January 2, 2019

Holy Martyr Sergios of Caesarea in Cappadocia

St. Sergios of Caesarea (Feast Day - January 2)


It cannot be said nor brought to mind,
How much joy Sergios had when his head was cut off!

Saint Sergios lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). When Sapritius, the governor of Armenia and Cappadocia, known for his great eagerness in carrying out all the emperor's orders, in 304 traveled through Caesarea in Cappadocia, he imprisoned all the city's Christians. They weren't many, for most had fled to the mountains and hid there. Despite the cruel tortures, none of those arrested denied their faith.

Sergios, A Christian who had previously been a judge, now as an older man went to live as a monk in the wilderness near Caesarea. He never came to town and nobody knew about him. Thus, he was not designated as a Christian either. But that very day, he felt a great inner turmoil that forced him to leave his solitude and enter Caesarea.

When he came to the town square, the annual sacrifice to the god Zeus was celebrated there. The pagan priest spoke to the people and said that the gods refused to accept the sacrifice as long as there were Christians in the city who refused to participate in the sacrifice. The former judge Sergios immediately realized that the purpose of the priest's speech was to stir up the people against the innocent, who so far had lived in peace with everyone in the city and who had never caused any trouble.

Sergios was filled with zeal and went up the temple steps. From there he gave a fiery sermon to the people, rebuking the worship of idols and the sacrifice to false gods. By his prayers also the fire prepared for the sacrifice extinguished. This enraged the governor, and Sergios with all the imprisoned Christians were beheaded the same day on the orders of the governor.

Following his martyrdom, his body was buried by some pious Christians. Later legend has it that his relic was eventually moved to Spain, but there is no evidence for this.