Holy Martyrs Hermylos and Stratonikos. Our Father Among the Saints Hilary of Poitiers

Commemorated January 13

Because of the Apodosis of the Feast of Holy Theophany on the 14th of January, the Services to the Righteous Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu and to St Nina are transferred to January 13.

Saints Hermylos and Stratonikos contested for piety's sake during the reign of Licinius, in the year 314 AD. St Hermylos was a Deacon, and Stratonikos was his friend. For his confession of Christ, Hermylos was beaten so fiercely that his whole body was covered with wounds. Stratonikos, seeing him endure this and other torments that left him half-dead, wept with grief for his friend. From this he was discovered to be a Christian, and when he had openly professed his Faith and had been beaten, he and Hermylos were cast into the Danube River, receiving the crown of martyrdom.

The Holy Hierarch Hilary was born of pagan parents in Gaul, and was trained in philosophy and rhetoric. At a time when paganism was still strong in Gaul, St Hilary understood the falsehood of polytheism, and became a Christian, and a great defender of his new Faith. About the year 350 AD, he was ordained Bishop of Poitiers, when Aries and Milan were in the hands of the Arians and the Arian Constantius was sole Emperor. Like his contemporary St Athanasius, St Hilary's Episcopate was one long struggle against the Arians. As Bishop of Poitiers, St Hilary foresaw the future greatness of Martin, and attached him to himself. In 355 AD, when required to agree to the condemnation of St Athanasius passed by the Synod of Milan, Hilary wrote an epistle to Constantius convicting the wrongs done by the Arians and requesting, among other things, the restoration of the Orthodox Bishops, including Athanasius. For this, Hilary was banished to Asia Minor, where he wrote his greatest work, On the Trinity. St Hilary returned to his See in 360 AD, where St Martin sought him out again. It was at this time that St Hilary blessed Martin to found a monastery near Poitiers, where Martin remained until being consecrated Bishop of Tours in 371 AD. In his last years, St Hilary strove for the deposition of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, but by affecting an Orthodox confession Auxentius retained his See. St Hilary reposed in peace about the year 368 AD. Auxentius died in 374 AD and was succeeded by St Ambrose, who continued St Hilary's battle against Arianism.

As for the Holy Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu, those of Sinai contested during the reign of Diocletian, about the year 296 AD; those of Raithu were slain about the middle of the fifth century. On both occasions, the perpetrators of these massacres were a barbarian tribe called Blemmyes, from the parts of Arabia and Egypt.

The Holy virgin Nina (also called Christiana) was from Cappadocia. According to some, her father Zabulon was a friend of the holy Great Martyr George, whose father was a Cappadocian. The conversion of Georgia by St Nina is reported in the Church histories of Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret; Rufinus, writing less than a hundred years after St Nina, said that he heard the history in Jerusalem from a Georgian Prince named Bacurius. St Nina was taken captive by the Georgians Iberians, and while in captivity she lived a very devout life of sobriety and virtue, praying unceasingly night and day; this drew the attention of the Georgians, and to all who asked her about her way of life, she preached the dispensation of Christ. When she healed by her prayer a certain woman's sick child, whom no one else had been able to help, the report of her came to the ears of the Queen of Georgia, who was herself gravely afflicted with an incurable malady. She asked that the captive woman be brought to her, but St Nina declined out of modesty, so the Queen commanded them to carry her to Nina. St Nina healed her immediately, and the Queen returned home in joy. When she extolled Nina and her Faith to the King, he gave her no heed, although she mentioned it to him often. But while hunting in the forest, he was shrouded with an impenetrable darkness in which he lost his way, became separated from his men, and fell into despair; he made a vow that if Christ should deliver him, he would worship Him alone. The light of day straightway shone again, and the King fulfilled his vow. St Nina instructed him and the Queen in the Faith, and they with the whole Georgian nation became Christ's. The King also sent an embassy to St Constantine the Great, informing him of their conversion, and requesting that priests be sent to Georgia. St Nina reposed in peace about the year 335 AD. The above-mentioned Church historians speak of her without calling her Nina.

Dismissal Hymn of the Feast

When You was baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bare witness to You, calling You His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ our God, Who has appeared and has enlightened the world, glory be to You.

Dismissal Hymn of the Martyrs
Be quick to anticipate

Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of perfection and life from You, our immortal God. For since they possessed Your strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' powerless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

Dismissal Hymn of St Hilary

Guide of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and holiness, luminary of the world, God-inspired adornment of Hierarchs, O wise Hilary, by thy teachings thou hast enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Dismissal Hymn of the Righteous Martyrs

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Your gentleness; take not Your mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Dismissal Hymn of St Nina

O handmaid of the Word of God, who in preaching has equalled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and has emulated the other Apostles; O enlightener of Iberia and reed pipe of the Holy Spirit, Holy Nina, equal to the Apostles, Pray to Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion of the Feast

On this day, You have appeared to the whole world, and Your light, O Sovereign Lord, is signed on us who sing You praise and chant with knowledge, "You have come, You have appeared, O You Light unapproachable".

Kontakion of the Martyrs
The soldiers standing guard

When you received your death in the streams of the river, you drowned the ruthless foe in the deep of your contest, O far-famed Stratonikos and Hermylos, you man of God; wherefore, in your struggles you were worthily guided to the water of true perfection and glory, by Christ God, Who set your course.

Kontakion of St Hilary
As first fruits of our nature

Enduring exile for the Faith delivered to the Church of Christ, you withstood the deceit of the Arians, O holy Hierarch Hilary. By your prayers and your teachings, O defender of Orthodoxy and right belief, convert the Western lands and entreat Christ for us, who honour you.

Kontakion of the Righteous Martyrs
You sought the heights

You fled from the world's confusion and wild turbulence and passed over to a state of great tranquillity, crowned with blood of martyrdom and the pains of valiant ascetic deeds. Hence, you dwell together with all the Martyrs and righteous Fathers in the heights.

Kontakion of St Nina

O come you all today and let us sing praise to the chosen one of Christ, the equal of the Apostles, the preacher of God's word, the wise bearer of good tidings, who brought the people of Kartalina to the path of life and truth; she is the disciple of the Mother of God, our zealous intercessor and unwearying guardian, the most praised Nina.