Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia – In Christ we stand

Holy Martyrs St Eulampios and St EulampiaIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember the Holy Martyrs Eulampios and Eulampia and 200 martyrs of Nicomedia, may the holy saints and martyrs pray for us.

The Holy Martyrs Eulampios, and his sister Eulampia, lived in Nicomedia in the 4th century. St Eulampios was firm in his faith in Christ, and for that, he was tortured. Suddenly, the saint Eulampios asked to visit the pagan temple of Mars, and the pagan judges were startled but pleased, imagining that the holy saint relented. The saint cried out, “In the Holy Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you, this idol without soul, to fall down and crumble to dust!” The idol collapsed instantly to dust. The people saw this and proclaimed that the Christian God is the true God. The saint’s sister St Eulampia also stood up and proclaimed her faith in God. St Eulampios was beheaded and St Eulampia died from torture.

Christianity is not as simple a faith as it looks on the surface.

Christianity is deep. It is still. It is profound. And it is sacrifice.

Anyone who presents Christianity in a flaccid and frivolous way, is not showing what Christ our Lord, His Holy Apostles, and all the martyrs and confessors have shown our faith to be. Christianity is tough (as we reflect upon Philippians 3:1-8), and only through fighting our own sins and passions tooth and nail do we crawl our way towards God. It is a battle we fight everyday within ourselves.

We are called to be martyrs of our faith, living or otherwise, abiding in God’s Will. Christ our Lord has shown us exactly what martyrdom meant, and through His martyrdom, we find our way. Through sacrifice and standing in His Truth, we wear the breastplate of our faith, not just as a badge of honor, but also of repentance and prayers. We are called to be strong, abiding in His Strength and His Mercy, in all the days of our lives. Christianity, and the Church, is built on a mountain of martyrs who have fearlessly proclaimed the Truth of Christ our Lord.

Father among the saints St Ignatius of Antioch, said it well:

“I am not yet perfected in Jesus Christ; indeed, I am now but being initiated into discipleship… At last I am well on the way to being a disciple. May nothing seen or unseen fascinate me, so that I may happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with the wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crunching of the whole body, cruel torments inflicted by the devil – let them come upon me provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ… Once arrived there, I shall be a man. Allow me to be a follower of the passion of my God.”

To St Ignatius, and to us as pilgrims of God, we will fight any obstacle that stalls our faith, because only in Christ, will we be made whole (the metaphor of “I shall be a man”, as we also reflect on Psalm 22:19-22).

And what better way to be still (Habakkuk 2:20) and know that our God is here? Here is the Cherubic hymn from the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James, just as we stand still, with fear and trembling, as we pray:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

As the Apostle Paul reminded us in 1 Timothy 6:12, that we are to fight the good fight of faith, to hold on to eternal life, and proclaim our faith in Christ proudly. This is who we are, this is what pleases God as our humble sacrifice, and this is what we seek as we journey relentlessly towards God.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Habakkuk 2:20
Psalm 22:19-22
St Luke 9:7-11
Philippians 3:1-8