October 16, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion

St. Longinus the Centurion (Feast Day - October 16)


Prior to his beheading Longinus once again,
Called on you O Christ as the Son of God.
On the sixteenth Longinus was slaughtered with the sword.

This Saint lived during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (14-37), and was from the area of Cappadocia. He was a centurion according to office, under Pilate the governor of Judea. By him he was ordered to serve at the honorable and salvific Passion of Christ, together with the soldiers subject to him, and to guard the sealed tomb. When he beheld the miracles that took place at the Crucifixion of the Lord, namely the earthquake, the darkening of the sun, the tearing from top to bottom of the veil of the Temple, the ripping apart of the rocks, the opening of the tombs when many of the reposed Saints rose and appeared to many, and having as I said seen these things, he cried out with a loud voice and said, "Truly He was the Son of God." This is commonly testified by the three divine Evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke. Because of this, when the Jews offered him silver coins to speak falsehood concerning the Resurrection of the Lord, and to say that He was stolen by His disciples, the renowned one did not accept the silver coins. Instead he along with two of his soldiers who he later was martyred with returned these coins.

The blessed Longinus therefore left his military rank and office as a centurion, and went to his homeland, where he preached Christ like the apostles, that He was the true God. When Pilate learned of this from the Jews, who probably also corrupted his mind with gifts and silver coins, he wrote to Tiberius Caesar denouncing Longinus for leaving his military duties, and how he was preaching Christ as God in his homeland. Therefore soldiers were dispatched to kill the Saint. When they arrived in his homeland of Cappadocia, they happened to meet Longinus himself, but they did not recognize him, nor them he. And having been given friendly hospitality from the Saint, they revealed to him their purpose for being there. The Saint, without being troubled at all, received this news with such joy, that he took care of them even more in his hospitality. After this he prepared his grave and all that was necessary for his death, and called for his two soldiers who had fled with him, that they may participate together in their martyrdom for Christ.

He then revealed to those who were sent, that he was the Longinus they sought. When those sent heard this, they were very much grieved. Implored however by the Saint, they beheaded him and his two soldiers. The most-honorable head of the Saint immediately was brought to Jerusalem, for Pilate and the Jews to be notified that the Longinus hated by them was truly beheaded. Having thus been notified, Pilate received from the Jews the agreed upon silver coins. Then the honorable head of the Martyr was taken out of the city of Jerusalem and placed in a dunghill.

After many years, a wealthy and notable woman from Cappadocia lost her eyesight and was left blind after a sickness. For this reason she went to Jerusalem with her only-begotten son, in order to find healing for her eyes. While she was there, her son died. Thus one grief was added on to another grief. Therefore the unfortunate one lamented twice as much. While she was in such a state, the blessed Longinus appeared to her in a dream, and told her who he was, and where his head was placed. He also told her that if she digs for it, she would receive the healing of her eyes, and would be able to see her son in glory. The woman thus woke up, and finding the dunghill and digging, she found the head of the Holy Martyr. And through the divine grace that abided within it, she received the ability to see through her eyes. Then she was made worthy to behold her son, who was together with the Saint, receiving his glory and honor in the heavens. Therefore she placed the relic of her son and the head of the Martyr in a chest, as the Saint told her to do. Taking it, she went to Cappadocia, where the same thing happened to her that happened to Saul. Just as he sought for the donkey of his father, he found a kingdom of hope, so also she sought to receive her eyesight, and having received it, she also found a Saint as a fervent protector. Wherefore she built a church in the name of Saint Longinus, and there she treasured the sacred head of the Martyr. And through it, it became a fountain of healing, both for herself, and for all the Christian people of her homeland, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Longinus, thou didst behold the King of Glory nailed to the Cross, yet shining on those in darkness. Thou wast enlightened by His rays, and didst become a martyr and dost save those who cry: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Today the Church rejoices, in memory of the glorious athlete Longinus, crying: Thou art my strength and my stronghold, O Christ.