The Holy New Martyrs of Serbia
During the Second World War (1939-1945), the Ustashi government of Roman Catholic Croatia, in alliance with the Nazi government of Germany, and with the approval and support of the papal hierarchy, undertook an unspeakably bitter persecution of the Orthodox Serbian people with the aim either of converting them to papism, or driving them away, or killing them. The Orthodox Serbs who would not accept papism were put into extermination camps; some were tortured inhumanly by knifing; some were found with their eyes put out, their noses and ears cut off, and fires having been lighted upon their chests; whole villages were slaughtered, the children being impaled on stakes; unborn babes were slain in their mothers' wombs; many perished in camps from hunger and sickness; many thousands were herded like beasts and burned in their churches, which were destroyed with their monasteries and homes. Over 700,000 Serbian Orthodox Christians suffered cruel martyrdom during this period, including many of the clergy and defenceless women and children.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
The scarlet of your blood, shed for Christ's sake, O Martyrs, * doth ornament the Church like fine linen and purple. * The crimson seed of the Faith is again sown with gen'rous hand. * Lo, the rushings of this river make glad God's City, * and her enemies are thereby drowned in confusion. * O Serbia, exult with joy!
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Like a firmament of stars * brilliant with glory * did these holy Martyrs shine * amidst a nation most perverse. * Let us beseech them with fervour now * that they preserve us in Orthodox piety.