Saints Timotheus and Mavra
It is celebrated on May 3 each year.
Saints Timotheus and Mavra were born in the town of Panapea in Thebaid, Egypt.
Timotheus was a reader and preacher of the Gospel in the Church of Panapeo and performed his priestly duties with fervent zeal and miraculous results. This event caused jealousy among the pagans, who finally denounced him to the unscrupulous pagan prefect Arrianus, only twenty days after his marriage to Agia Mavra. Arrian called on Timothy to hand over his holy books to the pyre. Timotheus defiantly refused to destroy his books, telling the prefect that he regarded them as his sacred spiritual weapons and supplies. Enraged, Arrian subjected the saint to various tortures, which Timothy endured with proverbial patience.
First they put red-hot irons into the Martyr’s ears, causing his pupils to melt and fall to the ground. Then they tied his ankles to a torture wheel and gagged his mouth. Then they tied a heavy stone around his neck and hung him on a tree.
To bend his strength the prefect turned to his wife Mavra, whom he at first flattered to sacrifice to idols and not follow her husband’s deadly course. However, with the advice of Timotheus, Mavra also confessed her faith in God. Then Arrian ordered the brutal torture of the Saint, who chanted throughout the martyrdom.
First, then, they plucked out the hair on her head and then cut off her fingers. Then they submerged her whole in a cauldron full of boiling water. But because the Saint, although she was in the boiling water, did not suffer the slightest burn, Arrian formed the opinion that the water was not hot, but cold. So, to find out, he ordered his hand to be sprinkled. Then the Saint took a handful of water and poured it on his hand. This water was so hot that it dissolved the ruler’s skin.
Despite all this, Arrian did not stop and ordered to crucify both Saints.
Even on the cross of martyrdom, the vile prefect approached the saint in a desperate attempt even at the last moment to distract her from her martyrdom and her faith. However, enlightened by divine grace, the saint sent him away.
While Saint Mavra was hanging on the cross, the devil approached her – as if in a trance – offering her a glass full of honey and milk. He even advised her to drink it to keep from burning with thirst. However, Saint Agia, enlightened by God, understood the devil’s trick and with her prayer drove him away. But the banker used another trick. It appeared to Agia that he took her to a river flowing with honey and milk and offered her to drink. But she, after divine illumination, said: “I am not going to drink from them. I will drink from the heavenly cup that Christ offered me.” Thus, the devil left her defeated and humiliated.
Then she presented herself to the Holy Angel of God, who took her by the hand, led her into heaven, and, after showing her a throne with a white garment upon it and a crown, said to her: “These have been prepared for you.” Then, after leading her still higher, he showed her another throne and robe and crown, and said to her again: “These are meant for your husband. The difference of place indicates the fact that your husband was the cause of your salvation.”
After nine days they both surrendered their souls to the Lord and thus the Holy couple were included in the hieronymous phalanx of martyrs of our Church.
Saint Magalomartys Mavra from 1331 AD. he is considered and honored as the patron saint of the city of Lefkada, which used to be called “Agia Mavra”. Inside the Frankish Castle, in the North of the island, there was a magnificent church of Agia, which was destroyed in 1810 AD, as the English tried to occupy the Fortress. Today, a small chapel in honor of Agia Mavra and her husband, Agios Timotheus, exists on the site of the old bastion of the Fortress, which was formed in 1886 AD. in a temple. The church is a chapel of the parish of Evangelistria (Metropolis) of the city of Lefkada and every year, at the festival of Agia, crowds of pilgrims flock. An old icon of the Saint is kept in the church of Evangelistria, placed in a special shrine.
The story of how the honor of Agia Mavra arrived in Lefkada is as follows:
In 1331 AD the island of Lefkada comes under the rule of the Andean (Frankish) ruler Valteros Bryennios. The Andigai came from the town of Sainte Maure, which was located in the department of Intre et Loir in present-day France. Arriving on the island, they gave it the name of their distant homeland and built a small church, Roman Catholic, dedicated to the name of Agia Mavra.
In the middle of the 15th AD century – 130 years later – Eleni Paleologina, daughter of Thomas Paleologus and wife of the despot of Serbia Lazarus Vukovic, arrived on the island. The purpose of her trip was the wedding of her daughter, Melissa, with the Duke of Lefkada, Leonardo III Tocco. On their way to the island they were in danger of severe seas. The pious Helen asked Agia Mavra, towards whose island she was heading, to save herself and build her a temple.
Indeed, he was saved and built the Pericalli Orthodox church of Agia Mavra. He also built or renovated the monastery of Odigetria – in the area of Apolpaina.