Saint Aphthonius suffered martyrdom in Persia along with Sts Acindynus, Elpidephorus, Anempodistus, Pegasias, and 7,000 other Christians at the time of King Sapor II (310-381). These saints were Sapor’s courtiers, and were secret Christians. When the king began his persecution against Christians, envious pagans denounced them to him. Summoned to Sapor’s presence for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The king ordered them to be beaten with whips.
Sapor told the people that Sts Acindynus, Pegasias, Anempodistus and Elpidephorus would have their heads cut off, and that he would not permit the Christians to bury their bodies.
A tremendous crowd accompanied these saints as they were led outside the city walls for execution, glorifying Christ. On Sapor’s orders, soldiers massacred all the Christians in the procession (about 7,000), including St Elpidephorus.
Acindynus, Pegasias, and Anempodistus were burned on the following day with the mother of the emperor. Christians, came secretly by night to the place of execution, found the bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by the fire, and they buried them with reverence.