My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE MARTYRDOM OF SAINT PANTELEIMON THE HOLY MARTYR
AND HOLY UNMERCENARY HEALER. (Part II)
The Emperor pronounced the sentence: "If Panteleimon in three days does not comply with the imperial order, he is to be thrown to the wild beasts for their consumption." The entire city heard this pronouncement. They all converged to have a look at the handsome young man to become prey for beasts. When they gathered in the amphitheater, the Emperor took his place on a lofty throne so that he might view the spectacle better. Once again, Pantoleon observed Christ in the shape of Hermolaos. He emboldened Panteleimon, saying, "I am with thee, Cease fearing." The holy man stood in the midst of the arena. But he was not in the presence of irrational and ferocious beasts, but creatures that were like those who are possessed by reason and self-control. With much deference and gentleness as they wagged their tails, they licked the feet of the Saint. Indeed, it could be seen that a rivalry developed between the animals as each attempted to draw close to the martyr in order to fawn over him and reverence him. When the crowd beheld this scene, they marveled. They began to cry out together in one voice: "Great and true is the God of the Christians! Let the righteous man go free!" Instead, the Emperor ordered that the animals be slaughtered.
The Emperor then returned his attention to Pantoleon. He devised a wheel, large enough onto which the Saint’s limbs were stretched and tied. As the executioners prepared Pantoleon for the torture, from which he would be thrust down a dizzying height, the city waited at the foot of the incline. All observed that the wheel of torture was a fearsome-looking contraption, into which Pantoleon was bound hand and foot. The time arrived and the wheel with its martyric passenger was rolled down the hill. The wheel, guided by the Angels of God, then came to a halt at the bottom where the people were waiting. The saintly rider was miraculously loosed from his fetters and stood aright without a trace of injury, glorifying and blessing God. The wheel then moved of itself and rolled upon the unbelievers, crushing them to death.
The abominable Maximian, finally distinguishing that neither flatteries and gifts nor threats and punishments, nor any other machination worked in persuading or breaking the adamantine resolved of the unc=beatable confessor for Christ. The Emperor gave his final sentence. The prisoner was to have his head removed. His dismembered remains were to be consigned to the flames until they were consumed. the soldiers, therefore, escorted the brave-hearted man to the site of execution. Pantoleon could only fathom entering 128:2).joy and gladness upon exiting from his present world’s frenzied strife and life of affliction and weariness, for which opportunity for martyrdom he gave voice to by reciting this verse: "May times did they make war upon me from my youth, and indeed, they were not able to prevail over me" (Psalm 128:2). An extraordinary and wondrous sign then soon occurred, after the executioner bound Pantoleon to an olive tree. The heathen, headman drew his sword in order to sever the confessor’s head. But lo, the miracle! The blow was blunted when the cutting edge of the sword began to melt like wax. The other soldiers standing by were startled at this terrifying sight, so that they went to their knees and exclaimed, "we believe that Christ is the true God. We beseech thee not to be angry with us, O Pantoleon, but rather do thou forgive us and entreat Christ that He would accept our repentance."
The Saint obliged them and uttered a prayer on behalf of his enemies and tormentors, including petitions that they might enter into right-believing piety. Upon concluding his supplication, an audible response promptly proceeded out of the heavens: "Whatsoever thou seekest, it shall be and much more besides. Pantoleon then emboldened the soldiers, exhorting them not to cower but to fulfill the imperial order of his execution. They first demonstrated their love and reverence toward him, by ardently kissing his hands and feet. After this show of unfeigned respect and affection, they severed his honorable on the 27th day of the month of July, in the year 305 A.D. God, Whose will it was to glorify even the earthly of His servant Panteleimon, showed forth another miracle. When Panteleimon’s precious head was separated from his body, there flowed milk instead of blood. The olive tree which was previously dry and withered immediately blossomed forth with broad dark green leaves, white flowers, and edible olive fruit.
Now, after the martyric death of Saint Panteleimon, some Christians came and took up his holy relics. They were laid to rest after the reverent application of myrrh and incense. The grave was situated outside of the city in a place called Scholastikos Adamantinos. Saint Panteleimon, after his repose, worked a multitude of cures for diverse illnesses and demonic possession. Not many from among the numberless miracles, regrettably, were recorded. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
"Glory Be To God
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George