Science of the Saints, 9 April, The Holy Martyr Eupsychius

The Holy Martyr Eupsychius was born in the city of Caesarea Cappadocia and received a Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.

During the time of the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), Saint Eupsychius entered into Christian wedlock.

At Caesarea there was then a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna [i.e. “fortune” or “luck”], very revered by Julian the Apostate. At the same time as Eupsychius was going in to the wedding ceremony, the pagans were making offering of sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna.

Saint Eupsychius was ardent with zeal for the Lord, and he gathered the people and destroyed the temple. He knew that this would inevitably result in punishment for him. Saint Eupsychius distributed all his substance to the poor and prepared himself for the act of martyrdom.

The enraged emperor Julian hurled his wrath not only upon Saint Eupsychius, but against all the inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens he executed, the more respectable he sent into exile, Christian clergy were conscripted into military service, and from the churches he looted anything of value. The city was deprived of its title Caesarea (i.e. “Imperial”) and turned into a simple village with its original name of Maza, and on the inhabitants he imposed a grievous tribute-tax. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one destroyed.

Julian ordered Saint Eupsychius to be compelled by tortures to offer sacrifice to idols. Over the course of many days they tormented the saint upon a rack, and likewise with iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge gave sentence to behead the martyr with the sword (+362). At this time Julian, having set out on a campaign against the Persians, marched through Cappadocia and approached Carsarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to its foundations. But then the archbishop of the city, Sainted Basil the Great (+379), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority, came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he himself ate from. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to give Saint Basil a pinch of hay with the words: “Thou hast given us barley, cattle feed, so in return receive hay from us.” The saint answered: “O emperor, we bring thee that which we ourselves do eat, and thou dost give us cattle feed; thou dost make mockery over us, since thou art not able by thy might to transform hay into bread, the essential food of mankind.” Julian angrily replied: “Know thou, that this hay I shalt shove down thy throat, when I am returned hence from Persia. And I shalt raze this city to its very foundations and on its place plow over the ground and turn it into a field. I do very well know, that it was through thine advice, that the people dared to destroy the statuary and temple of Fortuna.”

After this the emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 by the holy Great Martyr Mercurius.

And after the emperor’s demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea erected a splendid church over the grave of Saint Eupsychius, and from his relics they received help and healing.

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