September 22, 2015

Saint Phocas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Sinope

St. Phocas the Wonderworker (Feast Day - September 22)


The soap in the bath was divided in two for Phocas,
So the bath became both a contest and a cleansing.
On the twenty-second Phocas was killed in a bath.

Saint Phocas was born in the city of Sinope on the coast of the Black Sea. His father was a shipbuilder called Pamphilius and his mother's name was Maria. From a young age he was made worthy to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, and was able to work paradoxical miracles. He later became Bishop of Sinope, and brought many unbelievers to the light of divine knowledge, both by his inspired words and supernatural wonders. Till his last breath he taught the people and worked miracles.

The martyric end he was destined for was revealed to him by means of a strange sign. A dove came to him and sat on his head, placing a crown on it, and speaking in a human voice it said: "A cup is prepared for you that you must now drink." And the truth of this cup of martyrdom he was made worthy to drink from took place during the reign of Trajan, in the year 101.

Bishop Phocas was brought before the Governor Africanus and was questioned by him, and he in turn theologized and boldly taught him the faith in Christ the true God. Because Africanus dared to blaspheme Christ and torture the Saint, for this reason a great earthquake took place, violently striking the governor and his soldiers dead. But the Saint raised him from the dead, due to the pleadings of his wife.

After this the Saint was brought before Emperor Trajan. Because Phocas preached Christ, the Emperor had him flayed. Continuing to courageously confess Christ, he was then placed in asbestos. Lastly, he was placed in an overheated bath. There the courageous athlete handed his soul into the hands of God.

After his death Saint Phocas continued to work many miracles for those who called upon him with faith. His sacred relics were translated to Constantinople, Saint John Chrysostom preached a homily in his honor, and this event is celebrated by the Church on July 23rd. Later a monastery dedicated to Saint Phocas was established in Constantinople. The sacred skull of the Martyr is located in Xenophontos Monastery at Mount Athos, and other portions of his relics can be found in Stavronikita Monastery at Mount Athos and Panagia Soumela Monastery in Vermio.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Radiant vessel of the Spirit from thy youth, thou wast enriched with the gift of miracles; thou didst serve thy Savior in the priestly office and drink of His cup in thy contest. Holy Hieromartyr Phocas, entreat Him to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
The Master has set thee as a brilliant sun shining on all the faithful. He has accepted thy life, faith and contest as myrrh, O glorious Martyr Phocas, for He is rich in mercy.

The mystagogue of the gospel, the sacred miracle worker, the God-glorified self-worker, the pillar of the Church, Hieromartyr Phocas, you have showed yourself to save those who come to you.