The Forty Martyrs Church
The church of the Forty Martyrs
This church is located close to the Northern wall of the Virgin’s Church and it is dedicated to the famous forty soldiers in Licinius’ army. In the year 313 AD, he ordered 40 soldiers of Sebastea in Lesser Armenia to be tortured by being casted into a lake of ice. He also prepared a hot bath for those who were ready to deny our Lord Jesus (so that they could be removed from the ice bath and comforted in the hot bath).
One of the persecutors saw 40 divine crowns descending from heaven, 39 crowns then rested on 39 heads of the martyrs, however, the fortieth crown remained suspended up in heaven.
After a while the fortieth person denied our Lord Jesus Christ, and he was rushed up to the hot bath. Nevertheless, he fell dead under the strain of the sudden change in temperatures. In seeing this, the persecutor himself jumped in his place and announced his Christianity (clearly as you can see, the fortieth crown was awarded to the persecutor who jumped in the ice lake and accepted Christ).
In the Southern side of this Church lay the relics of Bishop Khristodoulos of Ethiopia who was once a monk at this Monastery, and his tomb was found. He died while he was visiting Egypt in the year 1024 AD.