Comments to: David Woods
Last Updated: April 2001

The 60 Martyrs of Gaza (BHL 5672m)

Here begins the passion of the 60 martyrs who suffered under the Saracens on 17 December.

1. The martyrdom of the 60 soldiers of Christ who were captured by the wicked Saracens in the Christ-loving city of Gaza during the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the 27th year of the emperor Heraclius who had been crowned by God. It happened at that time that the godless Saracens were besieging the Christ-loving city of Gaza. Forced by need, the city sought an agreement, and this was done. They gave their word to the Saracens, apart from the soldiers who were captured in the same city. Entering the city and capturing the most Christian soldiers, [the Saracens] sent them to prison. On the following day, Ambrus ordered the holy soldiers of Christ to be brought forward. He tried to force those brought before him to desert their confession of Christ and the precious and life-giving cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. However, when they did not submit, Ambrus ordered them to be separated from their wives, sons and weapons, and to be sent to prison again. When they had passed 30 days in prison, he ordered them to be brought in irons again to the city which is called Eleutheropolis and to be sent to jail there again for two months. Furthermore, he gave orders to the Saracens and sent them ...... theropolis in irons. And they passed three months there again. Wicked Ambrus took thought, gave orders to the Saracens, removed them from prison and ordered them to be sent to prison in the holy city. When he learned this, the most holy patriarch Sophronius visited them by night and urged and begged them not to desert their confession of Christ who suffered for us, and that not one of them should be separated from faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. The chief of the holy martyrs of Christ, Callinicus by name, did likewise, daily urging and begging them to imitate the 40 holy martyrs. However, the Devil again inspired Ambrus, hateful to God, and after 10 months he wrote concerning the holy martyrs to the emir who was the leader in the holy city, telling him to go to the holy martyrs in prison and to tell them to deny their faith; and that if they agreed to deny Christ, to remove the irons from them and to send them on with great honour; and that if they refused to submit, to behead their chief, together with nine others, in front of them, so that, seeing this, the rest would, perhaps, be led by fear and deny their faith.

2. When he had heard this, the most holy patriarch Sophronius did not rest that night, but implored each one with tears, and reminded them of their faith in Christ. It happened, therefore, that when the emir came to them, released them from prison, and read to them what Ambrus had written, the holy martyrs of Christ did not submit to his commands, but all confessed together the faith of Our Lord Christ. Then, angered, the emir cast the saints outside the city, before its gates, and ordered their chief to be beheaded, together with nine other martyrs. The most holy patriarch Sophronius took them up and buried them in the one place where he also founded a church of St. Stephen, the first martyr. These are the names of the saints who suffered in the holy city of God: from the unit of the Scythi - Callidicus, Imerius, Illustrius, Theodore, Stephen; from the unit of the Voluntarii - Peter, Paul, Theodore, John, and another John. These martyrs of Christ died on 11 November during the 13th indiction.

3.The other saints were returned to prison. The emir wrote to Ambrus, saying, "I have acted in accordance with your command, and when those soldiers did not submit, I imposed the death-penalty upon them, but locked the others in prison. Write back to me what course of action seems best to you." After 30 days, however, the devil planted evil in the heart of Ambrus again, and he ordered the emir to send the other saints in irons to him, and the martyrs of Christ stood together before Ambrus. Ambrus ordered their wives and sons to be brought before them. When these had been brought forward, Ambrus said to the holy martyrs of Christ, "How long will you remain stiff-necked and refuse to submit to us concerning our rites ? If you submit to us, behold, you will have your wives and sons, and will be like us, and will be honoured just like one of us; but if you do not, you too will suffer what your fellow-soldiers have suffered." Then the holy martyrs responded together to Ambrus, saying, "No-one can separate us from the love of Christ, neither wives, nor sons, nor all the wealth of this world, but we are servants of Christ, the Son of the living God, and we are prepared to die for Him who died and rose for us." When the most cruel Ambrus heard this, he was filled with anger, his face changed, and he ordered the holy martyrs of Christ to be surrounded by a crowd of Saracens, and in this way he wickedly killed them on account of their faith in Christ. When they had died in this way, some Christ-loving men came and bought their bodies, paying 3,000 solidi for them. And they buried the martyrs of Christ with great honour, laying them to rest in Eleutheropolis and building there a church in which the Holy, Life-giving and Consubstantial Trinity is adored.

4. These are the names of the saints who died for their faith in Christ: from the unit of the Scythi - John, Paul, and another John, Paul, Photinus, Zitas, Eugenius, Musilius, John, Stephen, Theodore, John the father and the son Theodore, George, Theopentus, George, Sergius, George, Theodore, Quiriacus, John, Zitas and John, Philoxenus, George, John, George; from the unit of the Voluntarii - Theodore, Epiphanius, John, Theodore, Sergius, George, Thomas, Stephen, Conon, Theodore, Paul, John, George, John and John, Paulinus, Galumas, Habramius, Mermicius, and Marinus. These martyrs of Christ died on 17 December, on the 5th day of the week, at the 6th hour, during the 13th indiction, in the 28th year of the emperor Heraclius, during the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Back to 60 Martyrs Main Page
Copyright © 2001, David Woods. This file may be copied for the purpose of private research only.