Hieromartyrs of Cherson
The Hieromartyrs of Cherson were seven bishops of the fourth century who carried the Gospel of Christ into the northwest area of the Black Sea. Of the seven, all but one were martyred while pursuing their missionary activities. The seven hieromartyrs are all commemorated on March 7.
During the first decade of the fourth century a bishop's see was established at Cherson, a trading settlement on the Crimean peninsula. Missionary activity in the Black Sea was encouraged by Hermon, the Bishop of Jerusalem who sent many bishops to preach the Gospel in the various lands of the Black Sea. Beginning that decade, he initiated the procession of missionary bishops to Cherson and the northwest area of the Black Sea to preach Christ's Gospel.
The first missionaries were two bishops, Ss. Basil and Ephraim. After their martyrdom, they were followed by the three missionary bishops, Eugene, Elpidius, and Agathodorus. After their martyrdom, bishops Aetherius and Capiton followed under the protection of St. Constantine the Great. St. Aetherius was the only member of the seven hierarchs of Cherson to not meet a martyr's death.