Commemorated on April 9
The Holy Martyr
Eupsychios was born in the city of Caesarea Cappadocia and received a
Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.
During the time of
the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), Saint Eupsychios entered into
At Caesarea there was
then a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna [i.e. "fortune" or
"luck"], very revered by Julian the Apostate. At the same time as
Eupsychios was going in to the wedding ceremony, the pagans were making
offering of sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna.
Saint Eupsychios was
ardent with zeal for the Lord, and he gathered the people and destroyed the
temple. He knew, that this would inevitably result in punishment for him. Saint
Eupsychios distributed all his substance to the poor and prepared himself for the
act of martyrdom.
The enraged emperor
Julian hurled his wrath not only upon Saint Eupsychios, but against all the
inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens he executed, the more
respectable he sent into exile, Christian clergy were conscripted into military
service, and from the churches he looted anything of value. The city was
deprived of its title Caesarea (i.e. "Imperial") and turned into a
simple village with its original name of Maza, and on the inhabitants he
imposed a grievous tribute-tax. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city
altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one
Julian ordered Saint
Eupsychios to be compelled by tortures to offer sacrifice to idols. Over the
course of many days they tormented the saint upon a rack, and likewise with
iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge gave sentence to behead the
martyr with the sword (+ 362). At this time Julian, having set out on a
campaign against the Persians, marched through Cappadocia and approached
Carsarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to
its foundations. But then the archbishop of the city, Sainted Basil the Great
(+ 379, Comm. 1 January), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority,
came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he
himself ate from. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to
give Saint Basil a pinch of hay with the words: "Thou hast given us
barley, cattle feed, so in return receive hay from us". The saint
answered: "O emperor, we bring thee that which we ourselves do eat, and
thou dost give us cattle feed; thou dost make mockery over us, since thou art
not able by thy might to transform hay into bread – the essential food of
mankind". Julian angrily replied: "Know thou, that this hay I shalt
shove down thy throat, when I am returned hence from Persia. And I shalt raze
this city to its very foundations and on its place plow over the ground and
turn it into a field. I do very well know, that it was through thine advice,
that the people dared to destroy the statuary and temple of Fortuna".
After this the
emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the
Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 by the holy GreatMartyr Mercurius
(Comm. 24 November, q.v.).
And after the
emperor's demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea erected a splendid
church over the grave of Saint Eupsychios, and from his relics they received
help and healing.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.