Commemorated on September 12
Autonomus was a bishop in Italy. During the time of the persecution against
Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Autonomus left his own
country and resettled in Bithynia, in the locality of Soreia with the wandering‑lover
Cornelius. Saint Autonomus did his apostolic duty with zeal and converted to
Christ so many pagans, that a large Church was formed, for which he consecrated
a temple in the name of the Archangel Michael. For this church, the saint at
first ordained Cornelius as deacon, and then presbyter. Preaching about Christ,
Saint Autonomus visited also Likaonia and Isauria.
Diocletian gave orders to arrest Saint Autonomus, but the saint withdrew to
Claudiopolis on the Black Sea. In returning to Soreia, he had Presbyter
Cornelius ordained bishop. Saint Autonomus then set out to Asia, and when he
had returned from there, he began to preach in the vicinity of Limna, nearby
Soreia. One time, the newly-converted destroyed a pagan temple. The pagans
decided to take revenge on the Christians. Seizing their chance, the pagans
rushed upon the church of the Archangel Michael when Saint Autonomus was
serving Divine Liturgy there, and after torturing Saint Autonomus they killed
him, reddening the altar of the church with his martyr's blood. The deaconess
Maria extracted the body of the holy martyr from beneathe a pile of stones and
gave it burial.
During the reign of
Saint Constantine the Great a church was built over the place of burial of the
saint. In about the year 430 a certain priest had the decaying church pulled
down. And not knowing that beneathe the church had been buried the body of the
martyr, he rebuilt the church in a new spot. But after another 60 years the
relics of the saint were found undecayed, and a church was then built in the
name of the PriestMartyr Autonomus.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.