February 25, 2020

Saint Markellos, Bishop of Soli in Cyprus

St. Markellos of Soli (Feast Day - February 25)


Longing fervently Markellos became a drink-offering to God,
Dripping warm blood from his neck.

In the Synaxarion of Constantinople he is called Saint Markellos, Bishop of Apamea in Cyprus, and he is said to have reposed in peace. This leaves us with some confusion that requires clarification.

First, there is no Apamea in Cyprus, but it is in Syria. The closest alternative in Cyprus is the ancient town of Aepeia, which later became known as Soli. Therefore he could have been a Bishop of Soli in Cyprus, or like Saint Markellos the Bishop of Apamea commemorated on August 14th, he was Bishop of Apamea in Syria.

Second, though the Synaxarion of Constantinople says he reposed in peace, the iambic verses make it clear that he was beheaded and thus died a martyric death. If he is the same person as Saint Markellos the Bishop of Apamea commemorated on August 14th who died as a martyr, we still have a difference, since the Markellos of August 14th was martyred by being burnt alive.

Étienne de Lusignan in the 16th century does mention a Saint Markellos who was Bishop of Soli in Cyprus without mentioning when he lived but was commemorated on February 25th. There he is said to have died a martyr with no specifics. This was repeated by the Cypriot Chronographer Kyprianos in the 18th century.

From the above we can therefore assume that Saint Markellos was Bishop of Soli in Cyprus who met his end by being beheaded by the sword.

The fresco above comes from the Serbian Church of Saint George in Staro Nagoričane where he is depicted with other Saints commemorated on February 25th.