About the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste
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.
Troparion — Tone 1
Let us honor those noble soldiers of the Master of all, / for they were united by their faith as they passed through fire and water; / and being enlisted by Christ, they entered into divine refreshment. / Now those pious warriors stand and intercede with Christ God for those who cry out: / “Glory to Him Who strengthened you. / Glory to Him Who crowned you. / Glory to Him Who made you wondrous, O Forty Martyrs.”
Troparion — Tone 1
For the sake of the sufferings of Your Saints, / which they endured for You, O Lord, / we entreat You to heal all our infirmities, / O Lover of mankind.
Kontakion — Tone 6
Leaving all earthly armies, / you cleaved to the Master in Heaven, O Forty prize-winners of the Lord; / for passing through fire and water, O blessed Martyrs, / as is meet, you received glory from Heaven, and a multitude of crowns.