Martyr John of Syracuse, Martyred in Africa

The Holy Martyrs Andrew and John, and John’s Children Peter and Antoninus, suffered in the ninth century in the time of the cruel African ruler Ibrahim. After the capture and destruction of the Sicilian city of Syracuse, Ibrahim captured and brought to Africa St John and his two children, Peter and Antoninus, whom he compelled to study the Arab language and sciences.

When the youths had grown, Prince Ibrahim was so fond of them for their wisdom and virtuous life, that he named Antoninus his kinsman, and he appointed Peter as his chief steward. Once he learned that the youths secretly confessed faith in Christ, however, Ibrahim flew into a furious rage, ordering them to be bound with iron shackles and beaten with knotted rods.

After prolonged scourging, they put St Antoninus on a donkey, tied him on with straps, then drove him through the city, beating and ridiculing him with abuse. The martyr endured all the insults and gave thanks to God. St Peter was thrown into prison after a fierce beating with the rods.

An order was issued to arrest John, the father of the holy martyrs. The brutal Ibrahim grabbed him by the neck with his left hand, and with his right he thrust a knife into his throat. They threw the body of the father together with the bodies of his sons. They then lit a large fire and cast the bodies of the holy martyrs into it.

As for St Andrew, the torturer wore him down with hunger, and then ran him through with a spear in the chest. When the martyr prayerfully began to give thanks to God, Ibrahim ran him through a second time. As he lay dying from loss of blood, they beheaded the righteous martyr with a sword.