Then He turned His gaze towards His Father above and said, "My Father, I have fulfilled all things, and Israel would not hear me, but they have inflicted so great a torment as this upon me." And He bent His head and gave up the ghost. Quickly they took Him down from the cross. But there was a man who was a ruler and had been a disciple of Christ; he took up Christ's body and laid it in a new sepulchre, and rolled a great rock up against the door of the tomb. At early dawn on the morning of the third day, an angel came down from heaven and rolled away the rock from His tomb. Christ arose and came out from the sepulchre, and revealed Himself to two of His disciples and to Mary arid Mary Magdalene and others of the women. Christ said to them, "Say to my disciples: Depart and go to Tabor in Galilee, and there you shall see me." And the twelve disciples went with great gladness to Mount Tabor and saw Christ and worshipped Him and kissed His sacred feet. But Christ said to His disciples, "Now you are no longer to be called disciples, but you are to receive the title of apostles. Now I shall ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God." Into His apostles, He breathed the living spirit and said to them, "Accept within yourselves the spirit of life, and go out among the towns and villages and country places from end to end of the world and perform miracles and marvels and feats of healing, and convert the heathen and baptize them in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and teach them all that I have told you. Behold, I am with you all the days of your life and until the end of the world. Freely you have received, and freely give to them also."
Then Christ ascended into heaven among the angels, but the twelve apostles departed and went about the villages and towns and country places, and spread abroad and preached the gospel of Christ, who had risen from the dead. They carried out miracles and marvels and feats of healing, and the people were converted and baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
In this way Christianity increased and spread abroad, and it extended from end to end of the world. They appointed bishops and priests and built churches in which the cross was raised. Every land believed in Christ, and every country was filled with the Christian faith; and Christ was preached in all lands. As for the Jews, there befell them the fate which the prophets had fore-told to them - some through the sword, others by famine, some were massacred and exterminated, and others vanished in captivity, for they did not observe the law of the Living God. But now the Christians bear the name of Israel, since Israel means, tile people of God and the servant of Christ, whose glory exists for ever and ever, Amen.
When I had listened and learnt everything from Archdeacon Samuel things from the beginning until now - and examined every feature of the creeds of the Jews and of the Christians, I believed in God Eternal and His Son Jesus Christ. Therein I have been baptized and nobody shall tear me away from Christ until my soul departs to heaven above. But about the faith of my fathers I am afraid and ashamed even to speak. For it was God who created heaven and earth, sun and moon and stars, the sea and the land, the rivers and assemblies of the waters, mountains and hills, meadows and forests, wood and fire, four-footed animals and beasts, reptiles and birds of the sky; and afterwards, God created mankind made made him lord over all these and subjected all these to man. Are we now to abandon the God who created all this, and consider as gods things which have been created by God? Let this never be! The sun and moon and stars are not God; it was God who commanded the sun to lighten the day and ordered the moon and the stars to brighten the night but they are not God. After all, God gives His commands to the clouds and they spread out and cover up the brilliance of the sun and moon. Therefore the sun and moon are not gods. Again, fire is no god, because mail lights fire and man also puts it out, for man is lord of fire therefore fire is not God. If it breaks out somewhere and spreads, it consumes whatever it encounters, either wood, meadow or homestead; if a man is at hand, it burns him up too. But if water comes into contact with it, then it extinguishes the power of even such a flame as this, and the fire is reduced to nothing, because it is no god. Are we then to honour it as a divinity?
Rather it was God who gave us fire for our use, to melt ice and prepare all our food. When we require it, we light it, and when we so desire, we put it out. So that fire is not a god.
We men created by God would by such a belief become like the dumb animals; just as in tile reproduction of beasts, they do not know their parents, nor tile offspring which has been born from them, so that their kind is reproduced promiscuously - similarly we men endowed with speech would resemble those dumb animals, not knowing our own parent or offspring, and propagating our kind promiscuously. But now that by God's grace baptism and the Christian faith have been instituted, men are endowed with knowledge, and since then these unrighteous ways have ceased and died out.
