The Holy Martyr Orestes
Commemorated on November 10
Holy Martyr Orestes lived at the end of the III Century in the city of
Tiana in Cappadocia during the time of the emperor Diocletian. He was an
illustrious and capable soldier, and from childhood Saint Orestes was truly a
By order of the emperor, the military-officer Maximinus was dispatched to Tiana for dealing with Christianity, which then had spread widely throughout Great Cappadocia. Orestes was among the first brought to trial to Maximinus. He bravely and openly confessed his faith in our Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus Christ. The prosecutor offered the saint riches, honours and reknown for renouncing the One True God, but Saint Orestes was unyielding. By order of Maximinus, they took Orestes to a resplendid pagan temple and again demanded he worship idols. When he refused, 40 soldiers, taking turns one after the other, beat the holy martyr with lashes, with canes, with rawhide, and then they tormented him with fire. Saint Orestes cried out to the Lord: "Oh God, make with me a sign of blessing, let those hating me see it and be put to shame". And the Lord heard His true servant. The earth began to tremble, and the idols fell down and were smashed. Everyone rushed out of the temple, and when Saint Orestes came out, the very temple tumbled down.
Infuriated, Maximinus ordered the holy martyr to be locked up in prison for seven days giving him neither food nor drink, and on the eighth day to continue with the torture. They wedged nails into the heels of the martyr, and then tied him to a wild horse. Dragged over the stones, the holy martyr expired to the Lord in the year 304. His relics were thrown into the sea.
When many years had passed, in 1685, a certain monk of the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra (Dimitrii, afterwards the Sainted-Hierarch of Rostov, Comm. 28 October) was copying from an ancient manuscript the Life of Saint Orestes. He became tired and fell asleep. The holy martyr appeared to him in a dream vision and, having shown him the deep wound in his chest and the lacerated sinews of his arms and bruised knees, he bid him to add these into his life, since not all the torments which befell the saint were recorded in the ancient manuscript. The humble monk carried out the wish of the holy Martyr Orestes and he gave praise to God, Who is Wondrous in His Saints.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.