The Holy Martyr Alexander
Commemorated on May 13
The Holy Martyr Alexander suffered for Christ at the beginning of the IV Century. He was a soldier, and he served in the regiment of the tribune Tiberian at Rome. He was age 18, when the Roman emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) issued an edict, that on a designated day all the citizenry was to appear at the temple of Zeus outside the city for the offering of sacrifice. The tribune Tiberian assembled his soldiers and he ordered them to go to this festival, but the youth Alexander, raised from childhood in the Christian faith, refused and he declared that he would not offer sacrifice to devils. Tiberian, out of fear for himself, reported to the emperor Maximian that in his regiment there was a soldier, who was a Christian. Soldiers were immediately dispatched for Alexander. During this time Alexander was asleep. An Angel roused him and announced to the youth about his impending act of martyrdom, and that he would constantly be with him during this time. When the soldiers arrived, Alexander came out to meet them; his face shone with so bright a light, that the soldiers in glancing at him fell to the ground. The saint upbraided them and besought them to fulfill the orders given them. Standing before Maximian, Saint Alexander boldly confessed his faith in Christ and he refused to worship the idols, adding moreover, that he was afraid neither of the emperor, nor of his threats. The emperor tried to persuade the youth with promises of honours, but Alexander remained steadfast in his confession, and he denounced the emperor and all the pagans. They began torturing the holy martyr, but he bravely endured all the sufferings. Maximian remanded Saint Alexander back under the authority of the tribune Tiberian, who was being sent to Thrace for the persecution of Christians there. So they led off the martyr, fettered in chains, to Thrace. At this time the Angel of the Lord made it known to Saint Alexander's mother, Pimenia, about the martyr's deed of her son. Pimenia found her son in the city of Carthage, where he stood before Tiberian at trial and again he steadfastly confessed himself a Christian. They subjected him to torture before the eyes of his mother, and then they ordered the prisoner on the way to his final journey, behind the chariot of Tiberian. The brave Pimenia asked the soldiers to let her go up to her son and she encouraged him to undergo the torments for Christ. The soldiers were astonished at the stoic strength of the martyr and they said one to another: "Great is the Christian God!". The Angel appeared several times to the martyr, strengthening him. By night a fearsome Angel with sword in hand appeared to Tiberian, and commanded the tribune to hasten on his way to Byzantium, since the end was drawing near for the holy martyr. Tiberian continued on his way with haste. In the city of Philippopolis Tiberian made anew the trial over Saint Alexander, in the presence of the city dignitaries gathered for this event. And at this trial Saint Alexander likewise remained steadfast. During the time of his grievous journey the holy martyr had been repeatedly subjected to cruel torments, but strengthened by God, he endured all the torments and he himself provided strength for the soldiers weakened by thirst, having besought of the Lord a spring of water for them. During the time remaining on the journey, the martyr prayed beneathe a tree for strength in his sufferings, and the fruit and leaves of this tree received a curative power. At a place, named Burtodexion, the saint again met up with his mother Pimenia, who with weeping fell down at his feet. The holy martyr said to her: "Weep not, my mother, the morning after the day following the Lord shalt help me finish matters". In the city of Drizipera Tiberian imposed the death sentence on the saint. Before death the holy martyr gave thanks to the Lord, for that the Lord had given him the strength to undergo all the innumerable torments and to accept a martyr's end. The soldier, who was supposed to carry out the execution, besought the forgiveness of the saint and for a long while he could not bring himself to lift his hand with the sword, since he saw Angels coming for the soul of the martyr. Through the prayer of the saint, the Angels became invisible to the executioner, and only then did he cut off the saint's holy head. The body of the saint was cast into a river, but four dogs dragged it out of the water, and they would not let anyone near it, until Saint Alexander's mother Pimenia came. She took up the remains of her martyred son and reverently gave them burial near the River Erigona. At the grave of Saint Alexander healings at once began. Soon the holy martyr appeared to his mother in a dream, in which he comforted her and related, that soon she too would be transported to the Heavenly habitations.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.