Now I beg this one boon, O Lord Jesus Christ, that my body may be buried in Mtskheta where I received baptism at the hands of the Catholicos Samuel and became worthy to partake in the faith of the Christians. From now on, nobody shall part me from Thy love- and faith and will, as it is written - “Neither torments nor beatings nor hunger in prison, nor the sword, nor the death of my flesh shall have power to separate me from Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ".
Then Buzmir the Marzapan said to him, “Eustace my son, listen to me and do not diminish the days of your life for the sake of Christianity; leave not your wife a widow, nor your children as orphans. For the sake of your friends, do not let your life be cut short.”
St. Eustace said to him, “Before you, other rulers have tormented me greatly and beaten me, and I did not submit to them. Am I now to he won over by you? Let this never Come about!”
When Buzmir the Marzapan realized how firm and immovable were the heart and mind of the blessed Eustace, and after all his menaces and tortures and promises of good things had failed to induce him to adopt the faith of his fathers, he commanded his servants, “Take him to prison and cut his head off secretly in the night, so that none of the Christians shall know and hallow his body. Then carry his corpse outside the city and east it away to be eaten up by the beasts and the birds.”
Then the servants took the blessed Eustace to prison in order to carry out the Marzapan's orders.
St. Eustace said to them, “Wait a little while for me, my brothers - for I am in your hands! so that I may pray to my God.” So they forbore a little and waited and said, “We will do this.” Then he bent his knee and raised his gaze towards heaven and said, “O Lord God Almighty, Thou who wishest that all men who faithfully place their hope in Thy holy name may live, Thou who didst hear the prayers of those first martyrs, some of whom were killed by the edge of the sword, others frozen to death in lake waters, some perishing by being cast into the sea, others by fire and being eaten up by wild beasts for Thy name's sake, and who then received the reward which Thou didst promise, which the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard of, and the heart of man has not experienced and which Thou hast prepared for Thy holy martyrs - let me too, O Lord, be made worthy to share with them their inheritance, their joy, their infinite happiness, as a latter-day remnant of the martyrs, according to the Apostle Paul's words: I am the last remnant of the apostles. Thou knowest, O my Lord Jesus Christ, that I have preferred no one before Thee, neither father, nor mother, nor brothers, nor children, but have loved Thee, the Lord, alone. Behold, my head is to be cut off today for Thy sake. This I pray and beseech and request from Thy bounty, that my body may not be abandoned here in Tiflis, but be buried in Mtskheta the holy, where Thou didst reveal Thyself to me, and that my relics may be invested with healing grace like those of the protomartyrs.”
And a voice was heard speaking to Eustace and saying, “In healing grace you shall he no less powerful than those first martyrs who bore witness for my sake. Have no care for your body, and it shall come to pass just as you have said.”
Then the blessed Eustace was very joyful and gave thanks to God. (But St. Eustace had previously left instructions with the blessed Stephen : When you hear of my death, carry my body immediately to Mtskheta and bury it there, where I was baptized.)
When he had finished praying and beseeching and offering up his requests to the Lord he said to the Marzapan's servants, “Now carry out the official sentence upon my person.” But they did not want to kill him. However, one of them said, “We shall be put to death if l}e stays alive.” Then they laid hands upon him and struck his sacred neck with a sword and cut off his head; and he committed his soul to Christ the King.
In the night time they removed his corpse outside and cast it forth there. However, certain of the Christians heard of this and carried the body to Mtskheta, since Stephen had given instructions to those local Christians. When they arrived in Mtskheta they told Stephen and Stephen informed the Catholicos Samuel. He was very joyful and buried the body with great glory and honour in the holy church at Mtskheta; and right up to the present time diseases are cured by it through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belong majesty and power, honour and might and glory undiminished, together with the Holy Ghost, now and always and for all eternity, AMEN.
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