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September 7, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Sozon the Martyr

On the seventh of this month [August], we commemorate the Holy Martyr Sozon.


Torments of body Sozon once endured,
Fixed on the only Savior of his soul.
On the seventh Sozon died, his radiant flesh fiercely beaten.

Sozon was a native of Lycaonia (which is a place in Cappadocia, in Karamania, inclining south towards Cilicia), and when he was young in age he became a shepherd of irrational sheep. But he was also a shepherd of rational sheep, because by his words and teachings, he brought many unbelievers into the rational flock of Christ. After seeing a divine vision he received courage in his soul, which moved him to present himself as a Christian in the year 288, so he therefore went to Pompeiopolis in Cilicia. Unable to behold the the delusion of idolatry in its citizens, he secretly entered the temple of the idols, and cut off the right hand of one of the golden idols inside. After selling it, he helped many of the poor. This caused many people to be unjustly accused and they were tortured without mercy for stealing the hand of the idol. For this reason the most-brave Sozon, first of all taking pity on their unjust suffering, and secondly wanting to speak openly about piety, presented himself before the servants of the temple, and confessed that he dared to do such a thing.

He was immediately brought to judgment, and stood before the governor of Cilicia, whose name was Maximian. After conversing with him, and wisely responding to all his questions, and lighting the fire of rage within the governor by his rebukes, for this reason first he was scraped with iron claws, and he was tortured in this way until his bones became visible. Then he was ordered to wear iron shoes with nails driven through them, which made him struggle to walk. This made the brave athlete rejoice, when he saw that the ground became red from the shedding of his blood while running. Last of all, the renowned one received such beatings, that all the joints of his body were crushed. Rejoicing in this he delivered his holy soul into the hands of God, and received from Him the unfading crown of martyrdom.

After his death the executioners lit a great fire, in order to burn what was left of the members of the Martyr. But then strangely a fierce storm came from the sky, and with the storm much rain and hail came down, causing the executioners to flee in different directions. This allowed those Christians who loved the martyrs to take the opportunity and gather his martyric relic, which at night was shining with a wondrous light. Then with honor, love and piety they buried him to the glory of God, and the honor of His Martyr.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Martyr Sozon, thou didst pledge thy life to God, endure the contest and become a sharer in Christ's Passion. Save from temptation those who cry to thee: Glory to Him Who strengthened thee; Glory to Him Who crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Together let us praise with loud voices, Sozon the Athlete of piety, vessel of grace and bestower of healings. He prays to God for us all.