May 1, 2017

Holy Martyr Philosophos of Alexandria

St. Philosophos the Martyr (Feast Day - May 1)


A philosopher in calling and actions blessed one,
You were truly seen to be O friend of wisdom.

"For what, tell me, is the duty of a philosopher? Is it not to despise both riches and glory? Is it not to be above both envy and every other passion? Come now then, let us bring him forward and strip him, and show you what a philosopher he was... Such is the true philosopher, such is that wealth of which we spoke. He has nothing, and has all things; he has all things, and has nothing." 
- St. John Chrysostom, (Homily 21 on Ephesians)

By St. Jerome

(Life of Paul the First Hermit 3)

During the persecutions of Decius and Valerian, when Cornelius at Rome and Cyprian at Carthage shed their blood in blessed martyrdom, many churches in Egypt and the Thebaid were laid waste by the fury of the storm. A martyr, steadfast in faith, who was in the bloom of youth was taken by his command to some delightful pleasure gardens, and there amid white lilies and blushing roses, close by a gently murmuring stream, while overhead the soft whisper of the wind played among the leaves of the trees, was laid upon a deep luxurious feather-bed, bound with fetters of sweet garlands to prevent his escape. When all had withdrawn from him a harlot of great beauty drew near and began with voluptuous embrace to throw her arms around his neck, and - wicked even to relate! - to handle his person, so that when once the lusts of the flesh were roused, she might accomplish her licentious purpose. What to do, and where to turn, the soldier of Christ knew not. Unconquered by tortures he was being overcome by pleasure. At last with an inspiration from heaven he bit off the end of his tongue and spat it in her face as she kissed him. Thus the sensations of lust were subdued by the intense pain which followed.*


* The Holy Martyr Philosophos completed his martyrdom when he was beheaded by a sword. Other sources say his name was Niketas. Both imply that he was a philosopher and a victor.