|St. Meirax the Martyr (Feast Day - December 11)|
By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite
Having denied Christ you see him in all his glory,
Let no one speak senseless nonsense against him.
This blessed Martyr of Christ Meirax was Egyptian in origin, born to Christian parents in the castle of Thennesos. Having been baptized, he was raised and educated in the blameless and pure faith of Christ. Later, due to the nimbleness of his mind and triviality of his thoughts, he was deceived by the devil, and he went to the Amir of that place and denied, alas!, the faith of Christ. And not only this, but he even cut off his belt and trampled on his Cross. Taking his knife in hand he raised a war cry with his pitiable voice, saying: "I am a Hagarene [Muslim], and from this day I am no longer a Christian!" For this he was honored and glorified for some years near the Amir and those with him, without taking any thought for his salvation. When his parents learned of this, they did not cease supplicating God for him to change his mind.
Wherefore God, seeing their resolution and perseverance in supplication, changed the heart of their son towards repentance. Hence this Meirax went to his parents, saying: "Behold, my masters and most sweet parents, I have come. I the miserable one became darkened in my mind, and did that which I did. I now ask to become a Christian again, and to be with you." His parents responded: "When you did this wicked thing, my child, we shed many tears. And we never ceased supplicating God, in order to enlighten you to recognize the truth, and return again to Christ your Savior. For this reason we thank Him for His goodness, that He did not overlook our humble entreaty. Except, my child, and you yourself know, we fear the Amir to have you here with us, lest we endanger ourselves for this. Because we are of the opinion that we caused your change, and if you likewise wish, lift yourself up from the great fall of denial and you will find God to be gracious. To do this, and if you wish that we also not be at fault, and if you wish to be a dwelling-place and friend of Christ, so that you are restored and become an intercessor for your entire family, do the following. Go to the Amir, and since with frankness you denied Christ, with the same frankness confess Him once again, so that he will not find us by this. And truly God, my child, will guide you on this path, as He wills."
Receiving this advice from his parents and their blessing, Meirax, taking in his hand a belt, went to the gathering of the Amir. Girding himself with the belt that he held in the presence of the Amir, he inscribed the honorable Cross on some wood, and after kissing it, he yelled out with all his strength: "Lord have mercy!" The Amir took hold of him and said: "What happened to you?" Meirax responded: "Just now I came to myself from the darkness of the devil that followed me. And falling down before my Christ, I once again became a Christian, as I once was. Wherefore I came to reveal this to you and all those gathered here, to confess Christ before all, and anathematize your religion." When the Amir heard this, he had him imprisoned, ordering that he remain there for three days, without food or drink. After this he had him taken out of prison to be brought to trial. And finding him to confess Christ, he had him beaten moderately, then again imprisoned him. After three more days he brought him back for judgment. Finding him steadfast and confessing Christ, he had him beaten with whips, and again imprisoned him. After three more days, he had him again stand before him. Seeing him firmly and without change confess Christ, he was beaten without mercy on the initial wounds of his body. After this he was sentenced to death.
Wherefore the servants took him and they entered a boat, as they were ordered. And going out to sea at about four stades (about half a mile), they allowed him to pray. Then they cut off his head and threw it into the depths of the sea. Of course, his honorable head emerged from the sea, and was recognized by certain Christians, who received it as a precious treasure. For this reason they went to the Amir, and gave him a hundred ducati, and they were allowed to have what they longed for unhindered. Then they had a silver case made, and placed his martyred head within, with the appropriate honor and reverence. And from then until now it always gives off a fragrance of myrrh, and performs many and various healings, to the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ, and to the news of those scandalized and doubtful regarding his heavenly glory, and those like him.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.