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October 7, 2015

Saint Polychronios the Hieromartyr

St. Polychronios the Hieromartyr (Feast Day - October 7)


Polychronios was slaughtered much with a sword,
With the sword therefore, the crown was seized.

Polychronios was from the district of Gamphanitus, whose father Bardanis was a farmer by trade. As a youth his father had him study the sacred books, and he had such comprehension, right mindedness and self-control, that even as a child he was made worthy to receive grace from God. This was made evident when his fellow townsfolk labored with difficulty to get water from a source far from the city, and through his prayers a spring gushed forth water near the house of his father.

When he attained adulthood, he went with some companion workers to Constantinople to work in the vineyards. Although he worked hard all day, he only ate every two or three days. The owner of the vineyard, seeing this, admired him for his virtues. For this reason he gave him a large sum of money and said to him: "Man of God, go home and pray for me." And due to his great reverence for Polychronios, he kept his spade which he used in his field work, and this worked many miracles. Meanwhile, Polychronios used the money to build a church, where he settled and later served there as Reader, Deacon and then Priest.

When the First Ecumenical Synod met in Nicaea in 325, he also was present, and became a champion of piety by defending the Orthodox faith against the Arian heresy. After the death of Emperor Constantine, the Arian heresy spread to an unprecedented extent. The Saint held firmly to the Orthodox faith, and as much as he was able he helped to make his fellow Orthodox stay firm in their faith as well. Therefore the cacodox Arians, filled with envy against him, made up their minds to get rid of this bold confessor.

One day, as Saint Polychronios was serving the Divine Liturgy before the Holy Altar, the Arians rushed into the church, and slaughtered him with a sword, cutting him to pieces. In this way they mingled his martyric blood with the divine blood of the Lord, offering him, without wanting to, as a sacrifice to God.

Note: Saint Polychronios is very much celebrated in Cyprus, especially in the villages of Agios Nikolaos in Lefkoniko and Melanarka in Karpasia. However, it seems that Saint Neophytos the Recluse has confused Saint Polychronios who is celebrated on October 7th with Saint Polychronios, Bishop of Babylon, celebrated on February 17th, in making Saint Polychronios a Bishop of Cyprus who was martyred with ten companions. This is why they also celebrate him on both those days.