September 29, 2010

Holy New Martyr Malachias of Lindos (+ 16th cent.)

Venerable Martyr Malachias of Lindos (Feast Day - September 29)

Malachias (Malachi) was born in the early 16th century in the village of Lindos on the beautiful island of Rhodes to a pious Orthodox Christian family. His father George was a priest and his mother's name was Christina. One day the 22 year old Malachias traveled to the various Christian shrines on pilgrimage in Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt and finally came to Jerusalem. At Jerusalem he joined the brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre to be near the Tomb of the Lord and the Church of the Resurrection.

The devil, seeing no way of bringing this young soldier for Christ to ruin, inspired one day a Hagarene (Muslim) to slander Malachias in the marketplace. Walking by Malachias the Hagarene struck him and there he accused him of insulting the prophet Muhammad.

The Muslim authorities before whom Malachias was brought pressured him to convert to Islam and save his life, but Malachias refused. He said: "I will not venerate a man who is corrupt, totally unclean, and dead, nor will I deny Christ my God. May the sun nor the moon ever see such a thing. I will never worship the devil, nor submit to the words of a tyrant and apostate of God. I am a servant of Christ." Showing great courage and faithfulness to the Orthodox Christian faith, this enraged the Muslims even more.

They proceeded to beat him savagely and to pierce his ankles through. They went on to pass thin ropes through his pierced ankles which were then attached to horses. Attached to these horses with a rope through his ankles the torturers proceeded to whip them to make them run as fast as possible. Enduring this brutality, Malachias continued to refuse to deny Christ with courage.

After this and many other tortures, including neither giving him food or water in prison, Malachias was lead outside the city to the execution site where he was impaled with a metal-tipped stake pounded through his body. Malachias was subsequently lifted up and placed over a fire and was thus roasted alive, uttering his final words: "Lord, into Your hands I commend my spirit".

Malachias, the son of a priest, gave his life for the love of Jesus Christ in the city of Jerusalem on September 29th sometime between the years 1537 and 1580.

After the horrible martyrdom of Saint Malachias, the local Christians and Patriarch Germanos offered a large sum of money to the Muslim authorities to take the body of the Saint for burial. They took him to a cemetery for foreigners and buried him there. Patriarch Germanos proclaimed that his memory would henceforth be remembered on September 29th and be celebrated in the Church of Saint James the Brother of our Lord annually.