Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Saint Eupsychios the Martyr of Caesarea

St. Eupsychios of Caesarea (Feast Day - September 7)


Courageously Eupsychios approaches the sword,
Rejoicing for he offers his soul to the one who formed it.

Eupsychios was born and raised in Caesarea, whose father Dionysios was a senator during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138). After his father died he rejected idolatry, was baptized by Bishop Agrikolaos of Caesarea, and accepted faith in Christ. He then distributed all his belongings to the poor, and proclaimed Christ to the unbelievers. For this he was denounced to Governor Sapricius of Cappadocia, and while standing at trial he gave two gold coins to his accusers as a reward.

Eupsychios was then imprisoned, and an Angel visited him in prison to encourage him. In the morning he requested for the rest of his wealth and belongings to be brought to him, and he was temporarily released to give what remained to the poor. When this was done, he was again arrested and taken to prison.

As time passed Eupsychios was brought to the Temple of Serapis for a sacrificial meal attended by the entire senate. There Eupsychios refused to participate, and denounced the gods as deaf and blind idols. For this he was cruelly beaten and taken back to prison, all the while as he was singing psalms. After falling asleep he saw the Savior, who promised him a crown of glory. He then awoke and continued singing psalms until daybreak.

In the morning again he was brought to trial, but for his disrespectful answers he was ordered to be flogged. While being flogged his inner organs became visible, but when he was in prison an Angel came and healed his wounds. Baffled by this, the governor then ordered Eupsychios to die by beheading.

At the place of execution Eupsychios was given time to pray, in which he asked for his city to be preserved from idolatry, for his soul to find rest, and for his relics to be given miraculous powers against temptation, diabolic possession, human hostility, crop failure and hail storms. Then kneeling down, he received the fatal blow, and instead of blood flowing, there came forth milk and water. Devout men then took his body and buried it in the village, and it became a source of many miracles. In this way he received from the Lord the crown of the contest.*


* There are some who believe that this Saint Eupsychios is the same as the Saint Eupsychios commemorated on April 9th, who was martyred under Julian the Apostate, and due to confusion is given different dates. Basil the Great however refers in his epistles to a Synaxis held in honor of Saint Eupsychios on September 7th in Caesarea, and the dedication of a church in his honor. Though some believe he is referring to his contemporary now celebrated on April 9th, others believe he is referring to the original patron of Caesarea that was also named Eupsychios and continues to be celebrated on September 7th. See also The "Two Faces of St. Eupsychius" by L. G. Westerink, Harvard Ukrainian Studies Vol. 7, 1983, pp. 666-679.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
In the contest you toppled the temple of the idols, courageously brave Martyr, offspring of Cappadocia, and when your holy head was cut off, you cried out: who can separate me from the true love of Christ. O Champion Eupsychios, those who honor you with longing, receive our entreaties.

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