Holy Martyrs Galaction and Episteme (ca. 250)
A pagan couple, Cleitophon and Leucippe, who lived in Emesa in the reign of the Emperor Decius, were grieved that they were unable to have children. One day a monk named Onuphrius came to their door seeking alms to give to the poor, and seeing Leucippe’s downcast face, asked her what was wrong. When she replied that she was barren, Onuphrius told her that this was by God’s providence, to prevent their child from being given over to idolatry, and that if they accepted Christ she would bear a child. Leucippe was baptized into the Faith and bore a son not long after, which in turn brought her husband to faith in Christ. The son was named Galaction in baptism.
Years later, Galaction’s father, now widowed, decided that Galaction should marry a pagan maiden named Episteme. Galaction married out of obedience, but would not approach Episteme’s bed since she was a pagan. In time, he convinced her of the truth of the Faith and baptised her himself. Not long after she was told in a dream of the glory that awaits those who consecrate themselves wholly to God. When she told her husband of the dream, they both resolved to remain in virginity, settling in separate monastic communities near to one another.
In one of the Emperor’s persecutions of Christians, Galaction was seized by imperial soldiers and taken away to be killed. Episteme, told in a vision of his arrest, asked the blessing of her abbess to join him in martyrdom. Receiving it, she hurried to Galaction’s place of imprisonment, boldly announced her faith in Christ, and after many tortures and humiliations husband and wife were beheaded together.
Holy Apostles Patrobas, Hermas, Linus, Gaius and Philologus
They are numbered among the Seventy Disciples of the Lord.
Saint Hermas and Saint Patrobolus are both mentioned by St Paul in Romans 16:4. Saint Hermas became Bishop of Philippi. Some believe him to be the author of The Shepherd, which was so cherished by the early Church that is included in some early versions of the New Testament. Saint Patrobolus became Bishop of Pozzuoli in Italy.
Saint Linus (mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21) was ordained by St Peter as first Bishop of Rome. He was martyred, perhaps in AD 76.
Saint Gaius (mentioned in Romans 16:23, where we learn that St Paul stayed with him in Corinth), succeeded St Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus.
Saint Philologus (mentioned in Romans 16:15), was made Bishop of Sinope in Pontus by the Apostle Andrew.
Our Holy Father Gregory the Confessor, Patriarch of Alexandria (early 9th c.)
This much-loved shepherd of the Church at Alexandria was unanimously elected to the Patriarchate by the Bishops and people of that city. Though meek and humble, he was a fierce defender of holy Orthodoxy, which was then under attack by the Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). For his fearless defense of the holy Icons, Gregory was arrested at the Emperor’s orders and brought in chains to Constantinople. Brought before Leo, the holy Patriarch told him clearly that he was a heretic and an enemy of the Church. The enraged Emperor had Gregory scourged, then sent into exile, where he reposed three years later.