Saint Julitta was from the city of Iconium. Fearing the persecution of Diocletian, she took her son Cyricus, who was three years old, and departed for Seleucia; but finding the same evil there, she went over to Tarsus in Cilicia, where the ruler arrested her. He took her son from her and tried with flatteries to draw the youth to himself.
But the little one, in his childish voice, called on the Name of Christ and kicked the ruler in the belly so hard, that the tyrant became enraged and cast him down the steps of the tribunal. In this manner, the child’s head was crushed, and he gave up the spirit. As for his blessed mother, she first endured many torments, and finally was beheaded in the year 296.
The Holy Martyrs Quiricus and Julitta lived in the city of Iconium in the province of Lykaoneia in Asia Minor.
Saint Julitta was a Christian, descended from an illustrious family. Widowed early on, she raised her three-year-old son Quiricus on her own. In those days men, women, and even young children entered the contest and obtained imperishable crowns from Christ. During Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, Saint Julitta fled the city with her son and two trustworthy handmaidens, leaving behind her home, her property, and her servants.
Concealing her noble rank, she went first to Seleukeίa, and then to Tarsus, where she was recognized, arrested, and brought to trial before the ruler Alexander. Strengthened by the Lord, she answered the judge’s questions, and firmly confessed her faith in Christ.
The ruler ordered Julitta to be stretched out and beaten. During her torments, Saint Julitta kept repeating, “I am a Christian, and I will not offer sacrifice to demons.”
The little boy Quiricus cried when he saw his mother being tortured, and wanted to go to her. The ruler Alexander tried to sit him on his lap, but the boy kicked him in the stomach and shouted, “Let me go to my mother, I am a Christian.”
Infuriated, Alexander took the child by the foot and threw him down the stone steps of the tribunal, and so Saint Quiricus struck his head on the sharp edges and died.
Saint Julitta, seeing the broken body of her son, gave thanks to God that He had allowed her child to be perfected before her, and to receive the unfading crown of martyrdom. After her sides had been raked with hooks, and hot pitch had been poured over her feet, Saint Julitta was beheaded with a sword in the year 304 or 305. Secretly, her two maids buried the bodies of the Martyrs in a field.
The relics of Saints Quiricus and Julitta were uncovered during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great (May 21). A monastery was built near Constantinople in honor of these holy martyrs, and a church was built not far from Jerusalem.
The head of Saint Quiricus is in Grigoriou Monastery on Mount Athos. Portions of the relics of Saint Julitta may be found in the following Monasteries on Mount Athos: the Greatest Lavra, Simonopetra, Xenophontos, and Dionysiou, as well as at Palaiokastro on Kerkyra, and Kykko Monastery on Cyprus.
We pray to Saints Quiricus and Julitta for family happiness, and for the restoration of sick children to health.
Apolytikion of Martyr Julitta & Cyricus
Blessed Julitta, Christ God’s rational ewe-lamb, with holy Cyricus, her three-year-old offspring, stood at the judgment seat and with authority and great boldness they proclaimed the true Faith of the Christians. In no wise were they afraid of the threats of the tyrants; and now in Heaven, wearing precious crowns, they both rejoice as they stand before Christ our God.
Kontakion of Martyr Julitta & Cyricus
As the Martyr of Christ God, the chaste Julitta, in her arms bare Cyricus, she cried out in the stadium with manful courage and boundless joy: Thou art the strength of the Martyrs, O Christ my God.