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Epictetus and Astion Monastery, CapidavaCod 1068

His Eminence Archbishop of Tomis – Theodosius, knowing that Capidava was a bishopric dating from at least the early VI century decided to set up here at Capidava a monastery of nuns with a community life. Thus, the monastery was founded in 2007 and is still growing and developing.

Heavenly protectors of the Capidava monastery are Martyrs Epictetus and Astion whose holy relics dating from the last decades of the IIIrd century were descovered in the ruins  of Halmiris Fortress in the county of Tulcea, near the Danube arm St. Gheorghe, where the two martyrs have died for Christ and his His Gospel. The holy martyrs Astion and Epictetus, are celebrated on July 8, this date being also the patron of the Capidava monastery.

Summary data on the holy martyrs Epictetus and Astion shows that are originally from Asia Minor, a small town in Phrygia, a province in the west of the peninsula, near the Aegean Sea. Due to the persecutions dictated by Emperor Diocletian  (284 – 305 AD.), around 290 BC. the Saints Epictetus and Astion have left their homeland; they embarked on a boat and  headed like other missionaries Cappadocian monks to Scythia Minor. They arrived at a monastery in the city of Halmiris on the Danube. Here, the two monks, continued to spread the teachings of the Holy Gospel and convert to Christianity many of the inhabitants of the city.

Saints Epictetus and Astion sufferings were between 298 – 303. Latronianus, the governor of the city Halmiris was informed about the Saints’ wonders, generating mass conversions, a fact which contravened serving idols. For example, Astion was praying for a man almost dead, fallen from a great height, which has recovered. This man could have been one of the laborers who worked at the Roman  camp, then existed.

Seeing the strength of their faith, the governor had commanded Latronianus Vigilantius, one of the judges, that the two monks to be beheaded. Although not yet given a decree of general persecution of Christians (the first one was given on 24 Febr. 303), but only those in the army, Latronianus has commanded the baiting and  beheading of the Saints Epictetus and Astion, before 303. Instead, Vigilantius who converted to Christianity, has not suffered and it he is likely to be made the very act of martyrdom of th Saints, which was then read to the local Christian community,  regarding the service of worship, in Saints remembrance and Christians encouragement.  igilantius was a native of Halmyris, Roman magistrate, judge, one of the investigators of the Saints. Hearing the testimony of the two Saints, made before Latronians, Vigilantus also spoke them and he remain impressed for three days. So on the fourth day, Vigilantius yelled in the ears of all: „I’m a Christian, o tyrant Latronianus! The will of God be with me!” Then, going to the Saints Epictetus and Astion in prison, he s has been baptized with all his house.

The Saints  Epictetus and Astion are the first Christian martyrs on our country and until 313 when the Christians persecutions were stopped, were added other martyrs in Dobrogea cities, such as Niculiţel, Axiopolis Durostorum..

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