Commemorated on January 9
was the first martyr in the Armenian city of Melitene. 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 Polyeutos himself, while yet leading a virtuous life,
remained a pagan.
When the persecution
against Christians started up, Nearchos said to Polyeuktos: "Friend, we
shalt soon be separated from thee, for they wilt take me to torture, and thou
alas, wilt renounce friendship with me". Polyeuktos 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 Polyeuktos 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.
the governor Felox, to whom had been entrusted the carrying out of the imperial
edict, was horrified at the deed of Saint Polyeuktos and declared, that for
this he 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
Polyeuktos remained steadfast in his resolve to suffer for Christ. With joy he
bent his head beneathe 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 Melitene there
was erected a church in the name of the holy Martyr Polyeuktos. Many a miracle
was worked through the prayerful intercession of Saint Polyeuktos. In this very
church prayed fervently for the granting of a son the parents of the holy Monk
Euthymios the Great (Comm. 20 January). The birth of this great luminary of
Orthodoxy in the year 376 thus occurred through the help of the holy Martyr
Polyeuktos. His memory was also venerated by Sainted Akakios, Bishop of
Melitene, a participant of the Third OEcumenical Council and a great proponent
of the Ecumenical Truth. As in the East, so also in the West, the holy Martyr
Polyeuktosis venerated as a patron saint of vows and treaty agreements.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.