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January 13, 2011

Holy Martyrs Hermylos and Stratonikos of Belgrade

Sts. Hermylos and Stratonikos the Martyrs (Feast Day - January 13)


The net of the ship brought to shore,
Hermylos and Stratonikos together from the depths.
On the thirteenth Hermylos and his companion drowned in the Danube.

The Holy Martyrs Hermylos and Stratonikos lived at the beginning of the fourth century during a persecution against Christians by the emperor Licinius (311-324). Hermylos served as deacon in the city of Sigidon (Belgrade). Condemned by Licinius to imprisonment, he was long and cruelly tortured for Christ, but he remained unyielding.

Hermylos mocked the pagan gods, calling them deaf, dumb, and blind idols. In anger Licinius ordered more severe torments for him, saying that he could avoid them if he would offer sacrifice. The holy Martyr predicted that Licinius would suffer terrible wounds himself because he worshiped idols instead of the Creator. His words came true, for Licinius was killed in 324.

After three days Hermylos was brought before the tribunal again and asked whether he would avoid more torture by offering sacrifice. The Saint replied that he would offer worship and sacrifice only to the true God.

Hermylus prayed that the Lord would give him strength to endure his torments and triumph over the pagans. A voice was heard saying, "Hermylos, you will be delivered from your suffering in three days, and will receive a great reward." The torturers fell to the ground in fear, and took the Saint back to prison.

Stratonikos was one of the prison guards and a secret Christian and friend of Hermylos. Seeing the agonizing torments of his friend, having been beaten with rods covered in thorns and his chest and stomach ripped open, he was unable to keep from weeping, and at the encouragement of Hermylos he revealed that he was a Christian. They therefore also subjected him to punishment.

After the torture, they put both Martyrs into a net and threw them into the Danube. On the third day, the bodies of the Saints were found by Christians on the bank of the river and buried near Sigidon. Their venerable heads were in the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, where the Russian pilgrim Anthony saw them in the year 1200.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Another Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O holy Martyrs who have faithfully confessed the transcendent Trinity, renowned and invincible Hermylos and steadfast, godly Stratonikos, since you partake of the glory that surpasses understanding, pray that we may be granted great mercy.

Kontakion in the First Tone
When ye received your death in the streams of the river, ye drowned the ruthless foe in the depths of your contest, O far-famed Stratonikos and Hermylos, thou men of God; wherefore, in your struggles ye were worthily guided to the water of true incorruption and glory, by Christ God, Who set your course.