Our Holy Mothers, the Martyrs Archelais, Theela and Susanna
As pure and virginal nuns, they lived the ascetic life in an unknown monastery near Rome. When a persecution of Christians arose under the wicked Emperor Diocletian, they fled to Campania and settled near the town of Nola. Their holy life could not be concealed, and people from nearby began to come to them for counsel, instruction and help in various trials and sicknesses, and they were finally seized by the pagans and taken for trial. They publicly and freely confessed their faith in Christ. When the judge, Leontius, questioned holy Archelais about the Christian faith, she replied: `It is by the power of Christ that I overcome the power of the devil and teach the people understanding and knowledge of the one, true God. By the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, it is given that, through me His servant, the sick find healing.' All three maidens were whipped, flogged with heavy staves, left to languish in prison and finally beheaded. When they were led out to the scaffold, angels appeared to them, which were seen by some of the executioners and inspired such fear in them that they dared not lift up their swords against the holy maidens. They, however, urged the executioners to finish their task. And thus, as lambs, were they beheaded in the year 293, and went to the Kingdom of Christ to rest in eternity and delight in beholding the face of God.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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