Holy Fifteen Tiberiopolis (Strumica) Martyrs – archaeological site


In the center of Strumica is the church and tombs of Holy Fifteen Tiberiopolis Martyrs (Светите Петнаесет Тивериополски Маченици).


Tiberiopolis (Strumica) was the name of the city, a day walk north of Thessaloniki, which in antiquity was called Astraion (Астраион) or Star City (Ѕвезден град).

15-macenici-od-stumicaHoly Fifteen Tiberiopolis Martyrs are Christian saints and martyrs of the 4th century. They lost their lives in the name of Christianity at the time of the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate (Јулијан Отпадник). Today they are celebrated by the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox world on December 11th. In the town of Strumica (Струмица) and the place where they were executed on December 11 is celebrated as patron of the city.
Strong and fruitful Christian life of fifteen fathers made all people in Strumica to become worshipers of Christ and to conceive monastic life in Macedonia. But cruelty of the authorities was so severe and unprecedented, that already captured fifteen fathers, were sentenced to death by cutting their head.
The Saints life ended on 28 November and parts of their bodies were scattered dishonorable to be eaten by dogs, beasts and birds. Even after the departure of villains, the Christians with great honors uploaded honest bodies and laid them in Tiberiopolis.
Discovered a three-nave basilica with marble floors and mosaic decoration, like most early Christian vaulted tombs found inside painted with crosses, speak the truth about the events of the IV century and in this place.
In VII century the city was destroyed by the Avars, and temples were ruined to which the tombs of saints were buried, as recorded in the medieval manuscript of Archbishop Theophilact (Теофилакт) in XII century, then, in the IX century Bulgarian Prince Boris Mihail (Борис Михаил) built and renewed many churches especially in Strumica and Bregalnica region.
One of these monuments created in the spirit of the Macedonian Renaissance was built over the tombs of Saints and memories Fifteen Martyrs.
In the central part of the church’s crypt discovered within which the characters stand today and the Saints, painted the mural.
In the XII century the church was remodeled retaining the tripartite division. To the southeast of the church later was built believers chapel. The respect toward the Fifteen Martyrs is seen trough the desire of ordinary believers to be buried in their proximity, as seen throughout the Middle Ages when there were mass buried citizens of Strumica.
Cult of Saints Fifteen Tiberiopolis continually lives up to today, and to the Christians of Macedonia they are closest to holiness.

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