The holy, glorious and right-victorious Forty Martyrs of Sebaste are a group of Roman soldiers who became martyrs for their Christian faith in 320. Ss. Cyrion (Quirio), Candidus, Domnus, Hesychius, Heraclius, Smaragdus, Eunoicus, Valens, Vivianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodulus, Eutychius, John, Santhias, Helianus, Sisinius, Angius, Aetius, Flavius, Acacius, Ecdicius, Lysimachus, Alexander, Elias, Gorgonius, Theophilus, Dometian, Gaius, Leontius, Athanasius, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valerius, Philoctimon, Severian, Chudion, Aglaius, and Meliton are commemorated by the Church on March 9.

St. Constantine the Great issued an edict in the year 313, granting Christians religious freedom, and officially recognizing Christianity as equal with paganism under the law. But Licinius, his co-ruler and a pagan, continued to persecute the Christians of the East. He also purged Christians from his own army, fearing mutiny. Continue Reading