October 28, 2015

Holy Hieromartyr Kyriakos of Jerusalem and his Mother Anna

Sts. Kyriakos and Anna of Jerusalem


For Kyriakos
Mingling with oil, all-blessed Kyriakos,
Your revered blood, it became a new mixture.

For Anna
Your flesh shined as it burned Martyr Anna,
Becoming an ever-shining lamp of the Lord.

Sozomen (c. 450 AD), in his Ecclesiastical History, states that it was said (by whom he does not say) that the location of the Holy Sepulchre was "disclosed by a Hebrew who dwelt in the East, and who derived his information from some documents which had come to him by paternal inheritance" (although Sozomen himself disputes this account in favor of it being solely divinely revealed) and that a dead person was also revived by the touch of the Cross.

According to tradition, this Hebrew was probably named Judas (of course, it could have been two distinct people). Besides the Holy Sepulchre, Judas suggested to Empress Helen that three centuries of debris had accumulated over Golgotha and it needed to be removed, so he worked on the excavations at Golgotha, and it was he who uncovered the holy and life-giving Cross. As an eye-witness of the miracles which followed, he believed in Christ and was baptized with the name Kyriakos. Later he became a Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem.

During the reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), as he passed through Palestine for Antioch during the beginning of the Persian campaign, Bishop Kyriakos was seized and compelled to deny his faith in Christ. Finding him firm in his faith, Julian then ordered his right hand be cut off which, he said, "has written so many letters that have led so many people to deny the gods." After that, they poured molten lead into his mouth and laid him on a red hot bed of bronze.

His mother Anna rushed to the scene of his torments to give her son a last embrace. However, the soldiers seized her by her hair and burnt her alive by slowly passing flaming torches over her entire body. In this way she delivered her soul to God.

The martyrdom of Saint Kyriakos followed, who was impaled on a stake and thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil.

The Empress Galla Placidia (388-450) is said to have presented Ancona with the relics of Saint Kyriakos. However, the Saint's head was situated at Provins, which was brought over from Jerusalem by Henry I of Champagne, who built a church in this town to contain it. This still stands as the Saint Quiriace Collegiate Church, although construction work during the 12th century was never completed due to financial difficulties during the reign of Philippe le Bel. Monte Guasco, in Ancona, is the location of the Duomo (Cathedral), and is dedicated to Saint Judas Cyriacus. It was consecrated in 1128 and completed in 1189. The body purported to be Kyriakos' lies prostrate and visible in his tomb.