Science of the Saints, 20 May, The Holy Martyr Thaleleus and Companions

The Martyrs Thalaleus, Alexander, and Asterias: During the reign of Numerian (283-284), the governor of the city of Aegea dispatched soldiers to seek out Christians. They brought to him Thalaleus, an eighteen year old blond-haired youth. To the governor’s interrogation Saint Thalaleus answered: “I am a Christian, a native of Lebanon. My father, by the name of Beruchius, was a military commander, and my mother was named Romilia. My brother has the dignity of sub-deacon. I however am a student of medicine under the physician Makarios. During a former time of persecution against Christians in Lebanon I was brought before the governor Tiberias, and just barely escaped execution. But now I stand before this court, do with me what thou dost wish. I desire to die for Christ the Saviour and my God, hoping from Him help to endure all torments.”

The enraged governor ordered the two torturers Alexander and Asterias to pierce the legs of the martyr with rope and suspend him head downwards. But the executioners, by the design of God, bored into a block of wood, which they hung up in place of the martyr. When the governor saw that they had deceived him, he then ordered that Alexander and Asterias be fiercely whipped, and they too confessed themselves Christians and glorified God. The governor gave orders to immediately cut off their heads. Twice he himself attempted to carry out the execution, and to pierce the leg-bones of the saint, but the grace of God prevented him, and he in his impotence then commanded that Saint Thalaleus be drowned.

The returning servants reported to the governor that they had carried out the execution, but suddenly, just as they finished their report, Saint Thalaleus appeared in white raiment. For a long while everyone was numbed with terror, but finally the governor said: “Behold, this sorcerer hath bewitched even the sea.” Then one of his advisers, the magician Urvician, advised the governor to have the martyr thrown for devouring by wild beasts, but neither the vicious bear, not the hungry lion and lioness, would touch the saint, all meekly but laying down at his feet. Seeing this happen, the people began loudly to shout: “Great is the God of the Christians, O God of Thalaleus, have mercy on us!” The crowd seized hold of Urvician and threw him to the beasts, which did not hesitate to tear apart the magician. Finally, the governor gave orders to kill the holy martyr with a sword. They led away the martyr of Christ to the place of execution, called Aegea, where he prayed to God and bent his neck beneath the sword. This occurred in the year 284. The relics of the holy martyr Thalaleus are situated in the church of Saint Agathonikos of Constantinople and have made many miracles. The holy Martyr Thalaleus, as a physician without payment treating the sick, is called by the Church an Unmercenary, and is called on in prayers over the sick in the Sacrament of Anointing and during the Blessing of Waters.

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