December 17, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Dounale the Confessor, Who Was Renamed Stephen

St. Dounale the Confessor (Feast Day - December 17)


Stephen was vested with crowns of virtues,
Shining here he goes to the crowns above.

He was a ruler of his own land, which was an island, called by some Nivertis, and by others Berroe. It is rained upon by the ocean, and located near the Gadeiras [Cadiz], which is a neck of land in Spain. He had much wealth, and was raised with pious faith and Christian doctrines, who lived more for God than for people. The renowned one counted all the things of this world as dung, and he left his authority to his sons. And going to Rome, he was dressed in the monastic schema, namely that of a crusader. He then withdrew from there, and went to famed Constantinople. There he conversed with the emperors Constantine and Romanos Porphyrogenitos in the year 919, by whom he was sent to Jerusalem (for this is what he sought from them). Arriving there, he received the great and angelic schema by the Patriarch of Jerusalem known as Christodoulos, and from Dounale he was renamed Stephen.

The blessed one was much assaulted and beaten by the Saracens, by whom his beard was shaven off. From Jerusalem he went to Miseri [Egypt]. There he was held prisoner with two other priests who followed him. He remained six months there, and suffered from hunger and thirst and the other hardships of prison, and was sent to the Amir of Egypt. By him he was tied with heavy bonds, and the renowned one was urged to renounce Christ. Because he remained steadfast and could not be conquered, but boldly confessed our Lord Jesus Christ, he was punished with harsher torments and wounds than the first. From the distress, the thrice-blessed one fell ill. While ill he departed this present temporary life, and went to that which is above and eternal, for he was first notified by God of his repose.