The Monastic Martyr Anastasia the Roman lost her parents when she was three years old, and was taken to be raised by the Igoumeness of a women’s monastery, whose name was Sophia, a nun who had attained a high degree of spiritual perfection. She raised Anastasia in fervent faith, in the fear of God, and obedience. After seventeen years, Anastasia became known as a great ascetic, and she was very beautiful.
The Emperor Decius (249-251) began his persecution of Christians at that time. The city administrator, Probus, following the Emperor's orders, commanded that Anastasia be brought to him. Blessed by her Igoumeness to suffer for Christ, the young martyr Anastasia went out to meet the armed soldiers. Seeing her youth and beauty, Probus first tried flattery to make her deny Christ.
“Why do you waste your youth deprived of pleasure?" he asked. "What is to be gained by enduring tortures and death for the Crucified? Worship our gods, marry a handsome husband, and live with glory and honor.”
While Saint Anastasia stood before the ruler, her mind stood before Christ, and with her spiritual eyes, she beheld the comeliness of her Bridegroom.
The Saint replied, “My spouse, my riches, my life and my happiness are my Lord Jesus Christ, and you cannot turn me away from Him by your deceit!”
Probus had her stripped of her clothing, in order to humiliate her. She told him, "You can have me whipped, beaten, and cut to pieces, and then my nakedness will be hidden by my wounds, and my blood will cover my shame."
Probus subjected Anastasia to horrible tortures. The holy martyr bravely endured all of them, glorifying and praising God. When she became thirsty she asked for some water, and a Christian named Cyril gave her a drink. She thanked him, but Probus had him beheaded.
Then her tormentors cut off her breasts and ripped out her tongue, while an Angel held her upright. When the people witnessed the inhuman and disgusting treatment the Saint received, they became indignant, and Probus was forced to end the tortures by having her beheaded. In this manner, Saint Anastasia received the unfading crown of martyrdom.
Saint Anastasia's body was thrown outside the city limits to be eaten by wild animals, but the Lord did not permit her holy relics to be dishonored. By the instructions of a holy Angel, Igoumeness Sophia found Saint Anastasia’s mutilated body. With the help of two Christians, she buried it in the earth.
Saint Anastasia the Roman should not be confused with Saint Anastasia Pharmakolytria, who is commemorated on December 22.
Troparion — Tone 4
Your lamb Anastasia, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love.” / Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion — Tone 3
(Podoben: “Today the Virgin...”)
Cleansed by the waters of virginity, and the blood of martyrdom, Anastasia, / you grant healing of every illness to those in need, / and salvation to those who come with love; / for Christ, the ever-flowing fountain of grace, has given you power.
Saint Abramius, Archimandrite of Rostov, in the world Abercius, left his parents’ home in his youth and entered upon the path of Christian asceticism. Having assumed the monastic schema, Abramius settled at Rostov on the shore of Lake Nero. In the Rostov lands there were many pagans, and the saint worked intensely at spreading the true Faith.
Not far from the cell of the saint was a pagan temple, where the pagans worshipped a stone idol of Veles (Volos), which caused fright among the inhabitants of Rostov. In a miraculous vision the Apostle John the Theologian stood before Abramius, and gave him a staff with a cross on top, with which the venerable one destroyed the idol. At the place of the pagan temple, Saint Abramius founded a monastery in honor of the Theophany and became its head.
In memory of the miraculous appearance, the holy monk built a church named for Saint John the Theologian. Many of the pagans were persuaded and baptized by Saint Abramius. Particularly great was his influence with the children to whom he taught the ability to read and write, instructing them in the law of God, and tonsuring monastics from among them.
Everyone who came to the monastery was accepted with love. The saint’s life was a constant work of prayer and toil for the benefit of the brethren: he chopped firewood for the oven, he laundered the monks’ clothing and carried water for the kitchen. Saint Abramius reposed in old age and was buried in the church of the Theophany.
His holy relics were uncovered in the time of Great Prince Vsevolod (1176-1212). In the year 1551, Tsar Ivan the Terrible, before his campaign against Kazan, made the rounds of holy places. At the Theophany-Abramiev monastery the monks showed him the staff with which Saint Abramius had destroyed the idol of Veles. The Tsar took the staff with him on the campaign, but the cross remained at the monastery. And returning again after the subjugation of the Khan, Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build a new stone church at the Abramiev monastery in honor of the Theophany, with four chapels, and he also supplied it with books and icons.
Troparion — Tone 1
You abandoned all earthly comforts, O Father Abramius, / living righteously in hope of things to come and receiving a sacred anointing. / Initiated into divine mysteries, you enlighten those who cry: / Glory to him who has strengthened you! / Glory to him who has granted you a crown! / Glory to him who through you works healing for all!
Kontakion — Tone 3
You lived on earth as an angel in the flesh / and flourished as a well-planted tree, watered by abstinence and tears, / O Abramius, vessel of the Holy Spirit!