Commemorated on July 7
Epictetos and Astion the Monastic lived during the reign of the Roman
emperor Diocletian in one of the eastern districts of the Roman empire. The
virtuous presbyter Epictetos from the time of his youth had dedicated his life
to God. He was vouchsafed the gift of wonderworking, and by his prayers he
accomplished numerous healings of those afflicted by unclean spirits and other
Once during the time
of a stroll, the son of the city-governor – the illustrious pagan-youth
Astion, came upon Saint Epictetos. In a prolonged conversation Saint Epictetos
enlightened Astion, he sowed the Word of God in the soul of the youth, telling
him about the True God, about the great value of the immortal human soul, about
the insignificance of transitory worldly pleasures. [trans. note: Epictetus was
a pre-Christian Greek Stoic philosopher, and the trait-name bestown upon the
saint may reflect a didactic message that pagan philosophy was a preparation of
the pagan mind with a propensity for the ultimate Truth of the Gospel, as also
the Pax Romana, etc.].
Having believed in
Christ and having accepted holy Baptism, the blessed youth then began zealously
to beseech of his guide to go together with him to some far-off land, so as to
completely dedicate his life to God. Setting off on a ship, Saints Epictetos
and Astion journeyed to the land of the Skythians. At the mouth of the River
Danube (Dunaj) they settled not far from the city of Almirisium among the pagan
Slavs, and passed their lives in deeds of prayer and fasting.
lives of the hermits could not long remain unknown to the world. People began
to come to the saints, those who were afflicted by various illnesses and
oppressed by evil spirits, and they received healing by prayer. The pagans even
began to ask help of the holy ascetics, and having received relief in their
suffering, they were converted to Christ.
At this time the
governor of the district, Latronian, arrived in the city of Almirisium, and
pagan priests began to make denunciation against Saints Epictetos and Astion,
that by sorcery they attracted people to their faith. They seized hold of the
saints and began interrogation.
After thirty days
locked in prison without food and water, the holy martyrs Epictetos and Astion
were again brought to trial before Latronian. They remained ready to bravely
accept new suffering for Christ.
They sentenced them
to beheading with a sword (+ 290).
The parents of the
holy Martyr Astion – Alexander and Marcellina – accepted holy Baptism from
the bishop of the city Thomas the Evangeliser, who soon also suffered for
Christ by beheading with a sword.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.