Relics

Forty Martyrs of Lake Sevaste

Commemorated March 9. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. Upon immersion into the cauldron, the one who yielded went into shock and immediately died. One of the guards, Aglaius, was set to keep watch over the martyrs and beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them. He at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and joined the remaining thirty-nine. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way, veneration of the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour. (Wikipedia)
 
 

 

St. Boniface

Commemorated June 5. The English monk St. Boniface (ca. 672-754) is known as the Apostle of Germany because he organized the Church there in the 8th century.

Named Winfrith by his well-to-do English parents, Boniface was born probably near Exeter, Devon. As a boy, he studied in Benedictine monastery schools and became a monk himself in the process. For 30 years he lived in relative peace, studying, teaching, and praying. In his early 40s he left the seclusion of the monastery to do missionary work on the Continent. Because his first efforts in Frisia (now the Netherlands) were unsuccessful, Winfrith went to Rome in search of direction. Pope Gregory II renamed him Boniface, "doer of good," and delegated him to spread the gospel message in Germany.

In 719 the missionary monk set out on what was to be a very fruitful venture. He made converts by the thousands. Once, the story goes, he hewed down the giant sacred oak at Geismar to convince the people of Hesse that there was no spiritual power in nature. In 722 the Pope consecrated him bishop for all of Germany. For 30 years Boniface worked to reform and organize the Church, linking the various local communities firmly with Rome. He enlisted the help of English monks and nuns to preach to the people, strengthen their Christian spirit, and assure their allegiance to the pope. He founded the monastery of Fulda, now the yearly meeting place of Germany's Roman Catholic bishops. About 746 Boniface was appointed archbishop of Mainz, where he settled for several years as head of all the German churches.

Over the years he kept up an extensive correspondence, asking directives of the popes, giving information about the many Christian communities, and relaying to the people the popes' wishes. In 752, as the pope's emissary, he crowned Pepin king of the Franks. In his 80s and still filled with his characteristic zeal, Boniface went back to preach the gospel in Frisia. There, in 754 near the town of Dokkum, Boniface and several dozen companions were waylaid by a group of savage locals and put to death. His remains were later taken to Fulda, where he was revered as a martyr to the Christian faith.

Boniface was a man of action, but he was also sensitive to the feelings of those with whom he came in contact. His organizing genius and loyalty to Rome influenced Germany's Christianity for centuries. (YourDictionary.com)

 


 

St. Kyrikos

Commemorated July 15. The Holy Martyrs Julitta and Kyrikos lived in the city of Iconium in the province of Lykaoneia in Asia Minor. St Julitta was descended from an illustrious family and was a Christian. Widowed early on, she raised her three-year old-son Kyrikos (Quiricus). During the time of the persecution against Christians initiated by the emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD), St Julitta with her son and two trustworthy servants departed the city, leaving behind her home, property, and servants.

Concealing her noble rank, she hid out first at Seleucia, and then at Tarsus. There around the year 305 AD she was recognized, arrested and brought to trial before governor Alexander. Strengthened by the Lord, she fearlessly answered the judge's questions, and she firmly confessed her faith in Christ. The governor gave orders to beat the Saint with rods. During her torments, St Julitta kept repeating, "I am a Christian, and will not offer sacrifice to demons".

The little boy Kyrikos cried, seeing his mother being tortured, and wanted to go to her. The governor Alexander tried to sit him on his lap, but the boy broke free and shouted, "Let me go to my mother, I am a Christian". The governor flung the boy from the high tribunal and kicked him down the stone steps. The boy struck his head on the sharp edges and died. The mother, seeing her lacerated son, gave thanks to God that He had permitted her child to be perfected before her, and to receive the unfading crown of martyrdom. After many cruel tortures, they beheaded St Julitta with a sword.

The relics of Sts Kyrikos and Julitta were uncovered during the reign of St Constantine the Great (commemorated May 21). In honour of these holy martyrs a monastery was built near Constantinople, and not far from Jerusalem a church was built. In popular custom, Ss. Kyrikos and Julitta are prayed to for family happiness, and the restoring of sick children to health. (OCA)

 


 

St. Panteleimon

Commemorated July 27. This saint, who had Nicomedia as his homeland, was the son of Eustorgius and Eubula. His father was an idolater, but his mother was a Christian from her ancestors. It was through her that he was instructed in piety, and still later, he was catechized in the Faith of Christ by Saint Hermolaus (see July 26) and baptized by him. Being proficient in the physician's vocation, he practiced it in a philanthropic manner, healing every illness more by the grace of Christ than by medicines. Thus, although his parents had named him Pantoleon ("in all things a lion"), because of the compassion he showed for the souls and bodies of all, he was worthily renamed Panteleimon, meaning "all-merciful."

On one occasion, when he restored the sight of a certain blind man by calling on the Divine Name, he enlightened also the eyes of this man's soul to the knowledge of the Truth. This also became the cause for the martyrdom of him who had been blind, since when he was asked by whom and in what manner his eyes had been opened, in imitation of that blind man of the Gospel he confessed with boldness both who the physician was and the manner of his healing. For this he was put to death immediately. Panteleimon was arrested also, and having endured many wounds, he was finally beheaded in the year 305, during the reign of Maximian. (GOARCH)