March 9, 2019

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Urpasianos

St. Urpasianos the Martyr (Feast Day - March 9)


Urpasianos cast off his cloak,
Shaming the impious emperor.

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The cage was a chariot of fire, by means of the lamps,
Urpasianos, with four horses you went up.

When the most impious Maximian reigned in the year 278, he terrorized the entire region of Nicomedia, being a fiery champion of the idols. This rage was lit up against the Christians, like a great fire, by like-minded and messmate Greeks. He therefore gathered all the senators and rulers of his empire, and cried out to them: "Whoever among you fell for the evil religion of the Christians, and does not want to return to our gracious gods, and does not want to atone with repentance, let them remove their belts of rank that they wear, and flee from the imperial palace and this city. For this city worships great gods from the time of her ancestors, and not one crucified God."

Then fear and terror fell upon all those who believed in Christ. At that time one could truly see, how the faith and piety of Christ, was exercised and tried as gold in the fire. For some Christians fled and hid themselves, while others were given over to be tortured. Whoever had pure love and was a true child of God, these despised their bodies, and mocked the tyrant, casting off their belts before him and leaving. It was at this time that the high-minded and adamantine according to his soul Urpasianos, standing before the emperor and the entire senate, cast off his own cloak and belt, saying: "Because O emperor, I am enlisting today in the army of the heavenly and immortal King my Lord Jesus Christ, receive my belt and honor and glory. These are temporal, and have no use."

The things Urpasianos said were unforeseen, and as Maximian listened, his mind was changed, and for a long time he remained speechless. Afterwards he rubbed his eyes, and seeing the Martyr with crooked eyes, he cried out like a wild and untamed beast, and said to those standing around him: "Suspend this villain and lacerate his flesh with the ox-hide!" This took place immediately, and for many hours the brave athlete of Christ struggled as his flesh was lacerated with the ox-hide, while his eyes were fixed towards heaven, praying without complete grief. After this the Saint was taken down from the mechanical pulley. The tyrant then said to his servants: "Cast him into a dark prison, and leave him to totally dry up there, until I consider by which death I will wipe him out." Meanwhile the Martyr inside the prison, rejoiced and was glad, and sent up his prayers to the Lord.

The impious emperor had an instrument of torture built, which consisted of an iron cage. Removing the Saint from prison, he ordered him to be placed in the cage, and suspend him up high. This took place, and the Saint was suspended by his two hands, with the iron cage covering his entire body. Then the tyrant ordered lamps to be lit, and with these to burn the Saint without mercy. The athlete was so burnt up by the lamps, that his flesh melted and dripped to the ground as if he was candle, mixing with the dirt of the ground, as a fine cloud of dust. In this way the Martyr of Christ prayed and remained unchanged, the air became full of an aromatic fragrance, and he ascended as a radiant star to the Lord, in order to receive the crown of victory. Some Christians were made worthy to see him ascend into the heavens with much brilliance. The impious and wretched Maximian, remaining in his madness, ordered for the ground upon which fell the flesh of the Saint to be gathered up entirely, together with his bones, and for them to be scattered in the sea before his eyes.