. The emperor gave orders to pluck out his tongue and to flay the skin off him. Along with Saint Phusicus, his daughter Askitrea was also martyred. Saint Simeon was the last to go before the executioner, and he placed his head on the chopping-block (April 13, 344). Executions continued all during Bright Week until April 23.

Saint Azates the Eunuch, a close official to the emperor, also received the crown of martyrdom. The sources indicate that 1,150 Martyrs perished because they refused to accept the Persian religion.

Troparion — Tone 4

As an instructor of divinely inspired doctrines / you trained martyrs for contest by your words and deeds. / You suffered with them, holy hierarch Simeon, / crying out to Christ while hastening to Him: / “We are counted as sheep for the slaughter out of love for You, O Savior.”

Kontakion — Tone 4

With your holy band of martyrs / you shone forth from Persia like radiant stars. / With them we praise you, O Simeon.

See also
The Suffering of the Holy Virgin-Martyr Seraphima The Suffering of the Holy Virgin-Martyr Seraphima
St. Dimitry of Rostov
The Suffering of the Holy Virgin-Martyr Seraphima The Suffering of the Holy Virgin-Martyr Seraphima
July 29/August 11
St. Dimitry of Rostov
The governor ordered to organize a tribunal on that spot where trials usually took place, and ordered the city officials to bring Seraphima. The impious authorities seized the holy maiden and led her to the trial.
The Holy Great Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki The Holy Great Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki
St. Nicholai Velimirovich
The Holy Great Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki The Holy Great Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki
St. Nicholai Velimirovich
Knowing what was awaiting him, Demetrius gave all his goods to his faithful servant Lupus to distribute to the poor, and joyfully awaited his imminent suffering for Christ the Lord.An angel of God appeared to him in prison, saying: "Peace be to you, O sufferer of Christ; be brave and be strong!"
The Life and Passion of the Holy Great-martyr Eustathius [Eustace] Placidas, and of His Wife and Children The Life and Passion of the Holy Great-martyr Eustathius [Eustace] Placidas, and of His Wife and Children
From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 1: September, compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
The Life and Passion of the Holy Great-martyr Eustathius [Eustace] Placidas, and of His Wife and Children The Life and Passion of the Holy Great-martyr Eustathius [Eustace] Placidas, and of His Wife and Children
From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 1: September, compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
A most radiant cross appeared between the deer’s antlers, and as Placidas gazed upon it, he beheld the likeness of Jesus Christ, Who was crucified for us. He was astonished by this strange vision, and he heard a voice saying to him, "Why do you pursue Me, 0 Placidas?"
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