The Holy Martyr Acacius

Commemorated on May 7

      The Holy Martyr Acacius, who lived mostly in the III Century, was born at Cappadocia and was a centurion of the Martesian regiment under the military officer Firmus. When the persecution against Christians was started up on order of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), Firmus began one after the other to interrogate his soldiers about their faith. Saint Acacius thereupon firmly and openly confessed himself a Christian. Seeing the steadfastness of Saint Acacius, Firmus sent him off to the military officer higher up in command, named Vivianus. Vivianus gave the saint over to fierce torture. After the tortures they put him in heavy chains and locked him up in prison. A certain while later they led the martyr together with other prisoners to Byzantium, to the governor. The soldiers accompanying them went along quickly, showing the prisoners no mercy, and Saint Acacius weakened along the way from his wounds, and also from his chains and hunger and thirst. When finally they halted for the night, Saint Acacius offered up thanks to God, for granting him to suffer for His Holy Name. During the time of prayer the saint heard a voice from the heavens: "Valour, Acacius, and be strong!" This voice was heard also by the other prisoners, and many of them believed in Christ and besought the saint to instruct them and further them in the Christian faith.
      At Byzantium they situated the holy martyr in onerous lockup, while the other prisoners were put under less severe conditions. But at night the other prisoners beheld, how radiant youths appeared to Saint Acacius and attended to him, washing his wounds and bringing him food. After seven days, Vivianus again summoned Saint Acacius before him and was struck by his fresh appearance. Supposing, that the prison guard for money had given the prisoner both respite and food, he summoned the guard for a strict questioning. And not believing his answers, Vivianus had the guard severely beaten. Saint Acacius himself thereupon answered Vivianus: "My power and strength art given me by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath healed my wounds". Vivianus in a frenzy of rage gave orders to beat the martyr about the face and smash his teeth for his unsolicited words. Striving all the more to intensify and prolong the torture of Saint Acacius, Vivianus sent him off to the governor Flaccinus with a letter. But having read the letter, Flaccinus became annoyed, that Vivianus had for so long and so cruelly tortured a soldier holding the venerable rank of centurion, and he gave orders to without further delay behead the martyr. At the place of execution Saint Acacius lifted up his eyes to the heavens, offering up thanks to God for being granted to accept a martyr's death for Him, and then with a calm joy he lay down his head beneathe the sword. This occurred in the year 303. Under Constantine the Great the relics of the holy Martyr Acacius rested at Constantinople in a church built in his honour, and later they were transferred to Calabria, to the city of Scillatio. The holy Martyr Acacius particularly helps those resorting to him in prayer in struggle with the flesh, as discovered by himself for Saint Epiphanios, a disciple of the Fool-for-Christ Saint Andrew.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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