IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day Saint James the “chopped” became a martyr. This holy man was one of the soldiers of Sakrad, the son of Sapor, King of Persia, and he was a friend of the prince, who loved him exceedingly, and took counsel with him about all his affairs; and for this reason his heart inclined towards Saint James, and he made him worship the sun and fire. When his mother and his wife and his sister heard that he had become one with the king in his acts and in his faith, they wrote him a letter, saying, “Why hast thou forsaken the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and dost worship natural objects which have been created, that is to say, the sun, and the moon, and fire? Know that if thou dost continue to hold the faith of the King of Persia, we shall become strangers to thee.” When he had read their letter he wept bitterly, and he said, “If I continue to be of this opinion I shall become a stranger to my mother, and to my household and kinsfolk. But, however, how can I approach my Lord Jesus Christ?” And he began to read Christian books, and he wept and forsook the service of the king. And certain men told the king and spoke unto him, saying, “Behold thy friend James hath forsaken thy service and thy love, and the worship of the gods.” And the king sent a messenger to bring him to him, and when he had come he set him before the king, and the king said unto him, “Why hast thou forsaken my service?” And Saint James said unto him, “Our Lord Christ says in the gospel, ‘whosoever confesses Me before men, him I will confess before my Father Who is in heaven. Whosoever denies Me before the face of men, him will I deny before the angels of God’ (Matthew x, 32). Therefore have I left thy service, and thy love, and the worship of thy gods, and I worship my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Creator of the heavens, and the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the seas.” When the king heard this he was exceedingly wroth, and he commanded his guards to beat him very severely, and they did so until his blood ran down on the ground like water; but he could not turn from his good counsel. And the king commanded them to cut off his members with knives, and they cut off the ten fingers of his hands and the ten toes of his feet, and his arms. And they cut him up into thirty-two separate pieces, and as each piece was chopped off, he sang and glorified God, saying, “O God of the Christians, my Lord and King Jesus Christ, receive Thou the branches of the tree according to the greatness of Thy compassion. When the master of the vineyard prunes the vines he leaves slips behind him, and these sprout in the month of Nesan, that is to say Miyazya (April-May), and the vine puts forth [new] roots and spreads abroad.” When only the head, and breast, and loins of the holy man were left, and he knew he was nigh to the giving up of his soul, at that moment he prayed to God for the world, and for the people therein, and that He would teach them and have compassion upon them. And he said, “There is left to me neither limb nor hand which I can lift up to Thee, O Lord; behold my limbs have been cast away before me, O Lord receive my soul.” And straightway our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him and comforted him, and strengthened him, and immediately his soul rejoiced and was glad. And before he delivered up his soul one of the guards made haste, and cut of his head with a sharp sword, and Saint James received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens, and he depart to the habitation of light, to Christ Who loved him. And certain God-fearing men took his body and made it ready for burial and wrapped it in costly cloths, and they laid it in a pure place. When his mother and his wife and his sister heard that he had become a martyr they rejoiced with great joy, and they came to the place where his body was, and they embraced it and wept over it, and laid splendid cloths over it and sweet scents and unguents. When the days of Saints Honorius and Arcadius and other kings arrived, they built in his honor churches, and monasteries and nunneries. When the King of Persia heard the report of those monasteries, and the stories of the martyrs and their bodies, and what great signs and wonders had appeared through them in every place, he commanded his soldiers to burn the martyrs’ bodies in every place with fire, and not to allow anything of them to remain in the country of his dominion. And certain believing men came and carried away the body of the saint, and they carried it and brought it to Jerusalem, and deposited it there. And then they brought it to Peter, Bishop of the city of Roha (Edessa), and it remained with him until Marcianus reigned, and then Saint Peter took it and brought it to the country of Egypt, and deposited it in the city of Behensa, where it remained for a few days with certain brethren. And whilst these men were praying at mid-day, and the body of Saint James was in their midst, straightway Saint James appeared with many of the martyrs of Persia, arrayed in Persian apparel; and they sang with them, and they blessed them, and then they disappeared. And before they disappeared from their sight Saint James said unto them, “My body shall stay here even as God commanded.” After this Saint Peter the bishop wished to return to his own country, and he took the body of Saint James with him, and he carried it to the sea and laid it in a ship, but the voice of Saint James went round about, saying, “My body shall stay here.” And straightway the body of Saint James was snatched out of their hands, and returned to the place wherein it had been, even as God commanded; and great signs and wonders took place through the body of Saint James. Salutation to Saint James who was cut up into thirty-two pieces.
And on this day also Saint Timothy, a native of Banhor, became a martyr. This holy man was a fearer of God from his youth, and he devoted himself to fasting and prayer. He had a wife whose name was Mora, the daughter of his father’s brother, and she was very beautiful, and she gave him pleasure by all her works and they lived together for many days in love and happiness. Whilst they were living in this state of quietness the Imperial Edict of the wicked Diocletian went forth into all the countries of his Empire ordering the heathen temples to be opened and the churches to be closed. When Saint Timothy heard this he rejoiced exceedingly, for he had been waiting for this time, and he told his wife what he was going to do; and she said, “God’s Will be done.” Then he rose up and prayed to God to prosper his way, and as he was sleeping that night our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and He said, “Peace be unto thee, O My beloved Timothy, behold I have numbered thee among the number of the righteous. Rise up now, and take thy wife, and go to the city of Behensa, and confess the Name of Christ before all the people who worship idols.” When he awoke he told his wife what he had seen, and she told him that she had dreamed even so. Then they rose up together and came to Quilquilianus, the governor, and they found him celebrating a festival with singers and dancers who were performing before him. Then the soldiers seized Timothy and set him before him, and his wife was following him. And the governor spoke unto him with gentle and persuasive words and tried to make him worship idols, but the saint reviled him and his foul faith; therefore was the governor angry and he commanded them to cast him into prison. After a few days the governor had him and his wife brought out and beaten with whips until their blood ran down on the ground like water; and his wife finished her strife under this torture. And Saint Timothy he treated with gentleness because he wished to make him agree to worship idols. And when he refused to do so the governor had the saint’s body smeared with oil and grease, and cast him into a red-hot fiery furnace. And whilst the holy man was in the fire Gabriel, an angel of God, came down to him from heaven, and delivered him from this torture. Then the governor cast the saint into the prison house a second time, where he wrought many signs and wonders. One day whilst he was praying there our Lord Jesus Christ came to him, and made a covenant with him and gave him peace. And on the following day the governor had him brought out of the prison house, and they took him to the city of Zanhus, and they cut off his holy head. Thereupon an earthquake took place, and the air was filled with angels, and the men of the city came and prepared him for burial in a splendid manner and buried him. When the time of persecution had passed they built a church for him, and consecrated it on the seven and twentieth day of the month of Sane (June-July), and they laid his holy body in it. Salutation to Timothy and to his wife Mora.
And on this day also is commemorated Saint Philemon the apostle, who was one of the Seventy-two disciples. Salutation to thy tongue with its eloquent words and pleasant speech, thou father of the city (or country) of Lydia.
And on this day also are commemorated ‘Al’are, and Abba Takla Hawaryat of Gabrema, and Clement the martyr of ‘Endabergoy of Rebotch (or Zarbatch). Salutation to Takla Hawaryat.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.