My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior Jesus Christ,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ON JULY 27TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE FEAST-DAY OF THE GREAT MARTYR AND HEALER PANTELEIMON
Saint Panteleimon was born about 284 AD in the city of Nicodemia. His father, Evstorgios, was an idolater while his mother, Evoulis, was a devout Christian. She raised her son, whose real name was Pantoleonta, in the Christian way of life. She passed away while her son was still young.
Initially Pantoleonta was educated in his native tongue and then in Greek. His father sent him to study under the famous physician, Evfrosinos. Quickly he surpassed the other students. He was handsome, soft spoken, humble, and all who spoke with him felt true happiness and peace. Because of these virtues, he became well known in Nicomedia. One day he went with Evfrosinos to the palace and it was here that the ruler, Maximian, first saw him. He instructed Evfrosinos to educate Pantoleonta to the utmost so that he could be appointed royal physician.
At that time, Saint Ermolaos, the head of the Church in Nicomedia, lived in a house with other Christians. He watched Pantoleonta every day as he went to his studies and finally asked him about his religion. Pantoleonta told him that while his mother was alive he had been a Christian, but now his father had made him follow the pagans. Ermolaos told him that if he believed with all his heart in the true God he would be able to cure anyone with His help. Pantoleonta acknowledged everything he was told and from that time on, he went to Ermolaos for counsel and began to accept Christ with all his heart.
Time passed, and one day, with the grace of God, Pantoleonta saved a child from certain death after being bitten by a viper. He needed no further proof that Christ was the True God. Ermolaos baptized Pantoleonta, gave him Holy Communion, and instructed him in the Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Holy Church. At his baptism he was given the name Panteleimon.
He remained for seven days with this holy man, and during this time he became completely acquainted with the teachings and practices of the Church.
Soon, Pantoleonta was working towards his father's conversion to Christianity. This was finally achieved when he saw his son cure a man of his blindness. By the grace of God, the man regained his sight, not only physically, but also spiritually, for before this time he was an idolater. Pantoleonta took the man and his father to Saint Ermolaos who baptized him.
Pantoleonta distributed his wealth among the poor and then proceeded to cure all who came to him. The only payment the Saint would ask was that the healed person believe that Jesus Christ was their True Healer. The other physicians became very envious and wanting to betray the Saint to the Emperor, a group of them went to Maximian and told him that the doctor that he himself had educated was healing Christians and that idolaters were converting to Christianity. As proof, the blind man who was cured was brought before the Emperor, who tried to convince him that the gods had cured him and not Christ. But it was futile. Emperor Maximian realized that everything the doctors had told him was true. He ordered that the man be beheaded. The Saint secretly took the man's body and buried it in a Christian place.
Panteleonta was ordered to appear before Emperon Maximian, who described the charges that were brought before him and ordered Pantoleonta to sacrifice to the gods. The Saint refused. The false-priests and doctors begged the Emperor to execute him so that Christianity would not gain in popularity among the people. Unable to change his beliefs, Maximian ordered that the Saint be tortured. First they tied him to a board and tore his skin with iron claws. Then, the soldiers burned him with their torches. The Saint prayed to God to give him strength to withstand the torture. Next the Saint was taken and placed in a kettle but the tar remained cool around him. The pagan Emperor considered the miracles to be magic tricks performed by Pantoleonta. Continuing with his efforts he had a boulder tied to the Saint and thrown into the sea. The boulder became light and the Saint floated on the water. Maximian still refused to recognize the power of the True God. Next the Saint was placed in the stadium but the wild beasts peacefully walked towards him and licked his feet. The crowd cheered and together praised God and Pantoleonta. Maximian was enraged and had all the animals butchered. The miracle served to honor the Saint and to show others the way of righteousness.
The Saint was submitted to even more tortures. He was tied to a wheel and then rolled down a hill. The purpose was to tear the Saint's body to pieces. Instead, it rolled over several idolaters and killed them. The Saint again suffered no harm.
Pantoleonta decided to bring Saint Ermolaos to the people, since his words could convert even more pagans to Christianity. Ermolaos and two other men, Ermocratis and Ermippon, were brought before the Emperor who tried to convince them that they believed in a false God. Then Saint Ermolaos suffered, along with Ermippon and Ermocrates. Condemed to death, Saint Panteleimon knelt in prayer. At that, the executioner gave him a blow on the neck with his sword, and the sword broke as if made of wax. The executioner could not kill him until he had finished his prayer and had himself given the word to behead him. Panteleimon was beheaded under an olive tree, which after that became laden with fruit. 'Panteleimon' means 'all-merciful'. God the All-Merciful received his righteous soul, and glorified him among His greater Saints, his holy relics remaining incorrupt. The wonderful Martyr suffered with honor as a youth for Christ on July 27th, 304AD. Saint Panteleimon is invoked in the prayers at the blessing of water (agiasmos) and the blessing of oil (holy oil or unction), together with Saint Hermolaos and the other unmercenaries and wonderworkers. The loveliest church dedicated to him is to be found on the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos) in Northern Greece.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Feast. Third Mode
Panteleimon, saintly champion and healer, intercede with our Merciful God to grant our souls remission of sins.
Kontakion Hymn. Plagal First Mode
O Champion and Martyr of God, imitating the Merciful and bearing from Him the grace of healing, cure our spiritual ills by your prayers, and set free from the temptation of the eternal enemy those who ceaselessly cry out, "Save us, O Lord."
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God