Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Witnesses For Christ

Witnesses For Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyers of the Ottoman Period 1437-1860 by Father Nomikos Michael Vaporis is a chronicle of the more than 200 Orthodox Saints who were killed by Ottoman Turks from the 1400s to the 1800s, it is based almost entirely on translated accounts from the Synaxaristes or Lives, the centuries old official church record of the Greek Orthodox Church Lives Of the Saints . Father Vaporis is highly qualified as a translator , he was head dean at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary and translated and edited a number of works in his lifetime, including the bilingual Daily Prayers For Orthodox Christians: The Synekdemos published by Holy Cross Orthodox Press

What stays in my mind, amidst the many records of tragic ends for Orthodox Neomartyers, is the many various torture devices used--impalement, immolation and ....death by Jews.

"John the Merchant from Trebizond, Asia Minor,+June 2, 1492 gave his life for the love of Jesus Christ in Akkerman, Moldavia on June 2, in the year 1492.....John would not abandon his Orthodox Christian faith, he was ordered tied behind a horse and dragged through the streets of Akkerman and in particular and deliberately through the Jewish quarter. As John was being dragged through the Jewish quarter, many people threw various objects at him. One Jew, it is said, drew a sword and cut off John's head. The Muslims then untied John's body and just allowed it to lie there. The Orthodox Christians in the city became extremely frightened and none dared go near the body of the martyer to give it burial"

"Finally, permission was given by the vali and John's body was brought to the Orthodox church of the city, where it was buried after the appropriate funeral service was sung. This occurred in the year 1492. Some seventy years later, in the time of Prince Alexander of Moldavia ( present day Romania), upon the advice of Metropolitan Joseph of Moldavia, the prince removed John's body from the city of Akkerman and brought it to the cathedral church in Sistova, Moldavia, where it was buried with great honors. Since then many miracles have been reported by those who prayed for Neomartyer John's intercession."
SOURCE: ( Witnesses For Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyers of the Ottoman Period 1437-1860 by Nomikos Michael Vaporis , pp. 39-41)


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