Hieromartyr Pancratius, bishop of Taormina in Sicily (1st c.)
He was born in Antioch during the years that Christ walked in the flesh in Palestine. His parents, hearing of Christ’s miracles and teaching, journeyed to Jerusalem, bringing their young son Pancratius. There all three of them saw and listened to Jesus Himself, and met the disciple Peter as well. After the Ascension, Pancratius and his parents were baptised in Antioch (some accounts say by the Apostle Peter himself). The Apostle Peter installed Pancratius as bishop of Taormina in Sicily, where he worked great wonders and brought many to Christ.
A pagan general named Aquilinus, hearing that Taormina had become Christian, set out with his army to destroy the town. Pancratius instructed the faithful not to fear and went out to confront the army, armed only with the sign of the Cross. When the army came near the town, the soldiers were seized with confusion and fear, fell on their own weapons and attacked one another, and finally withdrew in terror. Thus the city was saved by the prayers of the holy bishop. Later, pagans stoned him to death, granting him a martyr’s end. His relics may still be venerated in Rome.