In preparing the Synaxarion readings for today, I was particularly moved and inspired by this so thought I would share:
On this day, the 3rd of May, Holy Church commemorates the Martyrs Timothy and Maura. The father of Timothy was the village priest in a settlement near Antinoe in the Thebaid and brought up his son in Christian piety.
Timothy, from his first years as a youth, served during his father's term in the rank of reader and the keeper of liturgical books. St Timothy read sacred books daily at home. But he read them with special inspiration in church assemblies on Saturdays and Sundays. For his distinct, intelligent, and reverent reading during the divine services St Timothy was respected by Christians. Another obligation of his rank as reader, Timothy considered the writing of sacred books. For Timothy, the writing of sacred books was not only an obligation but also was a hobby. He called the copied books his children, his expensive treasure that he also shared with the Christians of his church community.
Having married a 17 year old maiden, Maura, who came from a prosperous family, he found in her who also had a distinguished Christian education a friend for life, capable of empathising with his moods. She respected the calling of her husband and she empathised with him, inspiring him with what he read in the sacred books in the church. She also liked to read sacred books, knew them so well that she could expound their sayings by heart. No more than twenty days of their matrimony had passed when a terrible trial came to them: the persecution of Christians had arrived. The decree required to extort, in particular, sacred books from Christians in order to burn them. St Timothy was summoned for interrogation. The valorous reader, noticing the attributes of vacillation and cowardice among Christians for fear of torture, loudly spoke against the decree about the persecution in accusing the one and in encouraging the other. For this and his refusal to turn over the sacred books to the pagans, he was subjected to torture and underwent "having his body tied, his eyes gouged out, his ears pierced through, being broken on the wheel and weighed down with a heavy stone". The torturers ordered his young wife Maura to convince her husband to renounce Christ, but she also wished to exploit baptism by blood and underwent "having her fingers cut off, being burned with torches, crucified for a long time".
After long and cruel torture the holy spouses were crucified on crosses facing each other. During the nine days of suffering on the cross they courageously preached Christ, talked about the Lord and eternal life, comforting each other, and finally gave up their souls to the Lord in the year of grace 286. Some years later, a solemn celebration of the holy martyrs Timothy and Maura was instituted at Constantinople, and a church was built in their honour.
On the first Sunday of July, we commemorate the discovery of a wonderworking icon of St Maura in the town of Machairado on the island of Zakynthos.
Thy holy martyrs Timothy and Maura, O Lord,
through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from Thee, our God.
For having thy strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!
You accepted many humiliations,
and deserved to be crowned by God.
great and laudable Timothy and Maura,
intercede with the Lord for us,
that we may celebrate your most pure memory;
that He may grant peace unto our land and people,
For He is a powerful stronghold for the faithful!
Adapted from an entry in the Bulgakov Handbook