The PriestMartyr Bishop Valentine (Valentinus or Ualentinos) and his Three Disciples the Holy Martyrs Proculus, Ephibius and Apollonius, and Righteous Avundius
Commemorated on July 30
The PriestMartyr Bishop Valentine (Valentinus or Ualentinos) and his Three Disciples the Holy Martyrs Proculus, Ephibius and Apollonius, and Righteous Avundius lived during the III Century. Saint Valentine was bishop in Umbria (Italy), in the city of Interamnum. He had the gift from God of healing various maladies through prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ. during this time there had come from Athens to Rome the three pagan youths Proculus, Ephibius and Apollonius, for further study in the Roman sciences and language. They found themselves a tutor, by the name of Craton, and lived in his home. It so happened, that the son of Craton named Cherimon fell grievously ill, and his spine was so contorted that it left his head at his knees. Craton turned to Bishop Valentine with an ardent request for help for his sick son. Having come to Rome for Craton, the holy bishop secluded himself in the same room with the sick youth and prayed fervently all night. When day came, the happy parents beheld their son all healed, they believed in Christ and were baptised together with all their household. Craton's students, the youths Proculus, Ephibius and Apollonius likewise accepted holy Baptism and became, together with Cherimon, devoted disciples of Saint Valentine. Fame about the spiritual teacher quickly spread, and many a youth and lad was converted to the faith in Christ. In their number was also the city-head's son, Avundius, who having accepted holy Baptism was ablaze in spirit and openly confessed himself a Christian in front of everyone. This was a bold thing to do, since at this time pagan polytheism ruled in the world, and Christianity was persecuted. The wrath of the youth's father and other city leaders fell upon holy Bishop Valentine, the teacher of the youths. They began to demand that renounce Christ and worship idols. After much torture they threw him into prison, where his students started coming to him. Learning of this, the city-head gave orders to take Valentine out of the prison and behead him. Saint Valentine's students Proculus, Ephibius and Apollonius took the body of their teacher and carried it off to the city of Interamnum, where with reverence they buried it. They spent their days at the grave of the holy bishop in prayer, and to them gathered both believers and pagans also, whom they converted to the true faith. This became known to the authorities. They arrested the youths and threw them in prison. Fearing that people might break the sufferers out of prison, the executioners by night beheaded them. Righteous Avundius, learning that his friends had been locked up in prison, hastened off to them, but finding them no longer alive, he grieved deeply. He took up their bodies and buried them at the grave of holy Bishop Valentine.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.