February 17, 2020

Saint Auxibios, Bishop of Soli in Cyprus

St. Auxibios of Soli (Feast Day - February 17)


Auxibios was not overlooked by the Word,
Appearing at the end of his life in His presence.

Saint Auxibius was born in Rome to a wealthy family. He was raised with his brother Themistagoras, and from an early age he displayed remarkable talents. In the schools of Rome he easily learned the secular sciences. His parents wanted their son to marry. Learning of this, the youth secretly left Rome and arrived in the village of Limnites, not far from the city of Soli in Cyprus.

At that time, the apostles Barnabas and Mark were establishing the Church in Cyprus, and taught Herakleides, the first archbishop of Cyprus, how to elect and ordain ministers. Barnabas was martyred in Constantia, while Mark and his companions, Timon and Rhodon, fled, first to a cave near Ledra and then to Limnites. There they met Auxibios, whom Mark baptized and consecrated as bishop of Soli. Mark instructed him to go to the city, pretend to be a pagan, and convert the locals gradually. After this, Mark left for Egypt.

Auxibios left Limnites, and went to Soli. At a temple of Zeus outside the gates, he received hospitality from a priest whom he soon converted to Christianity. Hiding his faith, he started secretly preaching Christianity in the town, but continued to live at Zeus’ temple outside of the city.

In the meantime, the apostle Paul went to Alexandria where Mark was preaching the gospel. Mark told him about Barnabas’ martyrdom. Therefore, Paul decided to send Epaphras and Tychikos to the archbishop of Cyprus Herakleides, instructing him to ordain Epaphras as bishop of Paphos, and Tychikos as bishop of Neapolis. Then, Paul instructed Herakleides to go to Soli and find Auxibios whom he should appoint as bishop of the city, without ordaining him, since he had already received ordination from Mark.

Herakleides went to Soli, found Auxibios, and instructed him to stop hiding his ministry. He set the foundations for a small church in the town, instructed Auxibios, and left. Auxibios built the church and consecrated it, praying to God to gather and strengthen the local people in the Christian faith.

Auxibios started preaching Christianity in public. He had the spiritual gifts of curing the sick and casting out demons, and soon many people were converted from both the town and the surrounding countryside. Among the converts, there was a man from the village of Solopotamios, who was also named Auxibios. This Auxibios went one day to a place called Tarichos. While his disciple was sleeping under a tree, Bishop Auxibios saw a group of ants coming near his head and forming a crown. This sign revealed to him that this man had been chosen by God to succeed him.

Auxibios’ brother, Themistagoras, went to Soli with his wife Timo to find his brother. Auxibios baptized both of them and ordained them deacon and deaconess. Then Auxibios decided to build a new and larger church.

After fifty years of ministry, the Saint was about to die. He convoked the clergy and admonished them to maintain the traditions which he had established. Then Auxibios nominated his disciple Auxibios as the new bishop, and died. The people buried him in a sepulchre he had prepared for himself and his brother. Immediately, the relics started to effect cures and exorcisms.

A group of forty possessed people from Paphos heard of Auxibios’ miracles, and decided to visit the tomb of the Saint. Auxibios appeared to them on the road and cured them. Therefore, they went to the sepulchre of the Saint and praised God for this miracle. A festival in honor of Auxibios was celebrated in Paphos, on the date of the miracle.

Themistagoras, seeing the wonders happening at his brother’s sepulchre, requested that they should not bury him with his brother, but leave the sepulchre untouched. Therefore, the sepulchre of Auxibios has been closed since his death.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
As an instrument of the Spirit you treasured the grace of the Apostles, through the divine Mark, Auxibios, you showed yourself to be a glorious hierarch, and president and shepherd of Soli, for this reason we honor your sacred memory crying out: glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you, all manner of healings.

Rejoice, O sacred Auxibios, Hierarch of Soli, and bright star of Cyprus, rejoice you who grants, each of our entreaties, and entreats for the forgiveness of our transgressions.