The PriestMartyr Charalampios, Bishop of Magnezia, the Martyrs Porphyry and Baptos and the Three Martyresses
Commemorated on February 10
Charalampios, Bishop of Magnezia, the Martyrs Porphyry and Baptos and the Three
Martyresses suffered in the year 202.
Saint Charalampios, bishop of the Thessalonian city of Magnezia (northwest region of Greece), successfully spread faith in Christ the Saviour. News about his preaching reached the governor of the district Lucian and the military-commander Lucius. The saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he firmly confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Despite the decrepit age of the bishop (he was already 113 years of age), they subjected him to monstrous tortures: they lacerated his body with iron hooks, while they scourged all his skin from head to foot. During this the saint turned to his tormentors: "I bless you, brethren, ye have restored my spirit!"
Having seen the endurance of the elder and his complete lack of malice, two soldiers – Porphyry and Baptos openly confessed Christ, for which they were immediately beheaded with a sword. Being present at the sufferings of bishop Charalampios were likewise three women who began to glorify Christ and were quickly martyred.
The enraged Lucius himself seized hold of the instruments of torture and began to tear at the priest-martyr, but suddenly his hand was cut off as though by a sword. Also arriving at the place of execution the governor spat in the face of the saint, and immediately he bent backwards. Then Lucius began to beseech the saint for forgiveness, and through his prayer both torturers at once received healing. During this a multitude of witnesses came to believe in Christ. Among them also was Lucius, who fell at the feet of the holy elder, begging forgiveness.
Lucian reported about the occurrence to the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), situated at this time at Pisidian Antioch (western part of Asia Minor). The emperor gave orders to bring Saint Charlampios to him, and this was done with a stupid ferocity: they dragged the priest-martyr, having tied a rope to his beard. The emperor then gave orders to torture the bishop more intensely, and they began to burn at him with fire. But the Power of God aided to the saint, and he remained unharmed. Besides this, miracles were done through his prayer: he raised up a dead youth, and healed a demoniac tormented by devils for 35 years, so that the people in a multitude began to believe in Christ the Saviour. Even Galina the daughter of the emperor began to believe in Christ, and twice smashed idols in a pagan temple. By order of the emperor they beat the saint with stones about the mouth, and they wanted to set afire his beard, from which the flames went forth burning the torturer. Full of wickedness, Septimus Severus and his dignitary Crispus hurled blasphemy at the Lord, mockingly summoning Him to come down to the earth, and bragging of their own power and might. In wrath the Lord quaked the earth, great fear fell upon all, both the impious ones were suspended in mid-air held by invisible bounds, and only by the prayer of the saint were they put down. The dazed emperor was shaken in his former impiety, but again quickly fell into error and gave orders to torture the saint. And finally, he sentenced him to beheading with a sword. During the time of his final prayer, the saint was vouchsafed to behold the Saviour Himself and besought Him to grant that place where his remains would repose, in peace, would be fruitful for people, bringing forgiveness of sins and salvation. The Lord promised to fulfill the request and ascended to heaven, bearing with Him the soul of the priestmartyr Charalampios – who through the mercy of God accepted a peaceful death before execution. The daughter of the emperor, blessed Galina, buried the body of the martyr with great honour.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.