Augustine Sokolovski

On August 31, the last day of summer, the Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Martyrs Florus and Laurus. Saints of the early Church, they suffered for Christ supposedly during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan (117-138). The lives of the holy martyrs are rich in semantics, and the tradition of their veneration is also relevant.

According to the Gospel, the Lord Jesus, knowing that the accusation of messianism would lead Him to the Cross, as befits the Messiah, sat on a donkey, and entered Jerusalem (Mark 11:5). Thus, Jesus made his suffering inevitable. As if accelerating the course of circumstances that were tragic, He indicated that His suffering was voluntary, and, at the same time, brought universal salvation closer.

Similarly, Saints Florus and Laurus did not begin to justify themselves on the accusation of Christianity, but, together with their workers, and they were masons, they performed a night liturgical service in an unfinished pagan temple.

The pagan priest's son, who had previously lost his sight, received healing through the prayer of the Church. So, the pagan temple became a place of conversion.

When news of this reached the local ruler, the workers were executed. Their cruel death, and they were burned, became a baptism of blood.

Saints Florus and Laurus were thrown alive into a well and covered with earth. Centuries later, their relics were found. At the moment when the relics of the martyrs were uncovered, the pandemic among animals stopped. That is why Saints Flor and Laurus are depicted on icons with horses.

This touching detail reminds us that Flor and Laurus were the patrons of livestock in popular piety. It also reminds us of the times when animals were a source of food for a person, real capital and help in labor. Let us recall the hero of one of the novels by Nikos Kazantzakis (1883–1957), who asked the Apostle Peter to let his beloved donkey go with him to heaven so that angels could ride on it.

Nowadays, pets that need human attention and care have come into human life. They, as in Fyodor Chistyakov's song, "nap by the window", helping people meet loneliness. At this time, in Heaven before God, Saints Florus and Laurus intercede for the coming of that messianic time, when, according to the word of Paul, all creation, rational and dumb, will be released into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (cf. Rom. 8:21), and all death will be removed (cf. Apoc. 20:14).