The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church. Today’s saints were martyred during the reign of Emperor Decius. They lived in Egypt. Many of the Christians were driven out into the desert. There they died in a variety of ways: hunger, thirst, cold nights, wild animals, criminals. Naturally, if the Christians tried to return to civilization, they were killed. The young, healthy Christians were sold into slavery.
St. Chaeremon was a priest and bishop of Nilopolis. He was very old when the persecution became extreme. The elderly bishop and a companion went for shelter to the mountains of Arabia. They were never seen again, nor were their bodies ever found.
St. Ischyrion worked for an official in one of Egypt’s cities. It may have been Alexandria. His employer required that he sacrifice to the gods. Ischyrion refused because this was against the first commandment. The official was angry and insulted. He had Ischyrion killed.
A great many other martyrs are included here who gave their lives for Jesus at this time in Egypt.
Today, there are still many people who suffer for their faith in Jesus. Let us pray for them, that they will have the courage they need to be faithful to the Gospel.
Loving God, You not only sent Your Son into the world to save us, but You also had Him call us to a life in this world lived in Your presence. Through the intercession of Your servants St. Ischyrion, St Chaeremon and companion martyrs, grant us the grace to respond with joy. This we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.