Martyr Emilian of Dorostolum; Venerable Pambo the Hermit of Egypt

The Holy Martyr Emilian, who was a Slav, suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian wanted to restore the cult of the pagan gods throughout the Roman Empire, and he issued an edict, according to which all Christians who failed to honor the pagan gods would be subject to death.

Saint Emilian lived in the Thracian city of Dorostolum on the banks of the River Dunaj (Danube).The imperial edict was read in the city square, but the people of Dorostolum declared that there were no Christians in the city.

Saint Emilian was a slave of a cruel and fanatical idolater, and was a secret Christian. Some sources state that he was the son of a local officer named Sabbatianus. When the father learned that Emilian believed in Christ, he was so enraged that he insulted him with vulgar words and had him whipped. He pointed out that he could expect even worse things to happen to him if he remained a Christian.

Instead of being intimidated by these threats, Saint Emilian’s faith in Christ was strengthened. The next day he went into a pagan temple and smashed the statues with a hammer.

An angry crowd started to beat a certain Christian, who was passing by. Saint Emilian then shouted out loudly that they should not harm that innocent man, since he himself was the one who had damaged the pagan temple.

The saint was seized and brought to Capitolinus the governor for judgment. In spite of further threats, Saint Emilian would not deny Christ. “He is my Lord, and I will never deny Him,” the martyr exclaimed. The governor ordered that Saint Emilian be beaten mercilessly, and then to be burned alive. He did not perish when he was thrown into the fire, but instead the flames consumed many of the pagans who were standing about. When the fire had gone out, Saint Emilian lay down upon the dying embers, and gave up his soul to the Lord. The wife of the pagan ruler was also a secret Christian, and she gathered up the saint’s relics and buried them. Afterward, a church dedicated to the holy Martyr Emilian was built at Constantinople, where his relics were transferred.

Venerable Pambo the Hermit of Egypt lived the ascetic life in the Nitrian desert in Egypt. Saint Anthony the Great (January 17) said, that the Monk Pambo by the fear of God inspired within himself the Holy Spirit. And the Monk Pimen the Great (August 27) said: “We beheld three things in Father Pambo: hunger every day, silence and handcrafts”. The Monk Theodore the Studite termed Saint Pambo “exalted in deed and in word.”

At the beginning of his monasticism, Saint Pambo heard the verses from the 38th [39th] Psalm of David: “preserve mine path, that I sin not by my tongue”. These words sank deep into his soul, and he attempted to follow them always. Thus, when they asked him about something, he answered only after long pondering and prayer. He would say, “I must think first, and perhaps I can, in time, give an answer, with God’s help.” Saint Pambo was a model of a lover of work for his disciples. Each day he worked until exhausted, and by the bread acquired by his own toil.

The disciples of Saint Pambo became great ascetics: Dioscorus, afterwards Bishop of Hermopolis (this Dioscorus, bishop of Hermopolis, is distinguished from another Dioscorus, an arch-heretic and Patriarch of Constantinople. He lived rather later and was condemned by the Fourth Ecumenical Council), and also Ammonius, Eusebius and Euthymius, mentioned in the life of Saint John Chrysostom. One time Saint Melania the Younger (December 31) brought Saint Pambo a large amount of silver for the needs of the monastery, but he did not leave off from his work nor even glance at the money that was brought. Only after the incessant requests of Saint Melania did he permit her to give the alms to a certain monastic brother for distribution to the needs of the monastery. Saint Pambo was distinguished by his humility, but together with this he highly esteemed the vocation of monk and he taught the laypeople to be respectful of monastics, who often converse with God.

It was said that sometimes Saint Pambo’s face shone like lightning, as did the face of Moses. Yet, speaking to the brethren who stood about his deathbed, Saint Pambo said: “I go to the Lord as one who has not yet begun to serve Him.” He died at the age of 70.

Translated into English by oca.org.

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