The Hieromartyr Theopemptus and the Holy Martyr Theonas
When the Emperor Diocletian gave orders for the persecution of Christians, Theopemptus, Bishop of Nicomedia, was the first to suf-fer for Christ. He was brought before the Emperor, who threatened him with death if he did not deny Christ. To that threat, the courage-ous bishop replied: `It is written: "Fear not those who are able to kill the soul". You, O King, have power over my body. Do with it what-ever you will!' He was cruelly beaten and starved, and tortured in many ways. Finally the Emperor called in a magician, Thconas, to trick the man of God in some way with magic. Theonas dissolved a very strong poison in water and gave it to Theopemptus to drink. Theopemptus made the sign of the Cross over the cup and drank the poison. Theonas, seeing that it had no effect on Theopemptus, turned to the Emperor and cried out: 'I too am a Christian, and wor-ship the Crucified!' They were both condemned to death; Theopemptus was slain with the sword and Theonas buried alive in the year 298. They suffered with honour and became citizens of the Kingdom of Christ.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
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