The Departure of St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash (Syria)
On this day also, the fighter father, St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash, departed. He was an ascetic worshipper, who fasted and prayed continually, with many merciful deeds. Therefore, they ordained him a bishop for the city of Mar'ash. He shepherded the flock of Christ with the best of care. When the infidel Emperor Diocletian reigned, he sent one of his representatives to the city of Mar'ash to torture the Christians. He started with this saint. He ordered the saint to worship the idols. The saint not only disobeyed him but also rebuked him on his idolatry. He tortured the saint severely by flogging, and dismemberment, then he cast him in an abandoned prison. From time to time, he ordered to dismember one of his organs. First they cut his ears, then nose, lips, his legs, then they smashed his teeth. He was left in this prison for twenty-two years. His congregation thought that he had died, and they celebrated an annual commemoration for him. A faithful woman came to him by night, and threw to him provisions through a small opening.
The saint remained in this condition until the righteous Emperor Constantine reigned and declared the glory of the Christian faith, and ordered the release of the faithful from prisons. The woman informed some priests of the whereabouts of this saint. The priests came to the saint, carried him to the church with songs and hymns. The people came forward for his blessing and kissed the places where he was dismembered.
When the Emperor assembled the council of Nicea, this saint was one of those attended. As the Emperor came to the council, he knelt before the fathers and kissed their hands. When he knew what had happened to this father, he asked for his blessings. As the council adjourned, he and the other bishops returned to their dioceses. He gathered his priests and congregation, read to them the creed that was instituted by the council, and also explained to them what was difficult to understand. Afterwards the saint lived for a short period then departed in peace, when his episcopate was about forty years.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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