Commemorated on April 11
Antipas – a disciple of the holy Apostle John the Theologian (Comm. 26
September), was bishop of the Church of Pergamum during the reign of the
emperor Nero (54-68).
During these times by
order of the emperor, everyone who would not offer sacrifice to the idols lived
under threat of either exile or execution. And then too on the island of Patmos
(in the Aegean Sea) was imprisoned the holy Apostle John the Theologian – he
to whom the Lord revealed the future judgements of the world and of Holy
– "And to the
Angel of the Pergamum Church write: thus sayeth He having the sword sharp of
both edges: I do know thine deeds, and that thou dost live there, where doth be
the throne of Satan, and that thou dost cleave unto My Name nor didst renounce
My faith even in those days, in which My slain faithful witness Antipas was
amongst ye, where Satan dwelleth" (Rev. 2: 12-13).
By his personal
example, firm faith and constant preaching about Christ, Saint Antipas began to
sway the people of Pergamum from offering sacrifice to idols. The pagan priests
reproached the bishop for turning the people away from their ancestral gods, and
they demanded that he stop preaching about Christ and instead offer sacrifice
to the idols.
Saint Antipas calmly
answered, that he was not about to serve the demon-gods, which flee before him
who was but a mortal man; rather, it is the Lord Almighty that he worships and
would continue to worship – the Creator of all, together with His Only‑Begotten
and One-in-Essence Son and Holy Spirit. The pagan priests retorted, that their
gods existed from of old, whereas Christ was not from of old and was crucified
under Pontius Pilate as a criminal. The saint answered, that the pagan gods
were the work of human hands and that everything said about them was filled
with iniquities and vices. He steadfastly confessed his faith in the Son of
God, incarnated of the MostHoly Virgin.
The enraged pagan
priests dragged the PriestMartyr Antipas to the temple of Artemis and threw him
into a red-hot copper bullock, wherein usually they cast the sacrifices to the
idols. In the red-hot furnace the priest-martyr prayed loudly to God, imploring
to accept his soul and to fortify Christians in the faith. He expired to the
Lord peacefully, as though asleep (+ c. 68).
Christians by night
took the body of the PriestMartyr Antipas, untouched by the fire, and with
reverence they buried him at Pergamum. The tomb of the priest-martyr became a
font of miracles and of healings from manifold sicknesses. Particular recourse
to the PriestMartyr Antipas is made during times of tooth-ache.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.