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October 14, 2017

Holy Hieromartyr Silvanus the Elder of Gaza

St. Silvanus the Martyr of Gaza (Feast Day - October 14)


To Silvanus.
Silvanus approached for his neck to be cut off by the sword,
Hence Silvanus was seen to cut off error.

To the Forty Martyrs of Egypt and Palestine.
Two times twenty Martyrs endured the sword,
Endured by Egypt and Palestine.

The History of the Martyrs in Palestine

By Eusebius of Caesarea

The Confession of Silvanus and of Those With Him

In the Eighth Year of the Persecution of our Days (A.D. 310).

This blessed Silvanus came from Gaza, and he was one of the veteran soldiers; and when his freedom from service proved to be contrary to his habits, he enlisted himself as a good soldier of Christ. For he was a perfectly meek man, and of a bright mind, and used his faith with simplicity and purity. He was a presbyter of the church in the city of Gaza, and conducted himself there with great propriety. And because the conflict for life was proclaimed against the soldiers of Christ, he, an old man, of a noble person, went down to the Stadium, and there, in his first confession before the people of Caesarea, he acquitted himself valiantly, being tried with scourgings. And when he had endured these bravely, he fought in a second conflict, in which the old man endured the combs on his sides like a young man. And at the third conflict he was sent to the copper mines; and during a life of much length he exhibited great probation.

He was also deemed worthy of the office of the episcopate, and also rendered himself illustrious in this office of his ministry. But on the fourth day of Iyar the great gate of heaven was fully opened to him, and this blessed man went up with a company of martyrs, not being left alone, for a great assembly of brave men followed him. And suddenly a mandate of wickedness was issued, and command was given that all those in the mines who were become enfeebled through old age or sickness, and those who were not able to work, should be put to death by the sword; and God's martyrs, being all together forty in number, were beheaded all in one day. And many of them were Egyptians, but their leader and guide was this same martyr and bishop of martyrs, Silvanus, a man truly blessed and beloved of God.