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January 31, 2017

Saints Cyrus and John the Wonderworkers and Unmercenaries

Sts. Cyrus and John the Unmercenaries along with Sts. Theoktiste and her daughters Athanasia, Theodota and Eudoxia (Feast Day - January 31)


To Cyrus and John
Cyrus and his fellow athlete John go towards the sword,
Working miracles together even after the sword.

To Theoktiste, Athanasia, Theodota, Eudoxia
Most excellent mother and three daughters,
With longing for the Father of all are killed by the sword.

On the thirty-first Cyrus and John were beheaded.

Saint Cyrus was a noted physician in the city of Alexandria, where he had been born and raised. He was a Christian and he treated the sick without charge, not only curing their bodily afflictions, but also healing their spiritual infirmities. He would say, "Whoever wishes to avoid being ill should refrain from sin, for sin is often the cause of bodily illness." Preaching the gospel, the holy physician converted many pagans to Christ. During the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), Cyrus was denounced as a Christian to the governor, so he withdrew into Arabia, where he became a monk. He continued to heal people by his prayers, having received from God the gift to heal every sickness with no more than the sign of the Cross.

In the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia at this time lived the soldier John, a pious Christian. When the persecution started, he abandoned his position and went to Jerusalem on pilgrimage and there he heard about Cyrus. He began to search for him, going first to Alexandria and then to Arabia. When John finally found Cyrus, he remained with him and became his faithful follower.

They learned of the arrest of the Christian woman Athanasia and her three young daughters: Theoktiste was fifteen, Theodota was thirteen, and Eudoxia was eleven. Cyrus and John hastened to the prison in Canopus near Alexandria to help them. They were concerned that faced with torture, the women might renounce Christ.

Cyrus and John gave them courage to endure what lay before them. Learning of this, the governor of the city, Syrianus, arrested Cyrus and John, and seeing their steadfast and fearless confession of faith in Christ, he brought Athanasia and her daughters to witness their torture. The tyrant did not refrain from any form of torture against the holy Martyrs. The women were not frightened by the sufferings of Saints Cyrus and John, but courageously continued to confess Christ. They were flogged and then beheaded, receiving by this crowns of martyrdom.

Christians buried their bodies in the Church of Saint Mark in Alexandria. Their tomb became a renowned shrine in Egypt, and a place of universal pilgrimage. It was found in the area of the modern day resort near Alexandria named Abu Kyr.

In the fifth century the relics of Saints Cyrus and John were discovered and translated from Canopus to Menuthis (Abu Kyr) by Saint Cyril of Alexandria (June 9) in order to displace the idolatrous cult of Isis there, which it did. Miracles and healings multiplied and the shrine became one of the greatest places of pilgrimage in Christendom. Later on their relics were transferred to Rome, and from there to Munchen or Munich (the transfer of their relics is celebrated on June 28).

In the seventh century, Saint Sophronios of Jerusalem (Mar. 11) was healed of an eye ailment by an apparition of the two Saints: Cyrus healed one of his eyes with the sign of the Cross and shortly afterwards John restored his sight completely by kissing the other eye. To show his gratitude, Saint Sophronios wrote a detailed account of their miracles and delivered an encomium on them.

Saints Cyrus and John are especially invoked by those who have difficulty in sleeping.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strengthen the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Having received the gift of working miracles by divine grace, O Saints, you unceasingly work wonders, cutting out all our diseases and passions by invisible surgery, O divinely-wise Cyrus and glorious John; for you are divine healers.

See also:

The Discovery of the Relics of the Holy Unmercenaries Cyrus and John