The Holy Martyr Hieron

Commemorated on November 7

      The Holy Martyr Hieron was born in the city of Tiana in great Cappadocia. Raised by a pious mother, he was a kindly and good Christian.
      The co-ruling emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) sent to Cappadocia a large military detachment headed by Lyzias to eradicate the wide-spread Christianity there, and also, to conscript into the imperial army healthy and strong soldiers. Amidst the many others, Lyzias gave orders also to draft into military service Hieron, who was distinguished by his great physical strength and dexterity. But Hieron refused to serve emperors who would persecute Christians. When they attempted to grab hold of him by force and bring him to Lyzias, he took hold a beam of wood, and sent scattering the soldiers who had been sent to bring him. He then hid himself away in a cave, together with eighteen others of like mind. Lyzias would not risk losing his soldiers assaulting the cave even by storming it. Upon the advice of Kyriakos, one of the friends of Hieron, Lyzias lifted the siege of the cave and withdrew his detachment. Then Kyriakos, having reassured Hieron, persuaded him not to offer resistance to the authorities; and he together with the other new conscripts amidst accompanying soldiers were dispatched to the nearby city of Meletina. Soon Hieron had a vision in his sleep, in which was foretold him his imminent martyr's end. Lyzias proposed to the soldiers gathered at Meletina that they offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Hieron and behind him another 32 soldiers refused to do this, and openly they confessed their faith in Christ. Then the persecutor gave orders to beat the martyrs, and to cut off the hand of Hieron. After cruel tortures they threw the barely alive martyrs into prison, and in the morning they beheaded them.
      A certain rich and illustrious Christian by the name of Chrysanthos ransomed the head of Hieron from Lyzias. And when the persecutions finally ceased, he built a church on the place where they executed the holy martyrs, and he placed the venerable head therein. The bodies of all the executed saints were secretly buried by Christians. During the reign of the emperor Justinian later on, amidst the construction of a church in the name of Saint Irene, the venerable relics were uncovered undecayed.

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