St Severianos (St Severian) was a senator from Sebastia, who was both an illustrious man of wealth and a fearless Christian.
During the 4th century, the Forty Holy Martyrs (Karasoun Mangounk) were imprisoned by the pagan emperor Licinius, because of their steadfast refusal to renounce their faith. St Severian showed sincere compassion for the forty Christian soldiers. He visited the captives in prison, raised their spirits and appealed to their valour and stoic strength. These martyrs eventually met their death at Lake Sebaste.
Half a year later, Severian was also brought to trial for confessing the Christian Faith and he was subjected to cruel tortures. Deeply devoted to the will of God, Saint Severian called out to the Lord during his torment, imploring Him for the strength to endure the suffering and to complete his deed of martyrdom.
After intense torture, and unbroken in his faith, the holy martyr was suspended from the city wall with one stone chained around his neck, and another chained to his feet until he eventually died. His body was carried by the christians of Sebaste to his home, where the locals paid their respects and prayed over him. Amidst all this, a servant of Saint Severian, who had just died, miraculously awoke to follow his master’s final path. He continued to live another fifteen years, never leaving the burial place of the holy martyr.
The Martyr Babylas and 84 disciples with him suffered in the city of Nicomedia for confessing Christianity during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). The emperor, who was then in Nicomedia, renewed the persecutions against the Christians.
Like many other believers, Saint Babylas was denounced as someone who was instructing children in Christian piety. When Babylas was brought before the emperor, he confessed that there was only on true God and thus he was subjected to a host of torments.
During his sufferings, the holy martyr cried to God, “I thank You, O Lord, that You have made me, who am old and infirm, to be young and strong.” After being pelted with stones, he was clapped in irons and taken to prison.
Then Babylas’ young disciples were brought before the emperor. Neither flattery nor promise of gifts were able to alter the Christian convictions of the children. Two of them, Ammonias and Donatus, firmly declared, “We are Christians, and we will not offer sacrifice to deaf and dumb devils.”
The emperor flew into a rage over the unexpected and firm rebuke from the children. At first, he ordered them to be whipped, and later to be put to death by beheading, together with their teacher. On the way to execution, the holy Martyr Babylas quoted Isaiah, “Behold, I and the children which God has given me” (Isaiah 8:18). With spiritual rejoicing, first Saint Babylas, and then his 84 disciples, received the crown of martyrdom.