True faith triumphs over the wrath of the Pagans

The martyrs who humbled the proud worshippers of fire

November 15, 2021

martyrs who humbled the proud worshippers of fire

Acepsimas the Bishop, Joseph the Presbyter, and Aeithalas the Deacon, of Persia, were the Christian martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the reign of King Shapur II of Persia. The king had unleashed fierce persecution of believers in Christ, and commanded his magi to torture and kill any Christian who refused to worship Persian gods.

The holy martyrs were seized and told to renounce their faith. Not only did they refuse, but they continued to preach Christianity to their captors. To silence them, the King's men tortured and threw them into prison, making them suffer from hunger and thirst for three years. Then King Shapur came to the pagan temple of fire and ordered to bring the prisoners before him in the hope that the hardships of their imprisonment had shaken their resolve. Again, the prisoners refused to worship the Pagan gods and called on the King to accept Christ instead.

The wrathful King had Asceptimas beheaded immediately, and ordered the other martyrs stoned. To add to their suffering, he ordered the capture of all the local Christians and forced them to throw stones at their shepherds. At the place of execution, he placed a guard to prevent the Christians from taking their bodies.

Yet, for all his powers, the king could not silence the holy martyrs during their lives or after their death. Four days after the execution, a windstorm hit the city killing the guard. After the storm, the body of Saint Joseph disappeared. The Christians buried the body of Aithelias. After several years, a tree grew on his grave, and the fruit of the tree brought multiple healings. The king took the windstorm as a sign of Divine Wrath and ended the persecution of Christians in Persia.

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