St. Menodora, St. Nymphodora, and St. Metrodora
Commemorated on September 10
The Holy Virgins Menodora, Nymphodora, and Metrodora (305-311) were sisters from Bithynia (Asia Minor). Distinguished for their piety, they wished to preserve their virginity and avoid worldly associations. They chose a solitary place for themselves in the wilderness and spent their lives in fasting and prayer.
Reports of the holy life of the virgins soon spread, since healings of the sick began to occur through their prayers. The Bithynia region was governed at that time by a man named Frontonus, who ordered that the sisters be arrested and brought before him. At first Frontonus tried to persuade them to renounce Christ, promising great honors and rewards. The holy sisters steadfastly confessed their faith before him, rejecting all his suggestions. They told him that they did not value the temporal things of this world, and that they were prepared to die for their Heavenly Bridegroom, for death would be their gateway to eternal life.
Flying into a rage, Frontonus took out his wrath on Menodora, the eldest sister. She was stripped of her clothes and beaten by four men, while a guard urged her to offer sacrifice to the gods. She bravely endured the torments and cried out, “Sacrifice? Can't you see that I am offering myself as a sacrifice to my God?” They renewed their torments with even greater severity, with the martyr crying out, “ Lord Jesus Christ, joy of my heart, my hope, receive my soul in peace.” With these words she gave up her soul to God, and went to her Heavenly Bridegroom.
Four days later, the two younger sisters, Metrodora and Nymphodora, were brought to the court, and were shown the battered body of Menodora in order to frighten them. The virgins wept over her, but remained steadfast. Thereafter, St, Metrodora was tortured. She died, crying out to her beloved Lord Jesus Christ with her last breath.
They then turned to the third sister, Nymphodora with the bodies of her sisters before her. Frontonus hoped that this sight would intimidate the young virgin. Pretending that he was charmed by her youth and beauty, he urged her to worship the pagan gods, promising great rewards and honors. Nymphodora scoffed at his words, and shared the fate of her sisters. She was tortured and beaten to death with iron rods.
The bodies of the holy martyrs were to be burnt, but a heavy rain extinguished the blazing fire, and lightning struck down Frontonus and his servants. Christians took the bodies of the holy sisters and reverently buried them at the Warm Springs at Pythias (Bithynia). Part of the relics of the holy martyrs are preserved on Mt. Athos in the Protection Cathedral of the St. Panteleimon Monastery, while the hand of St. Metrodora is on the Holy Mountain in the Monastery of the Pantocrator.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
O Holy Martyrs,
You wisely exchanged horrible torture and bitter death for Eternal Life!
Three virgins, you confessed the unoriginate Trinity at an evil council,
And for this reason were slain by the sword,
Following the way of the Lamb who was slain!
Now ever pray for us
Who commemorate your holy memory!
Kontakion (Tone 4) –
Invincible in your struggles for the Holy Trinity,
And through your love for each other as sisters,
You defeated the foe of your spiritual life,
And with the five virgins, entered victoriously into the Heavenly Mansions
Where you ever rejoice with the angels in the presence of the King of All!
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)