Martyr Kyriake of Nicomedia; Venerable Thomas of Mt. Maleon; Martyr Evangelicus the Bishop of Tomis

Martyr Kyriake of Nicomedia

Saint Kyriake was the only child of Dorotheus and Eusebia. Since she was born on a Sunday (Kyriake, in Greek), she was named Kyriake.

One day a wealthy magistrate wished to betroth Kyriake to his son. Not only was she young and beautiful, but her parents were wealthy, and the magistrate wished to control that wealth. The magistrate went to her parents to request her hand, but Saint Kyriake told him that she wished to remain a virgin, for she had dedicated herself to Christ.

The magistrate was angered by her words, so he went to the emperor Diocletian to denounce the saint and her parents as Christians who mocked the idols, and refused to offer sacrifice to them.

Diocletian sent soldiers to arrest the family and have them brought before him. He asked them why they would not honor the gods which he himself honored. They told him that these were false gods, and that Christ was the one true God.

Dorotheus was beaten until the soldiers grew tired and were unable to continue. Since neither flattery nor torment had any effect, Diocletian sent Dorotheus and Eusebia to Melitene on the eastern border between Cappadocia and Armenia. Then he sent Saint Kyriake to be interrogated by his son-in-law and co-ruler Maximian at Nicomedia.

Maximian urged her not to throw her life away, promising her wealth and marriage to one of Diocletian’s relatives if she would worship the pagan gods. Saint Kyriake replied that she would never renounce Christ, nor did she desire worldly riches. Enraged by her bold answer, Maximian had her flogged. The soldiers who administered this punishment became tired, and had to be replaced three times.

Shamed by his failure to overcome a young woman, Maximian sent Saint Kyriake to Hilarion, the eparch of Bithynia, at Chalcedon. He told Hilarion to either convert Kyriake to paganism, or send her back to him.

Making the same promises and threats that Diocletian and Maximian had made before, Hilarion was no more successful than they were. Saint Kyriake challenged him to do his worst, because Christ would help her to triumph. The saint was suspended by her hair for several hours, while soldiers burned her body with torches. Not only did she endure all this, she also seemed to become more courageous under torture. Finally, she was taken down and put into a prison cell.

That night Christ appeared to her and healed her wounds. When Hilarion saw her the next day, he declared that she had been healed by the gods because they pitied her. Then Hilarion urged her to go to the temple to give thanks to the gods. She told him that she had been healed by Christ, but agreed to go to the temple. The eparch rejoiced, thinking that he had defeated her.

In the temple, Saint Kyriake prayed that God would destroy the soulless idols. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake which toppled the idols, shattering them to pieces. Everyone fled the temple in fear, leaving Hilarion behind. Instead of recognizing the power of Christ, the eparch blasphemed the true God as the destroyer of his pagan gods. He was struck by a bolt of lightning and died on the spot.

Saint Kyriake was tortured again by Apollonius, who succeeded Hilarion as eparch. When she was cast into a fire, the flames were extinguished. When she was thrown to wild beasts, they became tame and gentle. Therefore, Apollonius sentenced her to death by the sword. She was permitted time to pray, so she asked God to receive her soul, and to remember those who honored her martyrdom.

Just as Saint Kyriake ended her prayer, angels took her soul before the soldiers could strike off her head. Pious Christians took her relics and buried them in a place of honor.

Venerable Thomas of Mt. Maleon

Saint Thomas of Mt. Maleon was a military commander before he became a monk. Strong and brave, he had participated in many battles, and brought victory to his countrymen, for which he gained glory and esteem. But, striving with all his heart towards God, Thomas abandoned the world and its honors, and he took monastic vows.

With great humility he visited monastic Elders, asking for guidance in the spiritual life. After several years Thomas received the blessing for solitary wilderness life and, led by a pillar of fire at night by the holy Prophet Elias, he settled on Mount Maleon (on the eastern part of Athos). Dwelling in complete seclusion, Saint Thomas fought with invisible enemies with as much courage as he had displayed against the visible enemies of his country.

The life and deeds of Saint Thomas could not be concealed from the surrounding area. People began to flock to him seeking spiritual guidance, and even those suffering from sickness, since he received from God the blessing to heal infirmities.

Many believers received help through the prayers of the holy monk. Even after his death, he does not cease to heal those who seek his aid, from every passion and sickness.

Martyr Evangelicus the Bishop of Tomis

Saint Evangelicus, a follower of the holy Apostle Andrew (November 30), is the first known bishop of the diocese of Tomis (Constanța, pronounced: Constantsa) in Dacia Pontica (Lesser Scythia, or Dobrogea). He was active around the mouths of the Danube toward the end of the third century.

Bishop Evangelicus converted many pagans of Dacia Pontica to Christianity. He is mentioned in the account of the martyrdom of Saints Epictetus and Astion (July 8), where he is described as the founder of churches in the province. The parents of these holy martyrs were baptized by Saint Evangelicus after being converted by the priest Bonosus.

It is believed that Saint Evangelicus suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian (284-305).

Tr by oca.org

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