Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Demons Fear the Relics of Saint Babylas

St. Babylas the Martyr of Antioch (Feast Day - September 4)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Saint Babylas was the twelfth Bishop of Antioch, being the successor of Zebinus (or Zebinas); he was beheaded during the reign of Decius, in the year 250, and at his own request was buried in the chains with which he was bound.

A saint's power after his death is often many times greater than in life. "That is why God left us the relics of the saints," says St. John Chrysostom in his unsurpassable homily on St. Babylas.

St. Babylas was buried in the city of Antioch. At that time, Emperor Gallus - the brother of Julian the Apostate - was reigning together with Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great. Inspired by piety, Gallus translated the relics of St. Babylas to the outskirts of Daphne and built a small church, placing the relics of the martyr in it. There was a famous temple of Apollo in Daphne, built on the spot where, according to a pagan legend, a virgin had turned into a laurel tree in order to be saved from the `"god" Apollo, who was pursuing her out of unrestrained fleshly passion for her. There stood the idol of Apollo, which allegedly could foretell anyone's future. But, as the relics of Babylas now rested in the vicinity of the temple, the demon from the idol fell silent and ceased making prophesies.

Later, when Emperor Julian the Apostate set out on his catastrophic war with the Persians, he visited the temple of Apollo and consulted the idol about the outcome of his impending war. The idol responded with trepidation that it could not render a clear response "because of the dead" buried in its proximity. Of course, that pertained to Babylas, the presence of whose body had silenced the demon. Julian ordered that the relics of Babylas be transported back to Antioch. However, as soon as the relics of the martyr were removed, fire fell from heaven and consumed the temple of Apollo, destroying it forever. Julian set out against the Persians and his blasphemous life came to a horrible end.

Such was the power of Christ's martyr after death: he silenced the demon, brought down fire from heaven, destroyed the idolatrous temple, and punished the apostate emperor with a dishonorable death.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Babylas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
In thy heart, O Babylas, thou sacred Martyr, thou didst set the mighty works of faith and keptest them secure; hence, thou didst not fear the tyrant's rage. Keep us as well, O good servant of Christ our God.

Become a Patreon supporter:

To read more about supporting the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center, either as a monthly supporter or an annual supporter, please visit the DONATE page.

Thank you!