Saint Akepsimas, Bishop of Persia, Presbyter Joseph and Deacon Aithalas the Hieromartyrs

378 AD

These three blessed and holy martyrs were all prominent figures in church of Naesson, a city of Persia.

Living during the same era as the Holy Saint David of Evia in fourth century AD, the lands were under the cruel rule of Sapor who was merciless toward Christians.

These three men were particularly loved by their parishioners as they were kind hearted and guided the church members with deep spiritual instructions. They admired Akespsimas, Joseph and Aithalas as they each carried out the strict ascetic life and did so in addition to carrying out the routine labors of the parish.

Emperor Sapor ordered his officials to find all the Christians throughout all and arrest them. When Sapor’s men came to Naesson they seized Akepsimas, and brought him before a judge in the city Arbela.

The judge Ardarkh was priest of the sun God and commanded that the poor Akepsimas, who was 80 years of age, bow down and worship the idols. The faithful Akepsimas rejected the judge’s order and stood by his Christian faith.

Although Akepsimas was 80 years of age, the judge truly had no mercy and ordered him to be harshly struck with the branch of a pomegranate tree, which has very sharp thorns, and then imprisoned. The next day the guards then seized both the priest, Joseph and the Deacon Aithalas and after they were tormented in a similar fashion as Akepsimas, they too were placed in jail.

For three years they remained detained, and during this time they were deprived of both food and drink.

It was around this time the Emperor became curious for the state of the three holy men, as he was visiting a nearby temple dedicate to the God of Fire. He ordered that Akespsimas, Joseph and Aithalas be brought before him. None of the men were in good physical condition, as they were infected with lesions and cuts, and they were frail and weak.

Again he asked them to worship the idols as he would then take pity on them and free them of the torments they had so faithfully endured. Not one of the men gave in. They were steadfast and abided by the Christian faith.

The emperor then had Akepsimas beheaded and he gave his soul unto the Lord after his long and patience endurance. 

 Joseph alongside Aithalas were sent to the city where they would be put to death by stoning.

The carrying out of Joseph’s death was drawn out. First his skin was pealed off with iron nails. Then the stoning lasted for roughly three hours until the saint left this Earth and rested his soul in the hands of Christ. A guard was then sent to watch over his body to ensure no Christian would take it and bury it. Four nights from the death of Joseph a heavy storm came over the city, and lightning struck down killing the guard keep watch over his body. The Body of saint Joseph then disappeared.

The Deacon Aithalas was sent to a different the village of Patrias where he was whipped and ten hung upside down from a tree. After several hours of blood rushing to his head, he gave his soul unto the Lord. Christians were blessed to secretly retrieve his body and bury it properly. Upon the site of his relics, a tree which bore fruit grew and these fruits brought many healings and miracles to those in need.

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