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May 7, 2018

Holy Martyr Akakios the Centurion of Cappadocia

St. Akakios the Martyr (Feast Day - May 7)


While among the chorus of Martyrs,
Fair Akakios was beheaded by the sword.

Saint Akakios was from Cappadocia, and was centurion of the Marzia legion in the imperial army during the reign of Emperor Maximian (286-305). He was arrested for his faith on charges for not sacrificing to the gods by Firmus the governor of Cappadocia. Having been tortured by him, he was then sent to Bibinanus the governor of Perinthus in Thrace with other Christians that were arrested. There he suffered by being flogged and tortured, and cast into prison. While in prison, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him and restored his health.

After this he was sent to Falcianus the governor of Byzantium. During the journey, his executioners broke his jaw and he was daily flogged. He did not deny his faith, and was sentenced to be beheaded in the Staurion district of Constantinople, where a small church was later built in his honor by Constantine the Great. When the small church of Constantinople fell into ruins, it was rebuilt by Emperor Justinian.

His relics were translated ca. 630 to a spring at Squillace, close by the Vivarium, the monastery founded in the previous century by Cassiodorus in the heel of Italy. He was known in Squillace as San Agario. A relic of his arm was brought to Guardavalle in 1584 by the bishop of Squillace, Marcello Sirleto, hence Akakios' patronage of this city. Relics from Squillace were also brought to Cuenca and Ávila in Spain, where he is known as San Acato.

Saint Akakios is also venerated in Slovenia, where numerous churches and chapels are dedicated to him; this popular veneration goes back to the sixteenth century, when he was considered the patron saint of the fighters against the Ottoman Turks. For the same reason he became popular among the Maniots, inhabitants of the Mani Peninsula in Greece, who took up his confrontation of the Pagan Roman authorities as a symbol of their own long lasting resistance of the Ottoman Empire's rule.