New Monk-martyr Ephraim of Nea Makri (1426)
Great Virgin-martyr Irene of Thessaloniki (4th century)
Martyrs Irenaeus, Pellegrinus and Irene, at Thessaloniki (284–305)
Martyrs Neophytus, Gaius, and Gaianus
Saint Eulogius the Confessor, bishop of Edessa (c. 386)
Saints Martin and Heraclius, of Illyria (4th century)
Saint Euthymius the Wonderworker, bishop of Madytos on the Hellespont (c. 990)
Saint Adrian, abbot of Monza Monastery (1619)
New Hieromartyr Nicholas, priest (1919)
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Inexhaustible Cup” (1878)
Commemorated on May 5th
St. Ephraim the Great Martyr of Nea Makri said: “I will do many miracles, I will help many people, before the sufferings come!…before the misfortunes (calamities) come”
The holy New Martyr and wonderworker Ephraim was born in Greece on September 14, 1384. His father died when the saint was young, and his pious mother was left to care for seven children by herself.
When Ephraim reached the age of fourteen, the all-good God directed his steps to a monastery on the mountain of Amoman near Nea Makri in Attica. The monastery was dedicated to the Annunciation and also to St Paraskeva. Here he took on his shoulders the Cross of Christ, which all His followers must bear (Matt. 16:24). Being enflamed with love for God, St Ephraim eagerly placed himself under the monastic discipline. For nearly twenty-seven years he imitated the life of the great Fathers and ascetics of the desert. With divine zeal, he followed Christ and turned away from the attractions of this world. By the grace of God, he purified himself from soul-destroying passions and became an abode of the All-Holy Spirit. He was also found worthy to receive the grace of the priesthood, and served at the altar with great reverence and compunction.
On September 14, 1425, the barbarous Turks launched an invasion by sea, destroying the monastery and and looting the surrounding area. St Ephraim was one of the victims of their frenzied hatred. Many of the monks had been tortured and beheaded, but St Ephraim remained calm. This infuriated the Turks, so they imprisoned him in order to torture him and force him to deny Christ.
They locked him in a small cell without food or water, and they beat him every day, hoping to convince him to become a Moslem. For several months, he endured horrible torments. When the Turks realized that the saint remained faithful to Christ, they decided to put him to death. On Tuesday May 5, 1426, they led him from his cell. They turned him upside down and tied him to a mulberry tree, then they beat him and mocked him. “Where is your God,” they asked, “and why doesn’t he help you?” The saint did not lose courage, but prayed, “O God, do not listen to the words of these men, but may Thy will be done as Thou hast ordained.”
The barbarians pulled the saint’s beard and tortured him until his strength ebbed. His blood flowed, and his clothes were in tatters. His body was almost naked and covered with many wounds. Still the Hagarenes were not satisfied, but wished to torture him even more. One of them took a flaming stick and plunged it violently into the saint’s navel.
His screams were heart-rending, so great was his pain. The blood flowed from his stomach, but the Turks did not stop. They repeated the same painful torments many times. His body writhed, and all his limbs were convulsed. Soon, the saint grew too weak to speak, so he prayed silently asking God to forgive his sins. Blood and saliva ran from his mouth, and the ground was soaked with his blood. Then he lapsed into unconsciousness.
Thinking that he had died, the Turks cut the ropes which bound him to the tree, and the saint’s body fell to the ground. Their rage was still not diminished, so they continued to kick and beat him. After a while, the saint opened his eyes and prayed, “Lord, I give up my spirit to Thee.” About nine o’clock in the morning, the martyr’s soul was separated from his body. These things remained forgotten for nearly 500 years, hidden in the depths of silence and oblivion until January 3, 1950.”
