“The Holy and Great Martyr Saint Isidore lived during the third century. He was a native of Alexandria, but then lived on the island of Chios. When Decius (249-251) first ruled as emperor, he issued an edict to make a census of all those capable to serve in the armies of the Roman empire. Saint Isidore, tall and very strong, was drafted into the regiment of the military-commander Numerius. Saint Isidore was a Christian, he lived a life of temperance and abstinence. He was chaste and he shunned all pagan customs. Then another imperial edict was commanded. All soldiers were to worship the Roman pagan gods and offer sacrifice to them. If anyone disobeyed they would be tortured and put to death. One day, the centurion went to the military-commander Numerius, he reported that Saint Isidore was a Christian. When Saint Isidore was brought before Numerius and interrogated, without flinching he confessed his faith in Christ the Saviour and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Numerius tried to persuade the saint to obey the emperor so that he would not be tortured, but Saint Isidore said, that he would only obey the will of our God, Jesus Christ the Saviour, and that he would never renounce Him. Saint Isidore was then handed over to torture. While he was being tormented he praised Christ God and denounced the pagan idols.
When Saint Isidore’s father learned that his son was a Christian, he went to Chios to try to change Saint Isidore’s mind and to deny his faith. He convinced Numerius to deliver Saint Isidore into his custody. The Saint, however, entreated his father to open the eyes of his soul and behold the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. His father would not listen, and could not accept the fact that his son believed in the Crucified Nazarene, and that he refused to accept his ancestral religion of idols. His father condemned him and brought him back to Numerius. He entreating him to have his son put to death. So Numerius had him tied to a horse, and the animal dragged him over rocks.
Then the military-commander had his tongue cut out , but even after this the saint continued distinctly to give glory to Christ our God. Numerius became so frightened that he fell to the ground and himself lost his speech. With the help of his soldiers, he got up and with gestures he demanded a small board and on it he wrote an order — to cut off the head of the saint. Saint Isidore was overjoyed because of his death sentence and said: “I glorify Thee, O my Master, that by Thy mercy Thou hast accepted me into Thy Heavenly Habitation!” Saint Isidore was martyred in the year 251.
After his execution his body was cast out without burial. Ammonios, who was a Christian in secret, took up his body and committed it to earth, along with Saint Myrope, (see below). After all this had happened, Ammonios was then martyred in the city of Kyzikos. His Feast day is September 4.
The Great Martyr Saint Myrope was born in Ephesus of pious and Christian parents. She was called Myrope because of the fact that she would visit the grave of the Martyr Saint Hermione in Ephesus, and distribute the myrrh that flowed from her grave to heal those who were sick, and in need of help. After her father died, Saint Myrope left her home with her mother, and they moved to the island of Chios. This is where she suffered for Christ. The holy virgin’s suffering happened soon after the martyrdom of the glorious Martyr Saint Isidore, who had been a soldier. When the excecutioners had beheaded Isidore, the courageous Myrope together with Saint Ammonios, secretly took his body, they censed it, and buried it with honor in a special place. When Prince Numerian heard that the martyr’s body had been stolen, he wanted the guards put to death. When Saint Myrope learned that innocent men would suffer because of her good deed, she went to the authorities and told them that she was the one who had taken the martyr’s body and buried it. The prince ordered that the entire body of Christ’s holy virgin was to be severely whipped. When Saint Myrope’s body was covered with wounds, she was thrown into prison. Our Lord did not leave His holy martyr without help. At midnight, a heavenly light illumined the prison. Many angels, together with Saint Isidore appeared to her. “Peace be to you, Myrope,” Saint Isidore said to her. “Your prayers have reached God, and soon you will be with us and will receive the wreath prepared for you.” The holy martyr rejoiced, and at that moment surrendered her soul to our Lord Jesus Christ. A sweet fragrance came forth from her holy body and filled the whole prison. One of the guards, seeing all of this and sensing the fragrance, believed in Christ. He was baptized, and soon died a martyr’s death. Saint Myrope was martyred, Dec 2, 251.
There is a local tradition where Saint Isidore was martyred. The mastic trees shed fragrant tears at the site of the suffering of the Holy Martyr of Christ. Masticha, a major product of the island of Chios, can only be gathered and prepared from the trees where Saint Isidore was martyred. The masticha is a divine gift, and blessing from our Lord to the people of Chios.
Ἀπολυτίκιον. Ἦχος δ’. Ὃ ὑψωθεῖς ἐν τῷ Σταυρῷ.
Ὡς στρατευθεῖς τῷ Βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, τῶν ἐπιγείων τὴν στρατείαν ἀπώσω, καὶ εὐθαρσὼς ἐκήρυξας Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ὅθεν τὸν ἀγῶνα σου, τὸν καλὸν ἐκτελέσας, Μάρτυς θεοδόξαστος, τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἐδείχθης ὂν ἐκδυσώπει σώζεσθαι ἠμᾶς, τοὺς σὲ τιμώντας, παμμάκαρ Ἰσίδωρε.
Apolytikion 4th Tone
As a soldier of the eternal King who abandoned the earthly army, and bravely preached Christ God. Therefore as you completed your struggle well, O Martyr, you were glorified by God the Savior, Whom you entreat that we who honor you may be saved, O all-blessed Isidore.
Apolytikion 4th Tone Be quick to anticipate
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee, received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants, and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of St. Isidore – Great-Martyr of Chios 4th Tone On this day Thou hast appeared
In thy holy prayers to God, thou hast shone brightly, a great guide for all the world. Wherefore, we praise thee on this day, O Saint, thou Martyr of godly mind and boast of Chios, O glorious Isidore.
Apolytikion 1st Tone
O great martyr Myrope, and spotless Bride of Christ, you now stand beside Him with beauty and comeliness. As radiant and shining stones you bear your body’s wounds, and the porphyry of your blood as a royal robe, O glorious one. Entreat Him on behalf of us who praise your divine Struggle with fervor in victorious hymns and odes.
Apolytikion 4th Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.