The Holy Martyrs Meletius Stratelates, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Kallinikos the Sorcerer, Theodore and Faustus and with them 1218 Soldiers with Women and Children

Commemorated on May 24

      The Holy Martyrs Meletius Stratelates, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Kallinikos the Sorcerer, Theodore and Faustus and with them 1218 Soldiers with Women and Children: During the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Heliogobalus (218-222) the holy Martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district. He was a Christian and he prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagan error. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which by their howling began to imbue fear into the inhabitants of the district. Saint Meletius together with his soldiers dispatched the mad dogs, destroyed the temples and was then arrested and brought to trial before the governor Maximian. For refusing to offer sacrifice to idols Saint Meletius was subjected to torture, and he died, not ceasing to confess his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy Martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as True God.
      The remaining soldiers of the regiment, likewise declaring themselves Christian, were beheaded by the sword together with their wives and children, and in the torments perished 1218 men, put by some historians at instead the number 11,000 (+ c. 218).
      The holy Martyrs Theodore and Faustus together with many others were burned. From the women and children that suffered are known the names of the holy Martyresses Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the Infants Kyriakos and Christian. The names of some of the soldiers are known, and of the 12 tribunes: the holy Martyrs Faustus, Fistus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Fotinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymos.
      The holy Martyr Serapion was born in Egypt. He had come to the Galatia district and was a witness of the martyrdom of Saint Meletius and his comrades. Seeing the bravery with which those believing in Christ died for Him, Saint Serapion himself believed, for which he was imprisoned. In prison an Angel of God came down to him and ordained Saint Serapion a bishop.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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