From the Desk of Father Michael 

Martyred Holy Fathers who were martyred at the Monastery of Saint Savas

Commemorated March 20

 As chosen and holy lambs of the Savior, you were gathered together in wise Savas’ flock from many lands. You were put to death by the cruelty of the barbarians and you departed joyfully to the heavenly fold. As righteous athletes you now pray for our souls.

Troparion Chanted In Tone 4

 You openly disdained the pleasure of earthly and corruptible things, choosing instead a life in the desert. You despised the beautiful things of this world together with the food that passes away. Therefore, all-blessed ones, you were counted worthy of the Kingdom of heaven, where you rejoice with the choirs of martyrs and ascetics. As we honor your memory, we earnestly cry out to you:  deliver us, O Fathers, from tribulations!

Kontakion Chanted In Tone 4

 Beloved In Christ,

Saints John, Sergius, Patrick and others Holy Monks were martyred in the Monastery of Saint Savas during the eighteenth century. During that time Jerusalem and the lands surrounding Jerusalem were under recurring invasions of the Saracens.

The Saracens attempted to loot the Holy Lavra of Saint Sava the Sanctified but God Divinely protected the monastery. These monks and others could have been able to escape by going to Jerusalem but they decided not to abandon the monastery where they had sought their Salvation.

On March 13 the Saracens attacked the monastery and demanded the monks to turn over the valuables of the monetary. They told the Saracens that there was nothing of value all that they had was an inadequate amount of food and some old clothing. The Saracens became angered and responded by slaughtering some of the monks.

Thirteen monks were killed, many wounded and the monk’s cells where torched. The Saracens also intended to burn down the monastery church but they scatter. They saw in the distance a large group of people coming towards the monastery, which they mistook for an army. The Saracens managed to get away and carried with them whatever they could steal.

On Holy Thursday, March 20 the Saracens attacked the Monastery, the monks were forced into the church. In the church they were tortured fiercely so to disclose where the treasures of the monastery were hidden. The barbarians seized Saint John, a young monk who had cared for the less fortunate and beat him fiercely. They cut the tendons of his hands and feet and dragged him through the stone paved streets, which tore the skin off his back.

The keeper of the church vessels, Saint Sergius hid the vessels and attempted to escape but was captured and beheaded. Several of the monks managed to hide themselves outside the monastery walls in a cave but were spotted by the enemy. Inside the cave Saint Patrick told his brother monks “Fear not, I will go out alone and meet my death, meanwhile sit and pray.”

The Saracens asked Patrick whether there was anyone else in the cave, he responded no and was led back to the Lavra to await his providence. The Saracens demanded a ransom of 4,000 gold pieces and all the sacred vessels but the monks were not able to deliver the ransom.

The Saracens then led eighteen monks into the cave of Saint Sava and lit a fire at the entrance to the cave hoping to suffocate the monks with the poisonous fumes. The eighteen perished in the cave, among the eighteen were Saints John and Patrick. The Saracens then continued to torture the monks who were still alive but got nothing out of them so they departed.

During the night of Great Friday the monks that were hiding in the hills returned to the Lavra, they gathered the bodies of their fallen brothers and buried them in the church.

May the Holy Martyrs of Saint Sava’s Monastery pray for us.

In His Service,

Father Michael