The PriestMartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apameia

Commemorated on August 14

      The PriestMartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apameia, was born of illustrious parents on the island of Cyprus. Having received a fine education, he occupied an high civil office, giving all to marvel at his purity of life, mildness, kindness and eloquence. In about the year 375, having left behind his wife and children, the saint devoted himself to a wilderness-monastic life in Syria. The people of Apameia, having gotten him to come to the city on some practical matter, chose him as bishop. From the account of Theodorit of Cyr it is known about him, that having received permission from the holy emperor Saint Theodosius the Great (379-395) to destroy a strongly built temple of Jupiter at Apameia, the saint was puzzled on how to accomplish this. A certain worker promised to help him. He undermined three of the huge columns, propping them up for the while with olive wood, and then he tried to set them afire, but the wood would not burn. When Saint Marcellus learned about this, he made in church the lesser order of the Blessing of Water, and he commanded that this water be faithfully sprinkled about the wood. After this the wood burned quickly, the columns fell down and the whole pagan temple collapsed in upon itself. When soldiers near Aulona in the Apameia district demolished still another pagan temple, the saint, watching from a distance, was seized by pagans and thrown into a fire (+ c. 389). The killers were found, and the sons of the saint wanted to take revenge, but the Local Council forbade them this, decreeing that it would be wrong to avenge suchlike a death as the saint had received, in that for such one mustneeds give thanks to God.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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