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Saint Pamphilios the Martyr & his Companions (16 February)

Pamphilios, the first of these martyrs, was a presbyter of the church at Caesarea in Palestine. He was a learned and devout man, who corrected the text of the New Testament from the errors of the various copiers. He himself recopied this salvific book and gave it to those who desired it. The second was the deacon Valentine–old in years and grey in wisdom. He was an outstanding authority on the Holy Scriptures and knew them completely by heart.

The third was Paul, an honorable and distinguished man, who during a previous persecution had been cast into the fire for Christ. Besides these, there were five brothers, according to the flesh and spirit, who had been born in Egypt and were returning to their homeland after being forced to work in the mines of Cilicia. At the gates of Caesarea they declared that they were Christians, for which they were brought to court.

When asked what their names were, they responded: “The pagan names which our mother gave to us we discarded, and we call ourselves:  Elias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Samuel and Daniel.” When asked where they were from, they responded: “From the Jerusalem on high.” All of them were beheaded. There also suffered a young man, Porphyrius, who sought the bodies of the martyrs in order to bury them. They burned him in the fire, as well as Seleucus, formerly an officer who had approached and kissed the martyrs before the sword fell on their heads.

Also put to death was the aged Theodulus, a servant of a Roman judge, who had embraced one of the martyrs as they were being escorted. Finally Julian, who had kissed and honored the lifeless bodies of the martyrs, was himself martyred. And so they gave little for much, the paltry for the precious, and mortality for immortality. They took up their habitation with the Lord in the year 308 A.D.

This Martyr contested during the reign of Maximian, in the year 290, in Caesarea of Palestine, and was put to death by command of Firmilian, the Governor of Palestine. His fellow contestants’ names are Valens, Paul, Seleucus, Porphyrius, Julian, Theodulus, and five others from Egypt: Elias, Jeremias, Esaias, Samuel, and Daniel. Their martyrdom is recorded in Book VIII, ch. 11 of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, called The Martyrs of Palestine.

Apolytikion of Martyr Pamphilus and Companions

Fourth Tone

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.