Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Holy Martyr St. Timothy and St. Mavra - 3 May

Sts. Timothy and Mavra the Martyrs (Feast Day - May 3)

A holy couple, Saints Timothy and Mavra, suffered for the faith at the hands of idolaters. By this they became examples of sacrifice, love and dedication to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.

During the Marriage Service, after the couple has been crowned, we sing the following hymn to all the Holy Martyrs ( see :40 Martyrs of Sebastea ): "O holy martyrs, who fought the good fight and have received your crowns: Entreat ye the Lord, that He will have mercy on our souls." We sing this because it characterizes marriage as a martyrdom, since it is a Mystery of love. Love by nature is martyric, it is a cross. For two strangers to come together from two different worlds with two different backgrounds and personalities, as well as different flaws, weaknesses and upbringings, and to live their lives with much patience and love towards each other, indeed requires much sacrificial and martyric love.

Saints Timothy and Mavra embody this love and their lives should be an inspiration for every married couple, with their icon hanging in their home as a reminder of what a Christian marriage is all about.

The holy and glorious martyrs Timothy and Mavra  were a newly-married Christian couple who suffered martyrdom in the year 286, under Arianos, the pagan governor of Thebaid, during the reign of Diocletian, in Thebes, Egypt. The Church celebrates their feast day on May 3.

Under some accounts Timothy was a priest of the Church, but in most he was a reader. He was married to Mavra, a devout Christian woman from a very pious Christian family. Timothy was known for his great piety and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Many times at night after the day's work, villagers would gather around Timothy where he would read to them from the Scriptures.
After only 20 days of marriage, Timothy was summoned to the pagan governor Arianos, to be brought to trial for his Christian teaching and missionary work. At first, he was asked to surrender all of his sacred books in order for them to be destroyed. Timothy refused, for he knew their value and power. "If a father who loves his children," he said, "and who obeys the natural law does not deliver up to death his fleshly children, how can I give over my spiritual children, the sacred books, into your polluted hands?" He was punished harshly and inhumanely for his courage but he regarded the tortures as honors, since they would bring him eternal bliss. The governor commanded that Timothy be pierced through the ears with iron rods, so that the pupils of his eyes leapt out with the pain. He was also hanged by his feet and his mouth was stuffed with wood. His wife also was cruelly tortured after she was asked to use her "womanly gifts" to persuade her husband to deny Christ. Instead, she gave Timothy strength and encouragement during his suffering. This enraged Arianos even more and he began to think of even more barbaric tortures. Mavra's hair was pulled out and her fingers were cut off. As she was being tortured, she prayed for her tormentors. She was then put in a cauldron of boiling water which did not affect her. 

During all of these tortures, the saints both saw visions of angels which comforted them. As they were both led to their death by crucifixion, they both kissed their crosses on which they were to be martyred. Nailed to their crosses facing each other, each comforted the other for nine days as they hung. After nine days of hanging on their crosses glorifying the Lord, these newlyweds gave up their souls and entered eternal life. They beheld a vision of angels pointing to thrones in heaven next to Jesus Christ waiting for them.

1 comment:

  1. Troparion (Tone 4)

    Your holy martyrs Timothy and Mavra, O Lord,
    Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
    For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
    And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
    Through their intercessions, save our souls!