Commemorations for Mesra 17
1. The Martyrdom of St. James the Soldier.
On this day, St. James, the soldier, departed. He was born in Mengoug (Manug), district of Ebso (Psoi), to God fearing Christian parents. God gave them three daughters before they had this saint. They committed the daughters to a nunnery to be taught, and brought up, in the fear of God. They learned and read the Holy Bible and the church teachings. When their father asked them to return, they refused for they preferred to stay in the nunnery and they dedicated themselves as brides of Christ. Their parents sorrowed, but God consoled them by giving them this saint. They rejoiced in him, and when he was six years old, his father sent him to Ebso to learn reading and writing. After he finished his education his father put him in charge of his money and possessions.
The father had an old man, who shepherded his sheep. This old man was adorned with several virtues and James took him as a role model. When the devil provoked persecution against the Christians, the old man handed over the sheep to the father of James and left to become a martyr. James asked his father if he could go to bid the shepherd farewell and then come back, and his father allowed him to do so. When James went with the shepherd, he found the governor in upper Egypt torturing St. Justus, son of Emperor Nomarius. The old man told James, "Look O my son, the person that you see being tortured is the son of an emperor, who has forsaken the world and its vain glory, and followed Christ, so what the poor like us, would do? Then be patient, and do not be sorrowful because of your separation from your parents." They came before the governor and confessed the Lord Christ. The governor tortured them severely, then beheaded the old man.
The governor tortured St. James severely by beating him with whips. Then he placed a piece of red-hot iron on his chest. The saint lifted up his eyes and appealed for help to the Lord Christ, Who saved him and healed him from his afflictions. Then, they put him in a sack, and cast him in the sea, but the angel of the Lord raised him up from the sea. Then the saint returned, and stood before the governor who sent him to the city of El-Farma. There the governor tortured him, by cutting his tongue, tearing out his eyes, torturing him on the wheel, and combing his flesh. Sourial, the angel of God, came down and saved him. When the governor was tired of torturing him, he commanded James' head cut off, along with two other martyrs, whose names were Abraham and John, who were from Samannoud. They all received the crown of martyrdom.
May their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.