The Hieromartyr Haralampus, Bishop of Magnesia, the martyrs Porphyrius and Baptus and three women martyrs suffered in the year 202.
Saint Haralampus, Bishop of Magnesia (Asia Minor), successfully spread faith in Christ the Savior, guiding people on the way to salvation. News of his preaching reached Lucian, the governor of the district, and the military commander Lucius. The saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols.
Despite the bishop’s advanced age (he was 113 years old), he was subjected to monstrous tortures. They lacerated his body with iron hooks, and scraped all the skin from his body. During this the saint turned to his tormentors, “I thank you, brethren, that you have restored my spirit, which longs to pass over to a new and everlasting life!”
Seeing the Elder’s endurance and his complete lack of malice, two soldiers (Porphyrius and Baptus) openly confessed Christ, for which they were immediately beheaded with a sword. Three women who were watching the sufferings of Saint Haralampus also began to glorify Christ, and were quickly martyred.
The enraged Lucius seized the instruments of torture and began to torture the holy martyr, but suddenly his forearms were cut off as if by a sword. The governor then spat in the face of the saint, and immediately his head was turned around so that he faced backwards.
Then Lucius entreated the saint to show mercy on him, and both torturers were healed through the prayers of Saint Haralampus. During this a multitude of witnesses came to believe in Christ. Among them also was Lucius, who fell at the feet of the holy bishop, asking to be baptized.
Lucian reported these events to the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), who was then at Pisidian Antioch (western Asia Minor). The emperor ordered Saint Haralampus to be brought to him in Antioch. Soldiers twisted the saint’s beard into a rope, wound it around his neck, and used it to drag him along. They also drove an iron nail into his body. The emperor then ordered them to torture the bishop more intensely, and they began to burn him with fire, a little at a time. But God protected the saint, and he remained unharmed.
Many miracles were worked through his prayer: he raised a dead youth, and healed a man tormented by devils for thirty-five years, so that many people began to believe in Christ the Savior. Even Galina, the daughter of the emperor, began to believe in Christ, and twice smashed the idols in a pagan temple. On the orders of the emperor they beat the saint about the mouth with stones. They also wanted to set his beard on fire, but the flames burned the torturer.
Full of wickedness, Septimus Severus and an official named Crispus hurled blasphemy at the Lord, mockingly summoning Him to come down to the earth, and boasting of their own power and might. The Lord sent an earthquake, and great fear fell upon all, the impious ones were both suspended in mid-air held by invisible bonds, and only by the prayer of the saint were they put down. The dazed emperor was shaken in his former impiety, but again quickly fell into error and gave orders to torture the saint.
And finally, the emperor sentenced Saint Haralampus to beheading with a sword. During Saint Haralampus’ final prayer, the heavens opened and the saint saw the Savior and a multitude of angels. The holy martyr asked Him to grant that the place where his relics would repose would never suffer famine or disease. He also begged that there would be peace, prosperity, and an abundance of fruit, grain, and wine in that place, and that the souls of these people would be saved. The Lord promised to fulfill his request and ascended to heaven, and the soul of the hieromartyr Haralampus followed after Him. By the mercy of God, the saint died before he could be executed. Galina buried the martyr’s body with great honor.
In Greek hagiography and iconography Saint Haralampus is regarded as a priest, while Russian sources seem to regard him as a bishop.
This Saint was a priest of the Christians in Magnesia, the foremost city of Thessaly, in the diocese having the same name. He contested during the reign of Alexander Severus (222-235), when Lucian was Proconsul of Magnesia. At the time of his martyrdom the Saint was 103 years of age.
St. Haralambos is commemorated on February 10th, with the exception when this date falls on the Saturday of the Souls preceding Lent or on Clean Monday (the first day of Lent), in which case the feast is celebrated on February 9th.
This great saint, Charalampus, was a bishop in Magnesia who suffered for Christ in his 113th year. When a terrible persecution began during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, the elderly Charalampus did not hide from the persecutors. Instead, he freely and openly preached the Christian Faith. He endured all tortures as though he were in someone else’s body. When they skinned him alive, the forgiving elder said to the emperor’s soldiers: “Thank you, my brethren, for in scraping my old body you renew my spirit for a new eternal life.” He worked many miracles and converted many to the Faith.
Even the emperor’s daughter, Galina, abandoned the idolatry of her father and become a Christian. Condemned to death and brought to the place of execution, St. Charalampus raised his hands to heaven and prayed to God for all people, that God would grant them bodily health and spiritual salvation and that He would multiply their fruit of the earth: “O Lord, Thou knowest that men are flesh and blood; forgive them their sins and pour out Thy grace on all!” After prayer, this holy elder gave up his soul to God before the executioner lowered the sword on his neck. He suffered in the year 202 A.D. The emperor’s daughter, Galina, removed his body and honorably buried it.
Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Haralambos
O wise Haralambos, you were proven an unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ; an ever-shining lamp of the universe. You shone in the world by your martyrdom. You delivered us from the moonless night of idolatry O blessed one. Wherefore, boldly intercede to Christ that we may be saved.
Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org