The 18th Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour
Martyrdom of the Two Saints Atrasis and Yoana
On this day the two saints Atrasis and Yoana (Junia), were martyred. Atrasis was the daughter of the pagan Emperor Hadrian. Because of his great love for her, he built a special small room where she could be away from people. Atrasis thought always about the vanity of the world and the end of life. Day and night she asked for guidance towards the right way. In a vision at night, she saw a person who told her, "Bring Yoana (Junia), the virgin, the daughter of Philospheron, and she will teach you the way of the Lord." When Atrasis woke from her sleep, her soul rejoiced and she sent for Yoana, who came to her at once. Princess Atrasis met Yoana, bowed down before her and embraced her. Yoana started to tell her the reason for the incarnation of the Son of God, starting with the creation of Adam and how he was expelled from paradise, the coming down of the flood and the renewal of the creation once more, the reason for worshipping idols, the appearance of God to Abraham, the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, how the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, His coming down from Heaven and His incarnation through the Virgin and the salvation of the world from the hand of Satan. She made clear to Atrasis what the godly people will receive; and that is, heavenly grace in eternal life. When the virgin princess heard that, her soul rejoiced exceedingly. The words of Yoana were sweeter than honey to her ears and she immediately believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be the Glory. The two virgins worshipped day and night with fasting and prayers. One night they saw the Lord Christ and the Virgin Lady, His Mother, in a dream. The Lord placed His hand over their heads and blessed them.
Meanwhile, her father, the Emperor had gone to war. When he came back his daughter was betrothed to be married. Before the wedding ceremony, her father asked her to offer incense to the god Apollo, before getting ready for her bridegroom. She told him, "Father, how could you forsake the God of heaven and earth and worship defiled idols? Turn, O my father, to the God Who created you and in Whose hand is your life and death." When her father heard these words, which he had never heard from her before, he asked who taught her that. They told him it was Yoana, the daughter of Philospheron, who corrupted her mind. He ordered them both to be burned. They took them outside the city, arrayed in their beautiful garments and their jewelry. Their slaves and handmaidens were crying. All the people of the city were sorry for the youth of these two saints and they asked them to submit to the Emperor's wish by offering incense to the idols, but they would not turn from their decision. When they dug the pit and lit the fire, the two saints held each other's hands and they cast themselves into the fire. They stood in the fire, turned their faces towards the east and prayed, and many had seen them. After the fire was out, some of the believers who were present went forward to take their bodies. They found them stuck to each other; their garments and their jewelry were not burned. They placed their bodies in a safe place until the end of the persecution era, then they
built a great church for them.
May The prayers of these two saints be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of St.Philip the Apostle
On this day also, of the year 80 A.D., St. Philip the Apostle, one of the Twelve Disciples, was martyred. His lot fell to go to Africa and the surrounding regions. He went and preached there in the Name of the Lord Christ. There, he performed many miracles and wonders which astounded the people. After he led the people to the knowledge of God, confirming them in the faith, he went to Herapolis, where he also led the people to the knowledge of God. The non-believers took counsel together to kill him, accusing him of disobeying the king's order that no stranger was allowed to enter their city. They jumped him and seized him, but he smiled at them saying, "Why do you keep yourselves away from everlasting life and why don't you think about the salvation of your souls?" But they did not pay any attention to his words, instead they tortured him severely, then they crucified him head down. During the crucifixion an earthquake took place; the people were terrified and ran away. Some believers arrived and wanted to untie him from the cross, but he asked them to leave him, so he might finish his strife and receive his crown. He delivered his soul to the hands of Christ and received the crown of eternal glory in the year 80 A.D. and was buried there. In the sixth century A.D., his body was transferred to Rome. The Lord manifested many signs and great wonders through the body of St. Philip.
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.