October 31, 2016

Holy Martyr Epimachus of Egypt

St. Epimachus the Egyptian (Feast Day - October 31 & March 11)

Verses for October 31

Without cowardice Epimachus looked towards the sword,
For he was invincible having God as a fellow fighter.

Verses for March 11

Blissfully your all-blissful body Epimachus,
Is carried off to the blissful city.

Saint Epimachus was from Egypt, and from his youth lived on Mount Pelusium, just as John the Forerunner lived in the desert and Elijah on Mount Carmel. There with many and incomparable hardships he mortified himself. When the wicked judge and governor Apellianus arrived in Alexandria during the reign of Decius (249-251), he maniacally persecuted the Christians, causing many of them to fear his torments and punishments, thus they departed the cities and fled to the deserts.

Due to this the blessed Epimachus, moved by divine zeal, descended from his quietude and entered the middle of the city of Alexandria, where he threw down an altar of idols to the ground, with bravery of body and soul, and the invisible power of God. Then Epimachus was armed with righteous indignation against the tyrant Apellianus, so that if the tyrant was not protected from his wrath by the bodyguards, who restrained him, the tyrant would have been a corpse worthy of tears.

For this Epimachus was brought to the public theater, where he was hanged on a wooden pole and his flesh was mercilessly torn by iron claws. A girl was there who was blind in one eye, who felt pity for the Saint and caused her to weep for the torments Christ's athlete suffered. Suddenly, when a piece of flesh was cut off of Epimachus and was flung into the air, a drop of his blood fell onto the eye of the bystanding girl, causing her to miraculously receive her sight. Then she cried out: "Great is the God in whom this sufferer believes!" Then his body was ravaged with sharp stones. When the pagans tortured him, he cried out: "Smite me, spit on me, put a crown of thorns on my head, put a reed in my hand, give me gall to drink, crucify me on a cross, and pierce me with a spear! This is what my Lord endured, and I too want to endure it." After this he was thrown into prison, where he encouraged the imprisoned Christians to stand firm and brave before the trials of martyrdom, causing them to be strengthened and invincible.

Having therefore remained firm in piety, the head of Christ's athlete was cut off by the sword. His body was honorably and reverently buried by Christians where he received his martyric end. Many years later, during the reign of Constantine the Great on the tenth of March, his honorable relic was brought to Constantinople, and there it was treasured in the palace. The translation of his sacred relic is commemorated on March 11th.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Epimachus, thou didst wrestle as Christ's warrior, and put the enemy to flight. Thou didst suffer many torments, and we honour thee as a companion of God the Word. Therefore we cry to thee: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
O Epimachus, of thine own accord thou didst take up the martyr's struggle. Thou didst cry to the lawless: I have come to fight for truth and to revile the graven images. Thou hast received a crown of righteousness.