September 4, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Hermione, Daughter of the Apostle Philip

St. Hermione (Feast Day - September 4)


To Hermione.
Hermes makes way in the heavens,
For Hermione found salvation.

To Theotimos and Theodoulos.
Theotimos died with Theodoulos,
Given honor by the Lord as servants.

To Petronios.
For Petronios Christ was a rock,
Remaining above the power of temptations.

The most holy Apostle Philip, one of the seven Deacons, who baptized one of the eunuchs of Candice, had four daughters, who Luke the Evangelist in his Acts testifies were virgins and prophetesses (Acts 21:8). Of these Hermione and Eutychis went to Asia Minor in search of John the Theologian. Not finding him, since God transposed him like Enoch and Elijah, instead they found Petronios the disciple of the Apostle Paul. Having been taught by him, they also sought to imitate his virtues and intelligence. Hermione was taught the art of medicine. Because of this large crowds of people hastened to her, and all were healed by her entreaty and the name of Christ.

When Emperor Trajan went to war against the Persians, Saint Hermione was accused to him of being a Christian. She therefore stood before the emperor, and he tried to beguile her through flattery, in order to separate her from her faith in Christ. Unable to persuade her, he ordered for her to be struck in the face for a considerable amount of time. But the Martyr beheld our Lord Jesus Christ, sitting in judgment in the form of Petronios, speaking with her and strengthening her, therefore allowing her to consider the strikes to her face as nothing. When the emperor saw her firm and unchanging mind, he was shamed and let her go free.

From that time therefore Saint Hermione opened in Asia Minor a sacred guesthouse. There she received all the strangers, whom she consoled mentally and physically. There all could see the Lord glorified on a daily basis by each person, until the time Trajan died. When Hadrian, who was related by marriage to Trajan, became emperor in the year 117, and learned of Saint Hermione, he immediately sent for her and brought her before him, saying: "Tell me, O old woman, how old are you? And from what race do you come from?" The Saint responded: "My Christ knows how old I am, and from which race I come from." The emperor said: "Remove her outer garment, and flog her without mercy, saying, 'When the emperor asks, you answer with respect.'" As long as the Saint was being flogged, a psalm was not absent from her mouth.

When the torturers grew tired from flogging, the emperor ordered for nails to be put under the feet of the Martyr. Receiving this torture, the Saint thanked God even more, and for this reason the emperor became enraged even more. He therefore ordered that a cauldron be filled with pitch, sulfur, asphalt and lead, and for the Saint to be placed within. Looking up to heaven, she asked for strength from God, and sealed herself with the sign of the cross, and in this manner she entered the lit cauldron. And - O the wonder! - immediately the fire was extinguished, and the lead along with everything else spilled out. Thus the Martyr remained unharmed.

When the emperor beheld this wonder, he grew more angry. He thus ordered a second cauldron to be heated so much, that even the bones of the Martyr would melt away. When the torturers did this, they saw the Martyr standing in the cauldron as if she was standing in a cool mist. Then she said to the tyrant: "Emperor, the Lord God lives! Just as you are seated at a distance and do not feel the heat of this cauldron, so also I do not feel it." The emperor was astonished by this, got up from his throne, and went near. And having touched the cauldron with his hand, immediately the skin and nails of his hand came off.

Then the Saint cried out from the cauldron: "Great is the God of the Christians." When the emperor heard this, he became greatly angered, and ordered a large furnace to be heated up, so much that it sparked out flames, and for the Saint to be put within naked. When the Saint entered the lit furnace, an Angel of the Lord guarded her, and scattered the flames to one side of the furnace. Those who watched this were burned, while the Saint continued to stay in the furnace as if it was a bright green field, and there she sang hymns and glorified the Lord with thanksgiving.

When Hadrian saw this strange miracle, he became terrified. Then he ordered for the Martyr to be removed from the furnace, afraid that perhaps he also would be burned by the fire. When the Saint came out, she said to Hadrian: "Emperor, know that the Lord made me sleep in the furnace, and I saw in my sleep, that the great god Hercules was being worshiped." When the emperor heard this, he rejoiced. He then ordered her to enter the Greek temple. When the Saint entered and prayed to the true and philanthropic God, suddenly thunder was heard from heaven, and with the thunder all the idols fell that were in the temple, and thus shattered they became like dust.

The Saint left the temple and said to the emperor: "Enter, O emperor, inside the temple, and help your gods; for they have fallen, and cannot get up." When the emperor entered, and saw the idols shattered, he ordered for the Saint to be beheaded outside the city. The executioners Theodoulos and Theotimos therefore took her outside the city. And because they went to behead her before she could say her prayers, their hands withered. Wherefore they fell down before the Saint, believed with all their souls in our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus were healed. They then begged the Saint to pray on their behalf, so that they may deliver their souls to the Lord before her, and thus they reposed and died a blessed death. Then the Saint reposed in the same place. Some pious Christians took their sacred relics, and buried them in the city of Ephesus, in a revered and honorable place, to the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
You were an untouched virgin, remaining revered, and were wedded to Him Who was born of a Pure Virgin, and spoke in the flesh, therefore you were granted divinely-granted grace, to contend for piety, to enlighten those in error; therefore, Hermione, Christ glorified you.

Kontakion in the First Tone
As a fruitful vine and unfading flower, of the renowned Philip, among the august Deacons, you showed forth divine grace, O all-wondrous Hermione, and contested as a virgin, offering to Christ our God Who glorified you, your pleasing struggles.

Let all of us praise in odes Hermione, and cry out in joy: rejoice the boast of virgins and martyrs, the protection and surrounding wall of the faithful.