On this date in the Byzantine (Christian) city of Gaza, 60 Christian soldiers were martyred for their faith by Arab Mohammedan invaders. The soldiers along with the rest of the inhabitants had been promised quarter to surrender and end the siege of that city, instead the treacherous Mohammedans demanded that they renounce their faith or face death.
After many attempts at persuasion, torture and threats, the brave soldiers continued to confess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. When all attempts to break the 60 Christians failed, the Saracen emir had the 60 (still in chains) cut down by his men in front of the martyrs families and the other Christians of Gaza.
Propers for the Martyrs of Gaza - 17 December
O Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyrs of Gaza triumphed over suffering and were faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember them with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lesson - Jeremiah 15:15-21
The Holy Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38