The Church commemorates Saint Stephen the Confessor, who was martyred in defense of Orthodoxy during the period of iconoclasm, and Saint Irenarchus who was martyred with seven Christian women.
Saint Irenarchus came from Sevastia and lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century AD. He was a pagan and took part in persecutions against Christians.
His presence in places of torture gradually led him to feel sympathy for the persecuted, as he was particularly impressed by their heroic attitude towards their martyrdom, their morals, serenity, kindness and devotion in the faith of Christ. He was particularly moved by the self-denial of the young girls and young children at the time of their martyrdom.
The gradual change in the Irenarchus’s soul culminated in the confession of faith in Christ at a time when seven Christian women were brutally tortured. Saint Irenarchus was beheaded and ranked among the martyrs of the Church since he also publicly confessed his faith in Jesus Christ.
We also celebrate the memory of the Five and Ten Martyrs who were martyred during the reign of Julian the Apostate in Stromnitsa (Strumica), which was then called Tiberiopolis.
Source: Church of Cyprus