ten disciples of St Athenogenes suffered for Christ during the
persecution of Christians in the city of Sebastea in Cappadocia. The
governor Philomachos arranged a large festival in honor of the pagan
gods and called upon the citizens of Sebastea to offer sacrifice to the
idols. Most of the inhabitants of Sebastea were Christians, and refused
to participate in the impious celebration. Soldiers were ordered to kill
those who resisted, and so many Christians received a martyr's crown.
It came to the governor's attention that Christianity was spreading
because of the grace-filled preaching of Bishop Athenogenes. Soldiers
were ordered to find the Elder and arrest him. Bishop Athenogenes and
ten of his disciples lived in a small monastery not far from the city.
The soldiers did not find the bishop there, so they arrested his
disciples. The governor ordered that they be bound with chains and
thrown into prison.
St Athenogenes was arrested when he came to Sebastea to inform the judge
that those who had been jailed were innocent. While in prison, St
Athenogenes encouraged his spiritual children for their impending
struggle. Led forth to trial, all the holy martyrs confessed themselves
Christians and refused to offer sacrifice to idols.
The disciples of the holy bishop were beheaded after undergoing fierce tortures.
Most blessed and wise Bishop and Martyr Athenogenes,
You grew as a palm tree in the Monastic life;
Towering as a cedar in your struggles,
Through your teachings you brought a number of martyrs to Christ.
We honor them together with you.
You have appeared as bright lamps, O holy martyrs!
Illumine the whole creation with the brightness of your miracles!
Deliver it from infirmity and drive away the deep darkness,
Always interceding before Christ God for us all!