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FORTY HOLY MARTYRS - March 9


Name day of everyone named Mladen, Mladenka.

According to the Bulgarian national traditions, it is believed that land is getting warmer and ready to be cultivated. That day, the sun is turning to the summer and the weather becomes warmer and all insects, snakes and lizards get out of their hidden places. Therefore, the ritual sending away of all the snakes and lizards is a central issue in the traditional rituals of that day. Fire is started and people jump over it, hitting iron objects and performing all kinds of rites to preserve themselves from the reptiles. Bread is baked and then handed away for health of people and of oxen as well.

Orthodox Church celebrates that day as the church feast of the 40 soldiers from the Armenian regiment of the town of Sebaste (Sebastia), who died for their faith after terrible torturing during the persecutions of Christians by the Roman Emperor Licinius (4th century AD).

The names of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste were the following: Kyrion, Candidus, Domnus, Hesychios, Heraklios, Smaragdos, Eunoikos, Valens, Bibianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodoulos, Eutychios, John, Xanthios, Helianus, Sisinios, Aggias, Flavius, Aetius, Akakios, Ekdikios, Lysimachos, Alexander, Iles, Gorgonios, Theophilos, Dometian, Gaius, Leontius, Athanasios, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valerius, Philoktemon, Severian, Choudion, Meliton and Meletios (+ ca. 320)