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December 30, 2018

Holy Martyr Philetairos of Nicomedia and Those With Him

St. Philetairos of Nicomedia (Feast Day - December 30)


To Philetairos.
Philetairos suffered according to the law of athletes,
And he departed as an athlete from life.

To the Seven Martyrs.
It was a good meeting on the path beyond,
Of these seven who arrived in the heavens.

The Holy Martyr Philetairos of Nicomedia twice suffered torture for Christ under the co-Emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (286-305). When Diocletian arrived in Nicomedia, Philetairos, who was tall and handsome, with golden hair and beard, was put on trial. Seeing him, the emperor was awe-struck and compared him to one of the pagan gods. When questioned about where he was from, his social rank and family, the martyr answered, “I am from here in Nicomedia, the son of an eparch. I am a Christian by faith, and my name is Phileraitos.”

The emperor spoke insultingly of the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Saint replied, “Let the mouth of anyone who dares to insult my Christ be silenced, whether he is the emperor or anyone else.” After these words the martyr was thrown into a red-hot oven, but he emerged from it unharmed. Then Diocletian, witnessing the miracle, and taking into account the Saint’s illustrious rank and handsome appearance, set him free.

Later, the emperor Maximian was informed that Philetairos was a Christian. Brought to trial before the emperor, the holy martyr again confessed his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to be flogged. Then they threw him to be eaten by wild beasts, but he remained unharmed. Then they sentenced him to beheading by the sword, but the two servants who were entrusted with the execution were unable to kill him. Just as they raised the sword over the head of the martyr, their hands ceased to function. Persuaded that the Lord invisibly was guarding the holy martyr, both executioners believed in Christ and they themselves were beheaded by the sword.

The holy Martyr Philetairus was sentenced to exile on Prokonnesos, one of the islands of the Sea of Marmara. On the journey, he performed many miracles and destroyed a heathen temple with its idols. Six soldiers and their commander, who accompanied the Saint to his exile, came to believe in Christ.

On the way Saint Eubiotos (Dec. 18), who had also undergone many sufferings for Christ, came to see him. The saints joyfully embraced, and they stayed at the cell of Saint Eubiotos for seven days, together with the soldiers and their commander. Saint Philetairos died there and was buried by Saint Eubiotus. The soldiers and their commander also died there eleven days later, and were buried beside Saint Philetairos.