Sts. Dioscoros & Seclapios and

the Martyrs of Akhmeem

v     Early Life

Their father, Amonious, was one of the rich people of Akhmeem during the 4th century. He disciplined them, and taught them the Holy Scriptures. They also learned philosophy and wisdom, then they started to study medicine. At age 15, their mother died, followed by their father.

v     Monastic Life

At age 21, they distributed their money to the churches and needy, and then they went to the desert. They were guided to go to the eastern mount. So, they walked 14 miles and built a cell at the valley. At that place, snakes and wild beasts were living.

After 6 months, through their prayers, God guided them to a priest monk called Mousa (Moses) the ascetic, as they saw a translucent (clear or semi-transparent) person in a dream advising them to go up the mount in the morning to meet him.

Fr. Mousa taught them the principles of monastic life. After he tested them in prayer, fasting, and vigils, he ordained them monks. He trained them for 3 months about spiritual struggling with devils. He prophesied that Dioscoros will be a priest, while Seclapios will be a deacon, and they will be martyred with all the inhabitants of their city. Fr. Mousa died after a while on the 7th of Touba.

v     Spiritual Life

They grew up spiritually by excessive exercises of watching, continuous prayer with a continuous cycle of fasting whereby they would fast for two full days (completely abstaining from any foods) followed by two days of fasting without complete abstinence. Then they repeated this cycle for three days each. Their food was just salt, bread and some wild plants with water. This led them to overcome the devils who fought against them, and who sometimes appeared to them in the form of beasts. They breathed on them saying “In the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave us authority to tread on serpents, scorpions and upon all the powers of the enemy.” After that prayer, the devils vanished, and the wild animals departed from that area. They spent 45 years in that place.

v     New Responsibilities

The old prophesy about them was fulfilled when the bishop of their city ordained them according to the will of the congregation. All of them heard a voice from above the alter saying “Agios” (worthy) three times during the ordination of both of them.

They went back to their cell, thinking even to leave it to another place, but they failed to do so, because they were guided not to do so in a vision, because their people needed them.

They had many disciples in the monastic life. They built a church that was used also for teaching them and the visitors from the city too. Their miracles (e.g., healing different diseases and casting out demons) and their virtues were known everywhere.

When the unjust governor, Slogi, persecuted the Orthodox Christians of Akhmeem because they rejected the heresy of Arius, they warned him to stop, otherwise he will fall under divine justice. He refused to stop, and died afterwards when he fell from his horse.

v     Roman Persecution

During Diocletian’s persecution, they strengthened the faith of the believers and prepared them to receive crowns of martyrdom through worship and fasting.

When Arianos the governor came to the city, he led the worship of the Roman idols. The pagan priest, Abou Sconda, refused to follow him because he had converted to Christianity, which led 70 other pagan priests to believe too. Arianos ordered that all the Christians burned alive.

Micheal, the Archangel, appeared to Dioscoros and Seclapios, asking them to go to the city to strengthen the believers till they receive their crowns. During the Christmas Feast celebration, they went to the “Church of the Savior” at the city with twenty-four other monks to celebrate the Feast of Christmas (28th of Kiak) with bishop Abadion of Ansena, since Audakios, the bishop of the city was martyred 30 years ago. During the liturgy, they baptized the seventy pagan priests, and strengthened the believers.

Arianos and his soldiers came to the church, asking for two representatives of the congregation. After their discussion, he ordered to kill those representatives by the sword since they refused to obey him, together with all the believers at the church who declared their Christian faith. Thus they martyred Abou Sconda, the 70 priests who recently believed, together with 60 priests, 130 deacons, 53 readers, 80 singers, 52 choir leaders and 105 active members beside the congregation of 5 other churches.

Multitudes from the surrounding cities were attending, and they saw glowing angels in heaven having crowns for every one of the martyrs. This led them to hasten for receiving their crowns. The number of martyrs reached 7,400 on Kiak 29th (Christmas day). Many of the soldiers got tired from killing them.

Arianos rebuked Bishop Abadion for encouraging the believers, tied him up and put into prison, together with Dioscoros and Seclapios and their monks till he returned from Ansena. At that time, Dioscoros was preaching Christianity to Arianos, and he prophesied that very soon Arianos will convert to Christianity and be a martyr too. This prophesy was fulfilled after Dioscoros’ martyrdom.

v     Their Sufferings with Others

Auphodios and Philimon, two chief soldiers, knew Dioscoros and Seclapios very well, since they learned from them previously. They were sad for their sufferings. At midnight, the angel of the Lord appeared to Dioscoros and Seclapios asking them to pray for, and encourage, Auphodios and Philimon for martyrdom.

While Dioscoros was praying, and the prisoners and soldiers were listening, they all saw a bright light, and then they found that all the prisoners were untied. In the morning, Auphodios and Philimon confessed their new faith before Arianos, and he ordered them to be burned in a furnace. So, they made the sign of the cross over their bodies, and then entered into the fire. They prayed in it for two hours without any harm. They invited their companions to believe in Christ and share with them their joy of martyrdom. This led 20 soldiers to martyrdom.

Zachariah, a young child carried by his father, saw the angels putting crowns over the martyrs’ heads and he was describing this scene loudly, that led others to gather around him. Arianos became angry and ordered to cut Zachariah’s tongue. The Archangel Michael healed him, leading 604 people to believe and to be martyred, together with the boy and his father, by fire in a furnace on Kiak 30th.

Ologios, another chief soldier, had a son who was demon possessed and was cured previously by the prayers of Dioscoros and Seclapios. He was sad because he missed the opportunity to become a martyr with his companions. Archangel Michael appeared again to Dioscoros in the prison in a great bright light. After revealing himself to Dioscoros, he ordered him to pray for Ologios and his 40 fellow soldiers, while they heard and looked on. The Archangel Michael also untied the prisoners.

After his prayer, Disocoros taught them all night. In the morning, they confessed their faith before the governor. They refused his promises and orders, even to bring the prisoners before him.

When Dioscoros was brought before the governor, he gave a wooden cross to a child asking him to carry it before the golden idols to show the power of the cross. All the idols were destroyed before the sign of the cross, and all the attendants believed in Christ.

The governor ordered Ologios and his soldiers to be burned. They made the sign of the cross on their bodies and entered the furnace willingly while they were praying for two hours without any harm. On the 1st of Touba, 148 believers were martyred.

v     Their Martyrdom

The governor ordered to take out Dioscoros’ eyes, but the Archangel Michael healed him. Then Arianos ordered to cut off his head, and cut Seclapios with 22 other monks into two halves.

Before doing that, they asked the soldiers to give them some time for praying. They prayed asking for the peace of their city and the whole world as well. Then our Savior with His angels and martyrs of Akhmeem appeared to them. He declared His acceptance of their prayers and martyrdom.

They were martyred on the 1st of Touba. The total number of those who were martyred reached 8,140 beside those who were martyred at their houses and on the streets.

St. Dioscoros appeared to Arianos, surrounded by great light, and accompanied with an aromatic scent. Those who were present witnessed this. He announced to Arianos that he will be martyred also in the near future.