June 3, 2010

Saint Loukilianos and His Appearance to Elder Paisios in 1979

Sts. Loukilianos, Paula, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius the Martyrs (Feast Day - June 3)

In 1979, Elder Paisios moved from the Hermitage of the Honorable Cross to the Panagouda Cell of Koutloumousiou. It was June 3rd, and the Elder, because of the move, had not yet unpacked his liturgical books and did not know exactly the date or the celebrating saint. He performed the services with the prayer rope, and when he began to pray to the Saint of the day, his mind was busy trying to remember who the Saint was. Then in the chapel, two Saints appeared, one in front and another behind. The one behind was St. Panteleimon, whom the Elder recognized and would say that he resembled a lot the icon venerated at the Skete of Saint Panteleimon. The first was unknown however. Because of his bewilderment, the Saint himself responded: “Elder, I am Loukilianos”. The Elder was not paying attention well and asked: “What was that? Loukianos?” “No, Elder. I am Loukilianos.” And immediately the two Saints disappeared. The Elder was moved and found the June Menaion to confirm if St. Loukilianos was celebrating. Indeed it was the day of his commemoration.

Life of Saint Loukilianos

Saint Loukilianos (Lucillian) was a pagan priest during the reign of the Roman Emperor Aurelian (270-275). In his old age he became persuaded of the falseness of the pagan religion, and with all his heart he turned to the faith in Christ the Savior, and was baptized.

Under the influence of his preaching many pagans were converted to Christianity. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ, reported Loukilianos to the Nicomedia prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint's jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. St Loukilianos urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Loukilianos was nailed to a cross with many nails.

The holy virgin Paula witnessed the contest of the holy martyrs. She had dedicated herself to the service of those suffering for Christ. She provided food to Christian prisoners, washed their wounds, brought medications, and also buried the bodies of martyrs. After the death of St Loukilianos and the four young men, she returned to Nicomedia and continued with her holy service. The holy virgin was arrested and cast into a furnace, but by the power of God she remained unharmed. Then they sent her off to Byzantium, where the holy martyr was beheaded.

Later a church was built in their honor in Constantinople.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Let all of us entreat Christ the Lord's holy Martyrs, for they make supplication for our souls' salvation; with faith and with longing, therefore, let us draw nigh unto them, for they overflow with the divine grace of healings, and they drive away the ranks of demons in terror, as guardians of the Faith.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
By your faith, you shone like a radiant star in the dark night of error; you fought the good fight and slew the crafty enemy, O Loukilianos. Together with venerable Paula and the four martyred children entreat Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
You attained the dignity of the martyrs of Christ through the torments that you courageously endured, O Loukilianos. Together with Paula and the four martyred children, you sing to the Creator: "Like sheep we are slaughtered for love of You, O Savior."