August 16, 2015

Saint Diomedes the Physician and Martyr of Tarsus

The Holy Martyr Diomedes was born in Tarsus of Cilicia. He was a physician, and a Christian, and he treated not only ills of the body but also of the soul. He enlightened many pagans to believe in Christ, and baptized them. The Church venerates him as an unmercenary healer and mentions him during the Mystery of Holy Unction.

Diomedes traveled much, converting people to the true Faith. When he arrived in the city of Nicaea, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) sent soldiers to arrest him. Along the way from Nicaea to Nicomedia, he got down from the cart so as to pray, and he gave his soul to God.

As proof of carrying out their orders, the soldiers cut off his head, but they became blinded. Diocletian gave orders to take the head back to the body. When the soldiers fulfilled the order, their sight was restored and they believed in Christ.

The Diomede Islands derive their name from this saint. Vitus Bering sighted the Diomede Islands on 16 August 1728, the day when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of Saint Diomedes.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Diomedes, as a healer of bodily sickness, by the word of truth thou didst grant healing to souls. Thou hast received this gift from God and dost ever help those suffering from various diseases. Thou art radiant with the grace of martyrdom; wherefore thou savest those who cry to thee: Glory to Him Who has glorified thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Second Tone
Thou wast skilled in the science of healing and didst wisely choose the lot of holy athletes; thou didst openly preach Christ our God, O blessed Diomedes, thou adornment of unmercenary saints, the protector of those crying to thee: Become the physician of us thy servants, O wise one.