I saw the martyrdom of Saint…
A vision of the martyrdom of St. Ephraim of Nea Makri
Avery vibrant description of the martyrdom of St. Ephraim :
“I saw that I was dressed as an altar boy in the Monastery, and was helping the Saint in the Church. Straightaway, I saw that wild men with turbans on their heads, entered, holding clubs, sticks and swords. And from my fear I trembled, and I hid, gazing with agony on what was occurring…
All of them, screaming loudly, seized the Saint, and having tied him to the tree*, began to beat him, and to pierce him with their swords, and his blood ran onto the ground…
They martyred him unspeakably, cutting his body into little pieces, while the Saint in return, looked to heaven with his eyes and prayed. Furthermore, next to him was a small puppy who was barking, and tried to free him, while the tyrants chased him…
From my fear and my agony,” Mr. Spyropoulos continued, “as I was watching this life-like retelling of the martyrdom of St. Ephraim, I awoke, but when I fell asleep a short time later, the dream continued…
I did not see the tyrants anymore, but only the Saint, bound on the tree (which exists to this day), drenched with his blood, gnarled everywhere, but he was not living anymore, he had died…
And I, having hid behind a fountain, was praying to God to give me strength, for I was afraid to come out, not knowing what to do.
And straightaway I saw that some violent men entered to hang the Saint, and to bring him to a pit further down, to place him in it. I saw further that the little puppy had a piece of flesh in his mouth that he placed in the pit, and he threw it in, screaming in pain. It was the exact same puppy that, in another vision, the Saint mentioned was “the only creature which stood beside me at that moment, licking my wounds…”
By Mr. Panagiotis Spyropoulos, Kandrinou 76, Athens, from within a special vision which he saw and is recorded in the 3rd volume of publications of the Holy Monastery.
*A mulberry tree, believed to be that on which the saint was hanged, is today shown as an object of veneration inside the re-erected monastery.
About Christ in the hearts of the faithful
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
“And that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).
That person does not have Christ who only has Him on his tongue. Neither does that person have Christ who has Him only on paper. Neither does that person have Christ who has Him only on the wall. Neither does that person have Christ that has Him in the museum of the past. That person, in truth, has Christ who has Him in his heart. For Christ is Love and the throne of love is the heart.
If Christ is in your heart then, for you, He is God. If He is only on your tongue, or on paper or on a wall, or in the museum of the past and even though you call Him God, for you, He is but a toy. Beware then, O man, for no one can play around with God without punishment.
The heart apparently is a narrow organ, but God can dwell in it. When God dwells in it, then it is filled and overly filled and nothing else can position itself in it. If, however, the whole world were to settle in it, it remains empty without God.
Brethren, let Christ, the resurrected and living Lord, pour faith into your hearts and your hearts will be filled and overly filled. He cannot enter and dwell into your hearts except through your faith. If you do not possess faith, Christ will remain only on your tongue or on your paper or on your wall or in the museum of the past. What kind of benefit do you have from that? What kind of benefit do you have to hold life on your tongue and death in your heart? For, if you hold the world in your heart and Christ on your tongue, you hold death in your heart and life on your tongue. Water on the tongue of the thirsty does not help. Lower the living Christ into your heart and you will be permeated with the truth and you will sense unspeakable sweetness.
O resurrected Lord, cleanse our hearts from the deadly guests who dwell in it and You Yourself take up dwelling in it, that we may live and glorify You.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Apolytikion of St. Ephraim the Great-martyr of Nea Makri in the First Tone
From the mountain of Amomon, thou didst shine forth like the sun. Having endured the savagery of the barbarians, thou didst suffer for the love of Christ. Wherefore, O holy martyr Ephraim, thou dost pour forth grace for all those who piously cry out: glory to God Who hath given thee strength, glory to Him Who hath made thee wondrous, glory to Him Who worketh healing for all through thee.
Doxastikon of the Aposticha in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Shining with the light of grace, O Father, your soul manfully endured the attacks of the princes of darkness, as if another were suffering, and you approached Christ totally, not at all lamenting having your members eviscerated by murderous hands, but you cried to the Lord: receive my spirit, O Savior, Who for me voluntarily endured the passion, and poured forth to me eternal life. And therefore, O blessed Ephraim, ceaselessly pray, that those who bless you may be saved.
May the intercessions of Saint Ephraim bless all of us who come to him seeking his miraculous help in our human sufferings. May we all experience the divine and inexplicable miracles that he gives to those of us who come to him with faith in Jesus Christ. “God is glorified in His Holy Saints.”