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Unmercenary Physician Thallelaios at Aegae in Cilicia and his companions, Martyrs Alexander and Asterios (20 May)

The Martyrs Thallelaios (Thallélaios), Alexander, and Asterios (Astérios) lived during the reign of Emperor Numerian (283-284). The prefect Theodore of the city of Aegea in Cilicia sent soldiers out to search for Christians. They brought him an eighteen-year-old young man named Thallelaios. In answer to the prefect’s questions Saint Thallelaios said, “I am a Christian from Lebanon. My father, Beroukias was a military commander, and my mother was called Romylίa. My brother is a subdeacon, and I am studying medicine under the physician Makarios. During a former persecution against Christians in Lebanon, I was brought before the prefect Tiberius, and barely escaped execution. Now that I stand before this tribunal, you may do with me as you will. I want to die for Christ, my Savior and my God, and I hope to endure all torments with His help.”

The enraged prefect ordered the two torturers Alexander and Asterios to bore through the Martyr’s knees, and pass a rope through the bone, and then suspend him head downward. But the executioners, by God’s design, bored into a block of wood, which they hung up in place of the Martyr. When the prefect Theodore saw that they had deceived him, he ordered that Alexander and Asterios be whipped. They confessed themselves to be Christians and glorified God, and so the prefect ordered them to be beheaded at once. Twice he attempted to carry out the execution and to bore through the Saint’s knees, but God’s grace prevented him from doing so. Then he commanded that Saint Thallelaios be drowned.

Theodore’s servants told the prefect that they had carried out the execution, but just as they finished their report, Saint Thallelaios appeared in a white garment. For a long time, everyone was numb with terror, but finally the prefect said, “Behold, this sorcerer has bewitched even the sea.”

Then one of his advisers, the magician Urbician, told the prefect to have the Saint thrown to the wild beasts. But neither the vicious bear, nor the hungry lion and lioness, would touch the Saint. Instead, all the animals meekly lay down at his feet. Seeing this marvel, the people began to shout, “Great is the God of the Christians. O God of Thallelaios, have mercy on us!”

The crowd seized Urbician and threw him to the beasts, which tore the magician apart. Finally, the prefect told his men to kill the holy Martyr with a sword. They led Saint Thallelaios to the place of execution, where he prayed to God, and then bent his neck beneath the sword. This took place in the year 284.

The Martyr Thallelaios was beheaded at Aegea, in the autumn of the year 284 (according to others in May of 289) and received the unfading crown of martyrdom. Some Monasteries celebrated the memory of Saint Thallelaios on September 3, while others did so on August 23, the day on which he was brought in for interrogation.

The relics of the holy Martyr Thallelaios were placed in the church of Saint Agathonikos (Agathónikos) in Constantinople and have worked many miracles. Saint Thallelaios treated the sick without payment, and for this reason, the Church calls him an Unmercenary Physician. He is invoked in prayers for the sick in the Mystery of Holy Unction, and during the Blessing of Water.

Portions of the Saint’s holy relics are in the Monasteries of Dionysίou and Konstamonίtou on Mount Athos.

Saint Thalleleus was from the region of Lebanon in Phoenicia, the son of Berucius, a Christian bishop; his mother’s name was Romula. Raised in piety, he was trained as a physician. Because of the persecution of Numerian, the Saint departed to Cilicia, and in Anazarbus he hid himself in an olive grove; but he was seized and taken to Aegae of Cilicia to Theodore, the ruler. After many torments he was beheaded in 284. Saint Thalleleus is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.

Thalelaeus was born in Lebanon. His father was called Berucius and his mother Romila. Thalelaeus was an eighteen-year-old youth: handsome, tall, and with reddish-blonde hair. He was a physician by profession. He suffered for Christ during the reign of Numerian. When he bravely confessed his faith in Christ the Lord before his judge-torturer, the judge ordered the two executioners, Alexander and Asterius, to bore through his knees with a drill, to thread a rope through the perforated bones, and to hang him from a tree. But God, through an invisible power, took away the sight of the executioners.

In place of Thalelaeus they bored through a board and hung it from a tree. When the judge-torturer found out, he thought that the executioners had done this intentionally, and he ordered them both flogged. Then Alexander and Asterius cried out in the midst of their flogging: “The Lord is alive to us, and from now on we will also be Christians. We believe in Christ and suffer for Him.” Upon hearing this, the judge-torturer ordered that both be beheaded.

Then the judge took the drill to bore the knees of Thalelaeus himself, but his hands became paralyzed and he begged Thalelaeus to save him. This the innocent martyr of Christ did, with the help of prayer. Afterward, Thalelaeus was thrown into water but then appeared alive before his tormentor (for Thalelaeus had prayed to God inwardly to prolong his sufferings, so that he would not die immediately). When he was thrown to wild beasts, they licked his feet and were amicable toward him. Finally, Thalelaeus was beheaded and took up his habitation in life eternal in the year 284 A.D.

Apolytikion of Martyr Thalleleus

Fourth Tone

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

Kontakion of Martyr Thalleleus

Third Tone

With the Martyrs of the Lord thou didst contest and wast shown forth as a valiant soldier of the King of Glory, Who crowned thee for the harsh and bitter tortures that thou didst suffer, trampling down the pride of them that worshipped the idols. O Thalleleus, we therefore praise thine august and blessed remembrance today.

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