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MANUSCRIPT ILLUMINATION: [Christ before Pilate, folio 8 verso of the Rossano Gospels. 6th century. Tempera, gold, and silver on purple vellum, approx. Late Antiquity] The Rossano Gospels are closely related to the VIENNA GENESIS, to the purple manuscripts and to the fragmentary Sinope Gospels. The gesturing figures are on two levels separated by a simple ground line. In the upper level, Pilate presides over the tribunal. Jesus and the bound Barabbas appear in the lower level. (Gardner's)
Holy Apostle Matthias of the Seventy Disciples was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot after the death of the Lord. After Pentecost, he preached the Gospel with the other Apostles, notably with Peter and Andrew to Syrian Antioch and the Cappadocian cities Tianum and Sinope (Acts). He was locked into prison, poisoned, became invisible when pursued, and the earth opened and swallowed his attackers. Defending the Gospel before Jewish High-Priest Ananias, he was sentenced to death and stoned in AD 63.
15-year-old Helen of Sinope, Greece (18th cent) was kidnapped by the governor on her way to market; each time g tried to rape her, a force prevented him. Helen escaped, and g told Christians he would kill them unless they provided her. Helen was given but again force protected her. H was fiercely tortured; 2 nails were driven into her skull and she was beheaded. Her body was thrown into the Black Sea. Sailors saw heavenly light where it sank and retrieved it. Celebrated Nov 1.
Holy Martyr Phocas the Gardener (Sinope, Black Sea) earned his living by tending a small garden. P was pious, helped the poor, and was respected by pagans, many of whom converted. Governor didn’t want Faith to spread; sent killers after P. Not disclosing his name, P lodged them for the night, when he dug his grave in the garden and said all his goods be given to the poor. In the morning he told them he was P, asked to be killed. They didn’t want to, but P put his head under the sword. (Sept 22)