St. Martha with her husband, St. Marinus, and Children at Rome
During the reign of Emperor Claudius II in the third century, St. Marinus together with his wife, Martha, and their sons, Audifax and Habakkuk, traveled from Persia to Rome to pray at the graves of the Ss. Peter and Paul. During this time, fierce persecutions and executions were carried out against Christians. St. Marinus and his wife and sons helped those Christians who had been locked up in the prisons, and also requested the bodies of the martyrs. At one of the jails they met and helped a prisoner named Cyrenus, since he had endured torture for his faith in Christ.
The persecutions spread, and more Christians were arrested. During this period, 260 Christians had been sentenced to dig their own graves along the Salerian Way, and were subsequently executed by archers. When they learned about these vicious murders, Marinus, his family, and Presbyter John traveled by night and reburied the bodies of the martyrs in the catacombs. Later, they returned to the prison where Cyrenus was incarcerated, but did not find him. He had been executed the day before with his body thrown into the Tiber River. Performing their holy duty, St. Marinus and his family retrieved the remains of St. Cyrenus from the river and buried them.
For their charitable deeds, this holy family was deemed worthy to glorify the Lord by martyrdom. The pagans beheaded Presbyter Valentinus, and the imperial gardener Asterius who had been converted by him. In 269, Sts. Marinus and Martha, along with their sons, were arrested and given over to torture. By order of the emperor, the men were beheaded, while St. Martha was drowned in a river.
The relics of the holy saints are in Rome at the Church of St. John the Hut-Dweller.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)