On the first of this month [February], we commemorate the Holy Martyr Tryphon.
For what reason, O Tryphon? I have come to die by the sword.
When will your end be? The first of the month.
On the first of February Tryphon died before being decapitated.
Saint Tryphon was from Lampsakos in Phrygia, and lived during the reigns of emperors Gordian (238-244), Philip (244–249) and Decius (249-251). He was most poor in his young age, and was a keeper of geese to earn a living. Although he occupied himself with his humble occupation, at the same time he studied Holy Scripture, and with much zeal performed his religious duties.
Holy Scripture says: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (Jam. 4:6). Indeed, the humble Tryphon with his pious curiosity slowly became capable not only of knowing much himself, but he also taught. He also received divine grace to heal the sick and the demon possessed. The daughter of Emperor Gordian had long been possessed by a furious demon, which defied being expelled by the pagan magicians. One day it shouted: "Only Tryphon has the power to drive me out!" Gordian sought throughout the Empire for this Tryphon, and he was eventually found to be a seventeen year old boy peacefully tending his flock of geese. He was brought to Rome and healed the daughter of the Emperor. Grateful, the Emperor wanted to reward him, but Tryphon would not accept either honors or rewards, and just returned home politely.
When Decius came to the throne, Tryphon was arrested and brought before Akylinus, the Prefect of the East, in Nicaea. There he confessed Christ and refused to sacrifice to the lifeless idols. For this reason he was beaten for three hours with wooden swords used in military drills. Then he was tied barefoot to the horse of Akylinus and forced to run after it outside the city, slipping on the rocky paths. Returning to Nicaea, nails were driven through his feet, since he still refused to deny Christ and worship idols, and he was dragged into the forum.There soldiers dislocated his limbs and scorched his naked body with torches, which he bore with joy while praying for his tormentors. Winning the favor of the crowd, suddenly a wreath of flowers adorned with precious stones came down from heaven and rested on his head. Akylinus became enraged that he was rendered powerless, therefore he ordered for his execution outside the city, but Tryphon delivered his soul to God before the executioner delivered the fatal stroke.
Though the Christians of Nicaea were eager to keep the honorable relics of the Martyr, the Saint let them know in a vision that his desire was to rest in his own city of Lampsakos. Having been brought there, he worked many miracles over the course of the centuries, causing his relics to be distributed throughout the Christian world for the benefit of all. He is especially invoked for the protection of gardens and cultivated land against locusts, reptiles and all kinds of small pests.
The following prayer is found in the Great Euchologion, and is to be read by the Priest at fields or gardens being afflicted:
Prayer of supplication to St. Tryphon, if the fields and gardens and vineyards are afflicted by reptiles and locusts and vermin.
First the taxis of the Euchologion is performed, then the Priest says the prayer written here. This Supplication is said by him to St. Tryphon, with reverence, faith and compunction.
Most-glorious Martyr of Christ, and soldier of the heavenly King, Tryphon most-blessed, namesake of the eternal sustenance, who bravely confessed Christ upon the earth, and for this ever receives unfading blessedness in the Heavens, and with boldness stands before the throne of the three-sunned Divinity. Your martyrical greatness we take refuge in after God, all of us sinners and your unworthy servants, and we entreat your sympathetic and Christ-imitating philanthropy, that, having compassion upon us who are in danger and trouble, you may drive far from our fields and gardens and vineyards, all reptiles, and locusts, and caterpillars, and various species of insects and beasts, the diseases of fruit and leaves and roots of trees, and all vegetables and seeds and legumes of ours. For to you was granted this special and unique grace, O great champion, by our Savior Jesus Christ. Not only while still living, through your God-pleasing life, but more so now after your death through martyrdom and through blood, having confessed Him and persevered for the faith.
Yes, we confess that through our sins, we have been delivered up to sorrows such as these, and we have fallen under God’s anger, but you O brave Champion, for whom your martyrical boldness alone is needed; we believe that easily you extinguish the ban against us by God, and transform our faint-heartedness into good-heartedness. Therefore, because of our sins, we have no boldness to stand before your champion-like glory, and immediately have you make intercession; therefore we place instead your blood, which you O all-famed one shed for Christ as our intercessor instead, and the martyrical struggles which you endured in your most-suffering body.
Look down, therefore, O most-compassionate Martyr, upon these, for you confessed Christ and received the unfading crown of martyrdom, and hearken to the prayer from your humble supplicants, and deliver from the present dangers of reptiles and locusts and beasts and various vermin, of those that ruin the fruits of our fields and vineyards and gardens. For we are in danger by them of starvation and death and being left utterly desolate, if it were not for your compassions speedily granted to all of us, that through your ready protection, driving away the coming danger, we may ceaselessly and necessarily magnify your name, our savior and benefactor and helper whom we ascribe after God, and through you we glorify the common Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is glorified on earth and in Heaven. To Whom belongs all glory, honor and worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, unto the ages. Amen.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
In the Holy Spirit thou didst pour forth abundant grace on the Church like an unfailing fountain; thou dost refresh our souls with the delight of thy gifts. O glorious Tryphon, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In the power of the Trinity thou didst destroy polytheism throughout the world, O Tryphon, for thou wast honoured by the Lord. Thou didst conquer tyrants through Christ the Saviour, and didst receive the crown of martyrdom and gifts to work healings, since thou art invincible.