Hieromartyr Damascene of Hilandar of Mt Athos

The Hieromartyr Damascene the New was born in the village of Gabrovo of the Trnovo diocese in Bulgaria. As an adult, he left his home and went to the Hilandar monastery on Mt. Athos, where he later became igumen. St Damascene often journeyed to various places on monastery business. He once went to Bulgaria to ask a certain Moslem for payment of a debt owed to the monastery. To avoid paying the debt, the man placed a Moslem woman in the room where the saint was staying. He was wrongly charged with having sexual relations with the woman, a crime which carried the death penalty if he were convicted.

Despite the doubts of the kadi (judge), the Moslems in court gave false testimony against Father Damascene, so the kadi had to find him guilty. Before taking him to be executed, they gave him the choice of saving his life by converting to Islam, or death.

Seeing that nothing would induce the saint to deny Christ and accept their religion, the Moslems hanged him at Svishtov on January 16, 1771. The wrath of God was not slow in overtaking the evil-doers, however. They got into a boat to cross the Danube River, and the boat capsized in a storm, drowning them.