These five courageous men shone like five shining stars in the dark days of the Christ-persecuting Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. St. Eustratius was a Roman commander in the city of Satalionus; Eugene was his companion in the army; Orestes was likewise a distinguished soldier; Auxentius was a priest; and Mardarius was an ordinary citizen who came, like Eustratius, from the town of Arabrak. The imperial deputies Lysias and Agricolus tortured Auxentius first since he was a priest. Seeing the innocent suffering of Christians, Eustratius appeared in front of Lysias and declared that he was also a Christian. While Eustratius was being tortured, Eugene appeared before the judge and cried out: “Lysias, I too am a Christian.” When Eustratius was led through the town of Arabrak with the other martyrs, Mardarius saw them from the roof of his house. He took leave of his wife and two young children and rushed after the martyrs, shouting into the faces of the tormentors: “I too am a Christian, like my lord Eustratius.” When St. Orestes was target-practicing in the presence of Lysias, the cross he was wearing fell from his chest and Lysias realized that he was a Christian, after which Orestes openly confessed his faith. Orestes was a young and handsome soldier and towered above all the other soldiers in stature. Auxentius was beheaded, Eugene and Mardarius died while being tortured, Orestes expired on a red-hot iron grid, and Eustratius died in a fiery furnace. St. Blaise (February 11) administered Holy Communion to St. Eustratius in prison before his death. Their relics were later taken to Constantinople and buried in the church dedicated to them: The Holy Five Companions. They were seen alive in that church, and St. Orestes appeared to St. Dimitri of Rostov (October 28). A beautiful prayer by St. Eustratius is extant, which is read at the Midnight Service on Saturday: “Most highly do I magnify Thee, O Lord.” (Prologue of Ohrid)
GREAT VESPERS FOR POLYELEOS
At Psalm 140
In Tone 4
6. The memory of Your martyr Eustratios, O Lord, shines like the sun;
by the brilliance of his invincible words,
he eclipsed the multitude of false gods.
As a house without foundations is brought down,
so did he overcome them by his faith
and was joined by four other martyrs as his companions.
Through their prayers, O Lover of mankind, grant us the remission of our sins.
5. By their words, the sufferings of their lives and their privations,
the holy martyrs showed You their unshakeable dedication even to the end:
Orestes and Mardarius joined the wise Eustratios, Auxentius and Eugenius
in their glorious struggle.
Through their prayers, O Lord, save our souls.
4. In the fury of the brutal tyrant, the illustrious Auxentius was beheaded;
Mardarius was crowned as he was hanged;
Eugenius attained the fullness of eternal life as they cut off his hands and tongue;
Orestes fell asleep in the Lord as he was laid on a bed of burning coals;
Eustratios was led like a lamb to the fire for Christ.
3. Eustratios, fighting the good fight for the King of heaven’s hosts,
you handed yourself over willingly to the torments and agony of death,
leading with you a blessed escort of holy martyrs.
In company with them, you struggled and all received the crowns as victors.
O wondrous martyr, intercede for us.
2. Eustratios, wise in God; Auxentius, with a noble heart;
Eugenius and Mardarius, the illustrious martyrs, victorious together with Orestes,
have all put the enemy to flight.
Shining like stars with the light of countless fires,
they enlighten the souls of believers and scatter the darkness of shadowy error
by the radiance of the Holy Spirit.
1. Having maintained the purest virginity,
you hastened joyfully into the presence of your Creator.
Renouncing your earthly suitor, you chose Christ as your Bridegroom.
Running the race to its good end, O illustrious Lucy,
you were resplendent as you bore witness to Christ by your faith.
Now you obtain miraculous cures for those who honor you.
In Tone 6, Glory…
Come, all you who love the martyrs:
with hymns let us venerate the holy Athletes of Christ:
Eustratios, the invincible witness; Auxentius and Eugenius, with Orestes and Mardarius,
that choir of martyrs with five-fold brilliance.
They fought the good fight against the invisible enemy
and received their reward as conquerors.
Now they intercede with Christ for the faithful
who celebrate their holy memory with love.
No one who has recourse to you was ever left confounded, O pure Virgin Theotokos;
whoever seeks your grace receives whatever he needs,
according to his prayers.
The all-pure Mother of God, seeing our Life hanging upon the Cross,
cried out in her motherly anguish:
“O my Son and my God, save the faithful who sing to You!”
In Tone 1
Eustratios, the admirable and victorious martyr,
invites us to celebrate his memory each year on this day.
Thus we have all come to venerate him as a friend of the Lord,
a firm champion of the faith.
God is wonderful among His saints, the God of Israel.
Arming yourself with the courage of David,
you went out to fight to the death with another Goliath, the Seducer,
because of your faith in the Holy Trinity.
Thus, O Eustratios, you share constantly in the joy of the angels in heaven,
and you pray to the Saviour for our salvation.
God has displayed wonders in the saints who dwell in His land; all His good pleasure is upon them.
Like Elijah the Thesbite,
you were consumed by prophetic zeal for the Lord of hosts,
O Eustratios, divinely inspired martyr.
You confounded the vain arrogance of the impious,
destroying the abomination of false gods
with all your might.
In Tone 5, Glory…
Without fear in the face of the bold tyrants,
you confessed your faith in Christ
and endured the torments and punishments.
O Eustratios and Auxentius, Mardarius, Eugenius and Orestes, glorious martyrs,
ceaselessly intercede with the King, our God,
for the faithful who celebrate your holy memory.
Hail, insurmountable Gate of God!
Hail, pure and spotless Virgin!
Hail, Queen and protectress of the creation!
Hail, refuge of the human race, its rampart and defense!
Once she saw her Lamb elevated on the Cross,
the spotless Virgin Mother cried out in tears:
“O my Son, how can you die, for You are the immortal God!”
In Tone 4
Your martyrs, O Lord,* by their sufferings acquired the crowns of incorruptibility from You, our God.* For possessing Your power they overcame the torturers* and shattered the feeble insolence of demons.* By their supplications, save our souls.
O Jesus, Your lamb Lucy cries out to You with great love:* “O my Bridegroom, I long for You in great pain;* I am crucified with You;* and in baptism I am buried with You.* I suffer for your sake in order to reign with You;* I die for You in order to live in You.* Accept me as a spotless victim, since I am immolated for Your love!”** Through her intercessions, O Merciful One, save our souls!
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 4: Your martyrs, O Lord,* by their sufferings acquired the crowns of incorruptibility from You, our God.* For possessing Your power they overcame the torturers* and shattered the feeble insolence of demons.* By their supplications, save our souls.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 2: You shone, O victorious Martyr,* as a brilliant light for those sitting in the darkness of ignorance.* And armed with faith as with a lance, O Eustratios, most eloquent orator,* you feared not your enemies’ arrogance.
Prokeimenon, Tone 4
To the saints who are in His land, the Lord has made wonderful all His desires in them.
verse: I foresaw the Lord always in my sight, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken. (Psalm 15:8,3)
Alleluia, Tone 4
verse: The just cried out and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of their afflictions.
verse: The afflictions of the just are many, and out of them all will the Lord deliver them. (Psalm 33:18,20)
Rejoice in the Lord, O you just;* praise befits the righteous.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 32:1)