April 24, 2018

Holy Martyr Savvas the General and Goth (+ 272)

St. Savvas the Goth and General (Feast Day - April 24)


To Savvas.
Savvas drowned the fearsome demons of delusion,
O river-drowned Martyr you behold the Lord.

To the Seventy Soldiers.
The number of heads cut off by the sword,
Found of fallen men were ten times seven.

The Holy Martyr Savvas lived during the reign of Emperor Aurelian (270-275). He was a scion of Gothia, and held the rank of military general (stratelates) at Rome. From his youth, Savvas was a Christian and he fervently followed the commands of Christ and strove for virtue. He helped the needy, and visited Christians in prison. Because of his pure and virtuous life the Saint received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking, healing the sick and casting out demons in the name of Christ.

When the emperor learned that his general Savvas was a Christian, he demanded that he apostatize. The martyr threw down his military belt and declared that he would not forsake his faith. For this they suspended him, burned him with torches, and threw him into a cauldron with tar, but the martyr remained unharmed.

Upon witnessing these miraculous and observable events, seventy soldiers came to believe in Christ. They were beheaded by the sword for renouncing the pagan gods, and in this way they received the crown of the contest. Savvas was thrown in prison. At midnight, while he was praying, Christ appeared to the martyr and shone on him the light of His Glory. The Savior bade him not to fear, but to stand firm. Encouraged, the Martyr Savvas stood for trial again in the morning, and was sentenced to be drowned. He was therefore cast into the Tiber River in the year 272.

He is described as follows: Saint Savvas was in the bloom of age and at the height of his strength when he overcame the wiles of the heathen and vanquished the invisible horde of demons. His fair complexion shone forth on his countenance, with a hint of redness on his cheeks. The hairs of his head and beard were golden and shiny. The pupils of his eyes were austere. His glance revealed fearlessness and yet calm. His whole aspect was manly, courageous, and magnanimous.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Lord our God, Thy holy Martyr Savvas, has gained crowns of immortality through his contest. Armed with Thy strength he overcame his persecutorsm and crushed the demons' might. Through his prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
O Savvas invincible soldier, thou didst overcome the barbarians, and by thy glorious sufferings thou didst defeat the invisible foe. Pray to Christ our God for us who honour thee.