July 18, 2018

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Hyacinth of Amastris

St. Hyacinth of Amastris (Feast Day - July 18)


As a sweet-scented hyacinth flower O Word,
Receive Hyacinth from these reeds.

This Saint was born to pious parents, who were called Theokletos and Theonilla, during the years of Bishop Herakleides, who oversaw Amastris by the sea, which was located at the Black Sea. The Saint received the name Hyacinth due to a manifestation of a divine Angel. When he was three years old he raised a dead child after calling upon the name of Christ. As the Saint physically grew according to his age, so also did he spiritually grow in age according to virtue. The blessed one performed many miracles, until he reached old age.

When he saw the idol-worshiping Greeks worshiping an elm tree, which was hollow and had holes in it, the renowned one was moved by divine zeal and went and cut it down. For this he was arrested and brought before the governor Canstrisius, as well as other nobles of the city, and he was harshly beaten. They then removed his teeth from the root. After this they tied him up with ropes, and he was dragged outside the city, where he was pierced with sharp reeds. They then imprisoned him, where he delivered his holy soul into the hands of God.

Obverse of a lead seal of Michael Stryphnos, grand doux and husband of Theodora, sister of the Empress Euphrosyne Doukaina, wife of Alexios III Angelos (1195-1203), Dumbarton Oaks Collection 33.1.3651. St. Theodore (at left) and St. Hyacinth standing. St. Theodore holds an inclined spear (right hand) and a shield, both resting on the ground. In the center there is an (elm) tree. St. Hyacinth, beardless, swings an ax with both hands to fell the tree. This image seems to have a Paphlagonian source of inspiration since it depicts St. Theodore and, especially, St. Hyacinth of Amastris, who is not a very commonly represented saint and who suffered martyrdom for cutting down an elm tree venerated by the pagans.

It is said that at his memorial the following astonishing thing takes place. The grave of the Saint is below ground, in which could be found his honorable relic. When the Christians therefore gather together on his feast day, and begin to chant, dirt gushes forth from under his tomb, which the Bishop places in a sacred vessel, and distributes it among the Christians, and by this those who suffer in body and soul are healed.