The Holy Martyr Romanos

Commemorated on November 18

      The Holy Martyr Romanos was deacon at a church in Palestinian Caesarea. During one of the persecutions against Christians he resettled at Antioch, where he encouraged Christians in the faith by his example and fervent preaching.
      When the Antioch governor Asklepiades was considering the destruction of the Christian temple, Saint Romanos called out the believers to stand up for their sanctuary. He persuaded them, that if they managed to protect the church, then down here on earth would be rejoicing, in the Church Militant, and if they were to perish in defense of the church, there would still be rejoicing in the Heavenly Church Triumphant. Seeing such a firm resolve amongst the people, the governor did not dare to carry out his plans.
      A certain while afterwards, when a pagan celebration had started in the city and many people from the surroundings had come to Antioch, Saint Romanos began denouncing the idol-worship and called on all to follow Christ. They arrested him and subjected him to torture. During the time of tortures the martyr saw in the crowd the holy Christian Lad Barulas and, having directed the governor to him, said: "The young lad is smarter than thee, in thine old age, since that he doth know the True God. Thou however dost worship mere idols". The governor Asklepiades gave orders to bring the boy to him. To all the questions of the governor, Barulas firmly and without fear confessed is faith in Christ, the True God. Asklepiades in a rage gave orders to fiercely whip the Martyr Barulas, and then behead him. Before his death the holy lad asked his mother, who was present at the execution, to give him something to drink, but the mother quieted him down to endure all the torments for the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself put his head of her son onto the block, and after the execution buried him (+ 303).
      The Martyr Romanos was sentenced to burning, but a sudden gust of rain extinguished the fire. The saint began glorifying Christ and insulting the pagan gods. The governor gave orders to cut out his tongue, but even deprived of his tongue Saint Romanos continued loudly to glorify the Lord. Then the torturers sentenced him to hanging (+ 303).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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