Andrew, Tribune, Martyr and his Men
August 19

Almighty God, whose martyrs Andrew Startalas and his men, in their courageous contest for thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life, Grant us thy strength, that we, like they, may cast down the tyrants and wholly destroy the demons' strengthless presumption. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth ever, One God, world without end. Amen

"Andrew was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Maximian. He was a Syrian by birth and served in Syria. When the Persians menaced the Roman Empire with there military, Andrew was entrusted with the army to battle against the enemy. During this occasion, Andrew was promoted as a commander - Stratelates. Secretly a Christian, even though he was not baptized, Andrew trusted in the living God and, of the many soldiers, he chose only the best and entered into battle. He said to his soldiers before the battle that if they would call upon the help of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies will scatter as dust before them. Truly, all the soldiers filled with enthusiasm at Andrew and his faith invoked Christ for assistance and made an assault. The Persian army was utterly destroyed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch some, who were envious, accused Andrew of being a Christian and the imperial deputy summoned him to court. Andrew openly confessed his unwavering faith in Christ. After bitter tortures, the deputy threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew's respect among the people and in the army, the emperor ordered the deputy to free Andrew to freedom and to seek another opportunity and another reason (not his faith) and then to kill him. Through God's revelation, Andrew learned of the emperor's command and, taking with him his faithful soldiers, 2593 in number, departed with them to Tarsus in Cilicia and there, all were baptized by Bishop Peter. Persecuted even there by the imperial authorities, Andrew with his detachment withdrew farther into the Armenian mountain Tavros. Here, in a ravine while they were at prayer, the Roman army caught up with them and all to the last one were beheaded. Not one of them even wanted to defend themselves but all were desirous of a martyr's death for Christ...."


The nature's song in the midst of Mt. Tavros
Echoed without a loud human response.
Until one day, the mountain shook,
Some new echo, through her was carried;
And the mountain, its eternal echo halted
In order to hear the new, which it had not in ages, heard.
There, the end of the brave detachment of Andrew was,
There, the wolves, the innocent lambs slaughtered;
Andrew, from the Persians, the Empire of Rome saved,
And now, against Andrew, the Roman army roar,
With two-thousand companions, Andrew to the earth knelt,
To his companions, good advice he spoke:
Now is the pleasant hour, now is the day of salvation,
From the earthly life, our separation.
On our knees humbly before God, let us kneel,
And for much good, let us warmly give thanks,
And mostly brethren, for a martyr's death
Without anger and shouting against the murderous hand.
Thus, Andrew spoke. To their knees they fell,
Two-thousand men, began to pray;
Of the bitter pursuers, swords flashing
Atop the mountain, choirs of angels shone,
The doors of Paradise, in heaven opened
For Andrew holy, the glorious Stratelates
And his army, who evil overcame
And for their Christ, shed honorable blood.

source; Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich The Prologue from Ohrid

Ancient Reading: The Passion of St. Andrew the General