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The Forty Martyrs were Christians who suffered persecution under Emperor Licinius. In the year 320 AD, they were given a choice to give their lives for Christ by suffering in a frozen lake or reject Christ and enter a warm bath house on the shore. During the course of the night, one of the soldiers chose to leave the lake. A nearby guard saw forty crowns descend from Heaven to rest over the Christians in the lake and realized one crown was left behind. Announcing his faith in Christ, the guard joined the others in the Lake, inheriting an eternal crown of glory from the Lord, restoring the number of Holy Martyrs to forty.

Why “Stay in the Lake”?

OYM believes that youth and young adult ministry needs to be a joint effort from clergy, parents, teachers, mentors, and peers. Christian life means following Christ at all costs. While the world offers many “bath houses,” those with spiritual eyes can see them as fleeting pleasures that lead us away from the true joy of following Christ. In the Forty Martyrs, we see that the path toward true joy in Christ is one we tread together. The best way to encourage our young people to continue following Christ is if we bear our own crosses with joy and co-suffering love. We must persevere – Stay in the Lake – together.


Apolytikion of 40 Martyrs of Sebastia


First Tone
Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.


Kontakion of 40 Martyrs of Sebastia

Plagal of the Second Tone

O Forty Champions of the Lord, you abandoned the armies of the world and attached yourselves to the Master in heaven. Having gone through fire and water, O Blessed Ones, you worthily won glory from heaven and a multitude of crowns.

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