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Date: 25 June
Commemoration of the Venerable Martyr Febronia.

The Virgin-Martyr Febronia suffered during the reign of Diocletian (284-305). She was raised at a monastery in the city of Sivapolis (Assyria region). The head of the women's monastery was the hegumenia Brienna, the aunt of Saint Febronia, and being concerned about the salvation of Saint Febronia, she assigned her a stricter form of life than the other nuns. According to their monastic ustavrule, on Fridays the sisters left aside their other duties and spent the whole day at prayer and the reading of Holy Scripture, and usually the hegumenia appointed the reading to Saint Febronia. News about her pious life spread throughout the city. The illustrious young widow Hieria, a pagan, began to visit her, and under the influence of her guidance and prayer she accepted holy Baptism, bringing then to the Christian faith her parents and kinsfolk.

Diocletian dispatched to Assyria for the destruction of Christians a detachment of soldiers under the command of Lysimachus, Selenus and Primus. Selenos, the uncle of Lysimachus, was noted for his fierce attitude against Christians, but Lysimachus was of a different frame of mind from him, since his mother had sought to inspire love for the Christian faith in her son, and she had died a Christian. And Lysimachus had discussed with his kinsman Primus how far possible it would be to deliver Christians from the hands of the torturer. When the detachment of soldiers approached the convent, its inhabitants hid. There remained only the hegumenia Brienna, her helper Thomaida and Saint Febronia, who at the time was seriously ill. It sorrowed the hegumenia terribly, that her niece would fall into the hands of the torturers, possibly to defile her, and she prayed fervently that the Lord would preserve her and strengthen her in the confession of Christ the Saviour. Selenus gave orders to bring him all the nuns of the convent. Primus with the detachment of soldiers found no one, except the two old women and Saint Febronia. He regretted that they had not hidden, and he suggested to the nuns to be gone. But the nuns decided not to quit the place of their labours and they entrusted themselves to the will of the Lord. Primus told Lysimachus about the particular beauty of Saint Febronia and advised him to take her for himself in marriage. Lysimachus answered, that he did not wish to seduce a virgin dedicated to God, and he asked Primus to hide the other nuns somewhere, so that they would not fall into the hands of Selenus. One of the soldiers overheard the conversation and told Selenus. They led Saint Febronia off to the military commander with her hands bound and a chain on her neck. Selenus urged her to recant from the faith in Christ and he promised her honours, rewards, and marriage with Lysimachus. The holy virgin firmly and fearlessly answered, that she had the Immortal Bridegroom and she would not exchange Him for some worldly blessing. Selenus subjected her to fierce torture. The saint prayed: "My Saviour, do not abandon me in this terrible hour!" They beat the martyress for a long time, and blood from her handcuffs flowed from the wounds. In order to intensify the suffering of Saint Febronia, they tied her to a tree and set a fire under it. The tortures were so inhuman, that the people began to shout, urging a stop to the torture since there was no confession of guilt by the girl. But Selenus continued to mock and jeer at the martyress. Saint Febronia became silent. Because of weakness she was unable to utter a word. In a rage Selenus gave orders to tear out her tongue, smash her teeth, and finally, to cut off both hands and legs. The people were unable to bear such an horrid spectacle and they left the scene of the torture, cursing Diocletian and his gods.

Among the crowd was the Nun Thomaida, who afterwards recorded in detail the martyr's act of Saint Febronia, and also her student Hieria. She came forth out of the crowd and in the hearing of all reproached Selenus for his boundless cruelty. He gave orders to arrest her, but learning that Hieria was of illustrious standing whom he could not readily subject to torture, he stopped her, saying: "By thy speech thou hast brought on Febronia yet greater torment". Finally, they beheaded the holy Martyress Febronia.

Departing the place of execution, Lysimachus wept and withdrew to his quarters. Selenus made ready to eat, but he was not able to take food, and went off to the quiet of his own chambers. Suddenly, looking upwards, he all at once lost his speech, bellowed like an ox, fell down, and having struck a marble column, he cracked his head and there he died. When Lysimachus learned of this, he said: "O Great God of the Christians, Who art worthy of respect, in that innocent blood hath been revenged!" He Hegumenia Brienna fell senseless, seeing the mutilated remains of Saint Febronia. By evening time she returned to her senses and gave orders to open the convent gates, so that all would be able to come and venerate the holy martyress and glorify God -- having given her such endurance in suffering for Christ the Saviour. Lysimachus and Primus thereupon renounced their idol-worship, and accepted both Baptism and monasticism. Hieria gave her wealth to the convent and petitioned hegumenia Brienna to accept her at the convent in place of Saint Febronia.

Every year, on the day of the martyress death of Saint Febronia there was celebrated at the convent a solemn feast. During the time of the all-night vigil the monastic sisters always saw Saint Febronia, who occupied her usual place in church. From the relics of Saint Febronia occurred numerous miracles and healings. The Life of Saint Febronia was recorded by the Nun Thomaida, an eye-witness to her deeds.

In the year 363 the relics of Saint Febronia were transferred to Constantinople. Soon after the death of Saint Febronia, Saint James the Bishop of Niziba (Comm. 13 January) built a church and transferred into it part of the relics of the holy martyress.

Troparion Tone 3
Like a fragrant rose in the ascetic life, You breathed forth the myrrh of Christ. Therefore he has glorified you as a righteous martyr, O Febronia. Now intercede with him for those who cry: “Rejoice, O noble and blessed martyr!”

Troparion Tone 4
Your lamb Febronia, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love.” Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kondakion Tone 3
You were adorned with the grace of virginity and the beauty of martyrdom, O Febronia, bride of Christ. You wisely carried your lamp and ran to your Bridegroom Receiving an incorruptible crown. Pray for those who faithfully sing hymns of praise to you!

Kondakion Tone 6
“Most sweet Jesus, my Bridegroom, it is not hard for me to follow You;” cried Febronia, “the sweetness of Your love gives wings of hope to my soul, the beauty of Your mercy has sweetened my heart; may I drain the cup of sufferings in imitation of You, so that You may count me worthy to be among the wise virgins: those who dance with You in Your bridal chamber.” Therefore, venerable passion-bearer, as we honor the struggles of your labors we entreat you: “Pray that we not find the doors of the bridal chamber locked to us.”

LITURGY

Romans 1:7-12
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Matthew 5:42-48
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


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