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Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina in Sicily (9 July)

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.

This saint was born in Antioch, during the time when the Lord Jesus Christ walked as a man among men on earth. Hearing about the miracles of Christ, the parents of Pancratius desired to see the Lord, the Miracle-worker. Together with Pancratius, they traveled to Jerusalem, where they saw Jesus, heard His words, and witnessed His miracles. There Pancratius became acquainted with the Apostle Peter. After the Ascension of the Lord, both the parents and the son were baptized in Antioch. Pancratius withdrew to a cave in Pontus, where the Apostle Peter found him. In agreement with the Apostle Paul, he appointed Pancratius as the Bishop of Taormina in Sicily. In Taormina, St. Pancratius worked many miracles, destroyed the idols, baptized the unbaptized, strengthened the baptized, and righteously governed the Church of God.

A heathen commander by the name of Aquilinus heard that the entire city of Taormina had become Christian, and set out with an army in order to destroy the city. St. Pancratius calmed the fears of the faithful, and he himself went out from the city with the clergy, carrying in his hands the invincible weapon, the Honorable Cross. When the army approached the city, a darkness fell upon them and the soldiers were overcome with great fear. They were seized with great confusion, and turned against one another, stabbing and slaughtering each other with their swords. Thus the God-pleaser Pancratius saved the city and his flock by the power of his prayer before the Lord. Finally, Pancratius was stoned to death by envious and evil heathens, and found his rest in the Lord. His holy relics lie in Rome.

This Saint, who was a contemporary of the Apostles, had Antioch as his homeland, where he was guided to the Faith of Christ by Peter, the Chief of the Apostles. Later, he came to Sicily, where he brought many to the Faith, and was finally put to death by the pagans.

Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Pancratius

Fourth Tone

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Pancratius. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of Hieromartyr Pancratius

Third Tone

He that breathed with tongues of fire upon the holy Apostles gave thee, O Pancratius, the selfsame mystical graces; as the heir and true disciple of Simon Peter, thou didst shine upon the West with the saving Gospel and with blood didst seal thy preaching both as a hierarch and faithful Martyr of Christ.

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