The Orthodox Church commemorates today the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia who sacrificed their lives for Jesus Christ.
Their martyrdom is one of the cases of mass persecution and massacres against Christians, especially in the late second and early third centuries. That seems so contemporary in the 21st century, especially nowadays, in the countries of the Middle East! The 20,000 Saints lived in Nicomedia under the reign of Roman Emperor Maximian.
Bishop Anthimus, priest Glycerius, Saint Domna, and other Christians formed a church community to which new members were constantly coming. That incurred hatred within the pagan world and therefore the emperor launched persecution against Christians.
On Christmas Day, the enemies set fire to the church where the faithful were gathered, killing 20,000 people. Despite the fact that the church was engulfed in flames, the people received Holy Baptism and Holy Communion by the Bishop and the clergymen.
The history of the Church from the revelation of the Son and Word of God in the world until today, more than two thousand years, testifies to the struggles and martyrdoms of the Christians, who were ready to face by the grace of God.
Source: Church of Cyprus