The Holy Martyrs Theopemptos and Theon

Commemorated on January 5

      The Holy Martyrs Theopemptos and Theon suffered in Nicomedia in the year 303. Saint Theopemptos was bishop in Nicomedia during the time of Diocletian. Speaking out against idol-worship, he defended the faith in Christ. Summoned to the emperor, he refused to carry out his demand to worship an idol of Apollo. They threw Saint Theopemptos into a red-hot furnace, but by the power of God he remained alive. The emperor came by night with a detachment of soldiers to the furnace and there actually saw the saint alive and praying to God. Ascribing the miracle accomplished to be a work of magic, Diocletian gave orders to wear down Saint Theopemptos by hunger and thirst during the course of 22 days, but here also by the will of God the martyr was preserved.
      The emperor then summoned the famous sorcerer Theon, brought in to overcome the magical power which, as they supposed, was possessed by the holy bishop Theopemptos. Theon prepared a poison for Saint Theopemptos put into a little cake, and offered it to him to eat. The poison did no harm at all to Saint Theopemptos. A second time, Theon tried out the effect of a still stronger poison on the martyr; but seeing, that Saint Theopemptos remained unharmed, he himself came to believe in Christ. They threw him into prison together with the holy bishop, who taught and baptised him, giving him the name Synesios (which means "fulfillment of understanding").
      In the morning Diocletian summoned Saint Theopemptos and again contended with him to recant from Christ; but, seeing the unbending rigour of the holy man, he subjected him to many grievous tortures, after which the saint was beheaded. The holy martyr Theon, having refused to offer sacrifice to idols, was buried alive in a deep ditch. This occurred at Nicomedia in the year 303.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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