Δευτέρα 11 Μαρτίου 2024

Saint Eulogios the Hieromartyr and Saints Leocritia and the two anonymous virgin Martyrs in Cordoba, Spain, March 11

The Holy Hieromartyr Evlogios was born in the city of Cordoba, Spain in the 8th century AD. from a pious and aristocratic family. From his childhood he was raised with the threads of the Christian faith.

But those years were difficult. The Arab occupation of the country (711 AD) had brought many sufferings to the Church, which was divided into three provinces with twenty-nine Bishops and was trying to cope with the persecutions of the Mohammedan conquerors as well as temptations from within, such as heresies. Many clergy and monks, due to the invasion of foreigners, settled in France, bringing with them the Visigothic ecclesiastical spirit and the Mozarabic standard. Nevertheless, in Spain, the Mozarabic Church maintained its tradition and organization until the time of the "full reconquest" (15th century AD), when, unfortunately, schismatic Rome had already imposed everywhere in the reconquered places with the Latin tradition and its formal and heretical teaching.

As a result of the persecutions during the era of Arab rule, there was the presence of many Martyrs. Córdoba, a place of Islamic worship with the great mosque of a thousand and one columns, took the first place in the Spanish martyrology of the 9th century AD.

Evlogios had studied in depth the Fathers, Tradition and Theology of the Church. His life was completely in accordance with what he studied daily and what the Holy Scriptures taught. Exercise, prayer and fasting purified his soul, which shone like a bright lamp dispelling the darkness of unbelief. In the year 850 AD persecution broke out against the Church of Spain. The Moors were furious. Led by an apostate Bishop, they arrested and imprisoned all the priests of Córdoba together with their Bishop. Inside the prison, Evlogios gave courage to the brothers to endure the test with patience and determination. Those words of his supported two female students, his spiritual children, to suffer with spiritual courage the martyrdom, shortly after their release from prison, in the year 851 AD. the two virgins entered the Orthodox Martyrology anonymously, but their names are known to Christ, their Champion and Crowner. Saint Eulogios compiled their Synaxario, to urge other persecuted Christians to imitate them. His written and spoken sermons kept many Christians in their original piety and preserved them from apostasy and denial of Christ. In fact, the Saint wrote three books with the actions and the end of the New Martyrs of the persecution of this era.

All this contributed to Evlogios being considered the most important ecclesiastical personality of his time and the Church electing him to the episcopal office in the year 858 AD. The new Bishop Corduis, before assuming his duties, before his enthronement took place, was arrested again and taken to prison. The accusation was that he nursed and hid a young Christian woman, Leocritia, whose own parents wanted her to convert to the Mohammedan religion. Evlogios was accused not only of kidnapping, but also of corrupting the young Leokritia. In his apology he said that no shepherd denied his support to any member of his flock and something even more important: the duty of the priest of Christ is to teach the faithful that if they have to choose between God and parents, to choose God. Agios Evlogios did not stop there. He suggested to the Muslim judge that they discuss, to prove to him the fraud of Muhammad's religion.

After these, the Saint was taken to the council of the court of the conquered king and there he continued again, with spiritual courage and boldness, his Christian apologetics. The result was that he was sentenced to death by beheading.

On the road to martyrdom, Saint Evlogios received, like his Lord on the road to Golgotha, a raping from a eunuch of the escort of his executioners. Immediately the Saint turned the other cheek without protesting. The infidel knocked again a second time.

Then, always in silence and praying for his persecutors and his people, he bowed his head under the executioner's knife. A host of Angels led his soul to the Kingdom of God. It was the year 859 AD.
Leokritia was beheaded the following Wednesday, as the Synaxarias save, and added another crown of glory to the Martyrology of the Orthodox Spanish Church.

Μεγαλυνάριον
Μάρτυρες Κυρίου πανευκλεείς,
Λαίλαπος απίστων, υπομείναντες τη σφαγήν,
συν Λεωκρητία, και ταις λοιπαίς παρθένοις,
Ευλόγιον τον θείον, ύμνοις τιμήσωμεν.