Science of the Saints, 22 March, The Hieromartyr Basil of Ancyra

The Hieromartyr Basil was a presbyter in Galatian Ancyra. During the time of the widespread Arian heresy he summoned his flock to hold on firmly to Orthodoxy. For this Saint Basil was deprived of the priestly dignity by a local Arian council, but at a Palestine Council of 230 bishops he was restored to the dignity of presbyter. Saint Basil openly continued his preaching, denouncing the Arians, and for this he became the victim of persecution and was subjected to beating as a man allegedly dangerous to the state. Two apostates – Elpidios and Pegasios – were appointed for breaking away Saint Basil from Orthodoxy. But the saint remained unshakable and for this was again subjected to tortures. When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) arrived in the city of Ancyra, Saint Basil afront him at the trial bravely confessed Christ, and denounced the emperor for his apostasy. Julian gave orders to cut a strip of skin from the back of the saint. But the holy Presbyter Basil undauntedly endured the gruesome torture.

When they began to burn and tear at the shoulders and stomach with red-hot rods, he fell down upon the ground from the torments and loudly prayed: “O Christ, my Light! O Jesus, my Hope! Quiet Haven for the pounding by waves. I give Thee thanks, O Lord God of my fathers, in that Thou hast snatched my soul from the pit of hell and preserved Thy Name in me unstained! Let me finish my life a victor and inherit rest eternal according to the promise, given my fathers by Thee, Great High-Priest Jesus Christ, our Lord! Now in peace accept my soul, plying steadfast in this confession! For Thou art merciful and great is Thine mercy, Thou Who dost live and sojourn throughout all the ages, Amen.”

Having made suchlike prayer, and lacerated all over by the red-hot rods, the saint as it were fell into a sweet slumber, giving up his soul into the hands of God. The Hieromartyr Basil died 29 June 362. On account of the feastday of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, his memory was transferred to 22 March.

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