The Holy Martyr Askalon

Commemorated on May 20

      The Holy Martyr Askalon was a Christian, born in the city of Great Hermopolis (Middle Egypt). The saint suffered in the III Century under Diocletian (284-305). Brought before the governor Arrian, Saint Askalon boldly confessed his faith and refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. And the saint predicted to Arrian, that there would come an hour, when he himself would be forced to call Jesus Christ as the One True God. By order of Arrian, they began to torture the saint cruelly, they suspended him and tore at him with iron instruments, such that pieces of his flesh fell to the ground. Saint Askalon quietly endured the torments. When one of those present, going up to him said: "See, he is already unconsciousness and near to death", – the holy martyr answered, – "I have not lost consciousness and unceasingly I do glorify my God and Saviour".
      The governor Arrian gave orders to convey the martyr to the city of Antineia, located on the opposite bank of the Nile, for a continuation of the tortures, whither he himself soon intended to go. But the martyr turned with prayer to God, beseeching Him to hold back the boat of Arrian until such time, that he confess the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ before all the people. And thus the boat of Arrian suddenly halted in the middle of the river and even oars could not move it from this spot. Arrian ascribed the miracle to the working of a magic spell by Askalon. In drawing up the sentencing of the saint the governor happened to dictate the confession of One True God, and then the boat sailed on to shore. Going into the city, Arrian again gave orders to suspend Saint Askalon and scorch at him with fire, after which he gave orders to drown him in the deep river. The martyr said to the Christians accompanying him: "Strive, brethren, to receive the rewards of the Lord God. On three days hence, my children, come to the north part of the city and there find my body. Bury it together with a stone attached to it". The death of the Martyr Askalon occurred in about the year 287, not far from the city of Antineia. On the third day Christians found the body of the martyr and in accord with his last wishes buried it reverently together with a stone.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.