April 22, 2019

Holy Martyr Nearchos

St. Nearchos the Martyr (Feast Day - April 22)


No fire will separate me, Nearchos said,
From my fiery divine zeal for you O Savior.

The Holy Martyr Nearchos was a Roman soldier in Armenia under the emperor Decius (249-251), and he later suffered for Christ under the emperor Valerian (253-259). He had a close and friendly bond with Saint Polyeuktos (Jan. 9), a fellow soldier, though Nearchos was a zealous Christian and Polyeuktos, while virtuous and nearly a Christian, was still a pagan.

When the persecution against Christians began, Nearchos said to Polyeuktos, "Friend, we shall soon be separated, for they will take me to torture, and you alas, will renounce your friendship with me." Polyeuktos told him that he had seen Christ in a dream, Who took his soiled military cloak from him and dressed him in a radiant garment. "Now," he said, "I am prepared to serve the Lord Jesus Christ."

Saint Polyeuktos was the first to die as a martyr, by beheading, and after Saint Nearchos gathered his blood as a precious and sacred relic and passed along a document relating the martyrdom of his friend Polyeuktos to the bishop, he also was condemned for his confession of Christ, and was sentenced to be burned alive.