Science of the Saints, 9 January, Hieromartyr Polyeuctus

Saint Polyeuctus was the first martyr in the Armenian city of Meletina. He was a soldier under the emperor Decius (249-251) and he later suffered for Christ under the emperor Valerian (253-259). The saint was friend also of Nearchos, a fellow-soldier and firm Christian, but Polyeuctus himself, while yet leading a virtuous life, remained a pagan.

When the persecution against Christians started up, Nearchos said to Polyeuctus: “Friend, we shalt soon be separated from thee, for they wilt take me to torture, and thou alas, wilt renounce friendship with me.” Polyeuctus answered him, that in a dream he had seen Christ, Who took from him his garb and clothed him in another and bright attire. “From that moment,” said he, “I am prepared to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Having become ardent in spirit, Saint Polyeuctus went out onto the city square, tore up the imperial edict hanging there about the duty to worship idols, and then he smashed idols from out of the hands of pagan priests carrying them.

His father-in-law, the governor Felox, to whom had been entrusted the carrying out of the imperial edict, was horrified at the deed of Saint Polyeuctus and declared that for this Polyeuctus had to die. “Go, make farewell with thine wife and children,” said Felox. The wife came and with tears began to beseech her husband to renounce Christ, and his father‑in-law Felox also wept. But Saint Polyeuctus remained steadfast in his resolve to suffer for Christ. With joy he bent his head beneath the sword of the executioner and was baptised in his own blood (+259).

Soon, when the Church of Christ in the time of Equal‑to-the-Apostles Constantine had triumphed throughout all the Roman empire, at Meletina there was erected a church in the name of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus. Many a miracle was worked through the prayerful intercession of Saint Polyeuctus. In this very church prayed fervently for the granting of a son the parents of the holy Monk Euthymios the Great. The birth of this great luminary of Orthodoxy in the year 376 thus occurred through the help of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus. His memory was also venerated by Saint Acacius, Bishop of Meletina, a participant of the Third Ecumenical Council and a great proponent of the Ecumenical Truth. As in the East, so also in the West, the holy Martyr Polyeuctus is venerated as a patron saint of vows and treaty agreements.

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