The PriestMartyrs Emilian the Bishop, and with him Ilarion, Dionysius and Hermippus
Commemorated on August 18
The PriestMartyrs Emilian the Bishop, and with him Ilarion, Dionysius and Hermippus were born and lived in Armenia. After the death of their parents, the PriestMartyrs Emilian, Dionysios and Hermippos (they were brothers), and Ilarion (their teacher) left their native land and arrived in Italy, in the city of Spoleto. Saint Emilian began there to preach the Gospel to the pagans. He won the deep respect of the Christian community for his strict and virtuous life, and he was chosen bishop in the city of Trebium (he received hierarchical ordination from the Pope of Rome Marcellinus). Having moved to Trebium, Saint Emilian converted many pagans to Christ, for which he was brought to trial before the emperor Mamimian (284-305). The saint suggested to the emperor to see for himself the power of prayer to Christ. A man was brought, crippled for a long time. However much the pagan-priests tried to heal him by appealing to the idols, they accomplished nothing. Then Saint Emilian, praying to the Lord, in the Name of Jesus Christ commanded the crippled man to rise up, and that one, getting himself up healthy and rejoicing, went his way home. This miracle was so convincing, that the emperor became inclined to an admission of the truth in Christ, but the pagan-priests suggested to him, that the saint had worked magic. He was subjected to fierce tortures, in which the Lord encouraged him, saying: "Fear not, Emilian, I Myself am with thee". They tied him to a wheel, flung him on hot tin, dunked him in a river, put him in a circus for devouring by wild beasts, but he remained unharmed. In view of all these miracles the people began to shout: "Great is the Christian God! Free His servant!" On this day 1,000 men believed in Christ, and all accepted the crown of martyrdom. In a rage the governor gave orders even to kill the beasts for not tearing apart the saint, who was giving thanks to the Lord, – so that even the wild beasts accepted death for Christ. They locked up Saint Emilian in prison together with his brothers and teacher, and after fierce tortures the Priestmartyrs Ilarion, Dionysius and Hermippus were beheaded with the sword. They executed Saint Emilian outside the city. When the executioner struck the martyr on the neck with a sword, it became soft like wax, and in no way wounded the saint. Soldiers fell on their knees to him, asking forgiveness and confessing Christ as the True God. Upright on his knees, the saint prayed for them and besought the Lord to grant him a martyr's death. His prayer was heard: another executioner cut off the head of the saint. Seeing a milkiness flowing from his wounds, many of the pagans believed in Christ and with honour they buried the body of the martyr (+ c. 300).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.