Ss. 40 Women Martyrs in Heraclea icon

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Orthodox icon of the Forty Women Saints (Martyrs) and the Deacon Ammoun, at Heraclea in Thrace.

Commemorated September 1st.

On the first day of September, which marks the opening of our ecclesiastical year, the Church opens its golden pages of martyrdom by celebrating the resolve of the forty women virgin ascetic martyrs who put to shame the torture mechanisms of Licinius. The forty women virgin martyrs lived in Adrianoupolis of Thrace, in northeast Greece, and they were disciples of Deacon Ammoun.

The name of the Martyrs are: Adamantine, Athena, Akrive, Antigone, Arivoea, Aspasia, Aphrodite, Dione, Dodone, Elpinike, Erasmia, Erato, Ermeneia, Euterpe, Thaleia, Theano, Theano, Theonymphe, Theophane, Kalliroe, Kalliste, Kleio or Clio or Klio, Kleonike, Cleopatra, Koralia or Coralia, Lambro, Margarita, Marianthe, Melpomene, Moscho, Ourania, Pandora, Penelope, Polymnia, Polynike, Sapfo, Terpsichore, Troada, Haido, and Harikleia or Hariklia. Deacon Ammoun was hanged, and had his ribcage opened with knives.

After this, a red-hot iron helmet was placed on his head. The above tortures caused no apparent harm to this athlete of Christ, so he was transported to Heraklea of Thrace, to the tyrant Licinius, along with the holy virgins. Licinius ordered to have ten of the virgin martyrs burned by fire, and another eight beheaded, along with deacon Ammoun. Another ten were put to death by the sword, being struck in the mouth or in the heart, thus giving up their spirit. Of those remaining, six were martyred by being forced to swallow sizzling hot iron marbles, and the last six were cut to pieces by knives.