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May 11, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Hieromartyr Mokios

St. Mokios the Martyr (Feast Day - May 11)


Bellowing to you their superstitious delusion,
The impious beheaded you Mokios with a sword.
On the eleventh the head of gentle-minded Mokios was cut off.

This Saint lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), and his noble and wealthy parents who were from Old Rome were named Euphratios and Eustathia. He was ordained Priest of the Church of Amphipolis, which was between Orphani and Pravi, and beforehand had been called Ennea-Hodoi (Novem-Vie), Myrica and other names. Later it was called Christopolis and had a Metropolitan throne, but today it is empty. Being a Priest, it followed that he took care to always teach, preaching Christ and exhorting the people to forsake the delusion of idolatry.

When the proconsul of Laodicea was offering a sacrifice to the false gods Dioskouroi, and other idol worshipers were gathered there as well, Saint Mokios went and overturned the altar. Therefore he was arrested, and confessed Christ to be the true God. First they hung him up, and they tore at his head, face and sides, then they lit a furnace with pitch, tar and twigs, and the flame went so high it measured seven forearms. Inside there they placed the Saint. The flames received the Martyr, but he was preserved whole and unharmed. Those standing outside the furnace saw how the Saint was walking in the furnace, with three other glorious men, and the face of one of the three shined more than the brilliance of the furnace, nor did the flame of the furnace touch the hair of the Saint's head. The flame then spilled out of the furnace, and it burned the proconsul and the nine men who were with him. They were so thoroughly burned, that nothing in the slightest could be detected of their bodies.

Having emerged unharmed from the furnace, the Saint was imprisoned by the prince Thalassius. Arriving there, another proconsul took the Martyr and examined him. Because the Saint was not persuaded to deny Christ, but brilliantly proclaimed Him, they bound him to two wheels, by which the athlete of Christ was crushed and cut. In a paradoxical way he was freed from the wheels, and thrown to the wild beasts to be devoured, however he was kept unharmed from these as well by the grace of God. The people therefore yelled out to release the Saint and cease from tormenting him.

For this reason the proconsul sent him to the governor Philippisius in Perinthos of Thrace, which today is called Heraclea, and from there he was sent to Byzantium, where the blessed one received his death sentence. The brave athlete was therefore beheaded, and received from God dual crowns, one for being a Priest and the other for being a Martyr of the Lord. His holy relic was then buried a mile outside the city. Later, when Constantine the Great ruled, he built a Temple to the name of the Saint, which was glorious and notable in its magnificence and beauty, and there his holy relic was placed, and his Synaxis and Feast celebrated.*


* The Church of Saint Mokios was originally built by Constantine the Great (324-37), when a large number of pagans lived in that area. And there was a temple of Zeus there, on the site of which he built the church. It collapsed in the reign of Constantius (337-61), in his third consulship (342). In the days of Theodosius the Great (379-95) the Arians were expelled from the holy churches, and coming to the Church of Saint Mokios they desired it and asked the emperor for permission to dwell there, which indeed came to pass. So the Arians immediately rebuilt this same church and the church was used by them for divine services for seven years. It collapsed, so we are told, in the seventh year as they were celebrating the liturgy; and in it many Arians were killed. But in the days of the Emperor Justinian (527-65) the same church was rebuilt. Markellos the Lector falsely states that the church collapsed in the second year of Conon the Isaurian (i.e. Leo III, 717-41, hence the year 718). Until the reign of Leo VI the Wise, it was in this church also that the feast of Mid-Pentecost was celebrated, but was transferred to Hagia Sophia after an assassination attempt against the emperor on the way to this church. The Cistern of Saint Mokios was one of the seven open-air cisterns of Constantinople. It was named due to its proximity to the Church of Saint Mokios. The cistern exists to this day as a park.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Serving Christ as a priest of glory, you offered yourself as a rational sacrifice, and a whole-burnt offering on the coal of your struggles, therefore, O Mokios, you were crowned with dual crowns for your struggles by Him Who glorified you: Christ, Who loves mankind.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Arming yourself with the barred-gate of the faith, you conquered the ranks of the impious, and received the crown of glory from the Lord, O blessed Mokios, therefore, as you rejoice with the angels, deliver those who hymn you from dangers, entreating ceaselessly on behalf of us all.

Mocking the delusion of the enemy, as the godly priest of piety, you were strengthened in struggles amidst weakness, O Martyr, and you protect from the darkness, O Mokios the glorious.