March 13, 2017

Holy Hieromartyr Publius, Bishop of Athens

St. Publius of Athens (Feast Day - March 13);
Icon depicts all the Saints of Athens.


Streams of blood painted your garment, blessed one,
And now you are seen to be full of the brilliance of the Lord.

According to Saint Dionysios of Corinth (+ 171) in his epistle to the Athenians, and later confirmed by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History and Saint Jerome in his work On Illustrious Men, Narcissus succeeded Dionysius the Areopagite as Bishop of Athens, and in around 120 A.D. Publius succeeded Narcissus as Bishop of Athens. And according to Jerome, "After Publius, Bishop of Athens, had been crowned with martyrdom on account of his faith in Christ, Quadratus, disciple of the apostles, was substituted in his place." Thus in the year 125, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, Saint Publius suffered martyrdom on behalf of his faith in Christ. Dionysius of Corinth writes that the Athenians had almost apostatized from the faith after the martyrdom of Publius, indicating that when the shepherd was struck, the sheep scattered, but with Quadratus as Bishop the Athenians were brought together again and their faith revived.

It should be noted that in the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Publius is identified with the Publius converted by the Apostle Paul in Malta in Acts 28:7-10 while on his way to Rome. They say he became the first Bishop of Malta and later became Bishop of Athens after Dionysius the Areopagite, where he was martyred under Emperor Trajan. However, there are no ancient sources to verify this association between the Maltese Publius and the Bishop of Athens in the second century.