The Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina, was born when our Lord Jesus Christ yet lived upon the earth.
The parents of Pancratius were natives of Antioch. Hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, Pancratius’ father took his young son with him and went to Jerusalem in order to see the great Teacher for himself.
The miracles astonished him, and when he heard the divine teaching, he then believed in Christ as the Son of God. He became close with the disciples of the Lord, especially with the holy Apostle Peter. It was during this period that young Pancratius got to know the holy Apostle Peter.
After the Ascension of the Savior, one of the Apostles came to Antioch and baptized the parents of Pancratius together with all their household. When the parents of Pancratius died, he left behind his inherited possessions and went to Pontus and began to live in a cave, spendng his days in prayer and deep spiritual contemplation.
The holy Apostle Peter, while passing through those parts, visited Pancratius at Pontus. He took him along to Antioch, and then to Sicily, where the holy Apostle Paul then was. There the holy Apostles Peter and Paul made Saint Pancratius Bishop of Taormina in Sicily.
Saint Pancratius toiled zealously for the Christian enlightenment of the people. In a single month he built a church where he celebrated divine services. The number of believers quickly grew, and soon almost all the people of Taormina and the surrounding cities accepted the Christian Faith.
Saint Pancratius governed his flock peacefully for many years. However, pagans plotted against the saint, and seizing an appropriate moment, they fell upon him and stoned him. Thus, Saint Pancratius ended his life as a martyr.
The saint’s relics are in the church named for him in Rome. He is also commemorated on February 9.
The Hieromartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna, was bishop at Gortyna on the island of Crete for 50 years. He suffered either under the emperor Decius (249-251), or according to other historical sources, the emperor Maximian (284-305).
Brought to trial before a governor named Lucius, who demanded that he offer sacrifice to idols, the holy Elder steadfastly confessed his faith in Christ and refused to fulfill the soul-destroying command. The governor sentenced Saint Cyril to burning, but the flames did not touch him. Seeing this miracle, many pagans came to believe in Christ. Lucius himself offered up praise to the Christian God and set the saint free.
Saint Cyril continued with his preaching and led many pagans to Christ, but also he grieved that he had not been allowed to suffer for the Savior. It was reported to the governor that Saint Cyril would not cease his preaching, and that he continued to convert people from the darkness of paganism to the light of Christ.
Hearing the sentence against him, Saint Cyril rejoiced that he was to be granted a martyr’s death for Truth, and the 84-year-old Elder willingly placed his head beneath the sword.
Today is celebrated The Neamţ Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, named Hodegetria.
Tr by oca.org