On February 7, the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Saint Parthenios the Miracle Worker, who is the Patron Saint of cancer patients, as he is known to have performed countless miracles for those battling the disease. Not only did he heal people with cancer during his lifetime, but he has continued to do so since his repose.
Agios Parthenios, Bishop of Lampsacus, was a native of the city of Melitoupolis (in northwestern Asia Minor), where his father Christopher served as a deacon. The youth did not receive adequate schooling, but he learned the Holy Scripture by attending church services. He had a good heart and distributed to the poor the money he earned working as a fisherman.
Filled with the grace of God, Saint Parthenios from age eighteen healed the sick in the name of Christ, cast out demons and worked other miracles. Learning of the young man’s virtuous life, Bishop Philetus of Melitoupolis educated him and ordained him, presbyter.
In 325, during the reign of Constantine the Great, Archbishop Achilles of Cyzicus made him bishop of the city of Lampsacus (Asia Minor). In the city were many pagans, and the saint fervently began to spread the faith in Christ, confirming it through many miracles and by healing the sick.
The people began to turn from their pagan beliefs, and the saint went to the emperor Constantine the Great seeking permission to tear down the pagan temple and build a Christian church in its place. The emperor received the saint with honor, gave him a decree authorizing the destruction of the pagan temple, and provided him with the means to build a church. Returning to Lampsacus, Saint Parthenios had the pagan temple torn down and built a beautiful church of God in the city.
In one of the razed temples, he found a large marble slab which he thought would be very suitable as an altar. The saint ordered work to begin on the stone and to move it to the church. Through the malice of the devil, who became enraged at the removal of the stone from the pagan temple, the cart overturned and killed the driver Eutychian. Saint Parthenios restored him to life by his prayer and shamed the devil, who wanted to frustrate the work of God.
The Saint was so kind that he refused to heal to no one who came to him, or who chanced to meet him by the wayside, whether he suffered from bodily illnesses or was tormented by unclean spirits. People even stopped going to physicians, since Saint Parthenios healed all the sick for free. With the great power of the name of Christ, the Saint banished a host of demons from people, from their homes, and from the waters of the sea.
Having shown people the great power of faith in Christ, the saint converted a multitude of idol-worshippers to the true God.
Saint Parthenios died peacefully and was solemnly buried beside the cathedral church of Lampsacus, which he built.
For this virtuous behaviour of his, the Bishop of Melitopoli, Philipos (or Philitos) consecrated him a presbyter. Later the Bishop of Kyzikos Achillios (or Ascholios) consecrated him Bishop in Lampsakos. The virtue and respect he had within his soul was of such magnitude that God endowed him with the charisma of performing miracles and to cure any disease. That’s why people with cancer turned to him.
Saint Parthenios is considered the Patron of cancer patients because he cured and continues curing many battling the disease. When he passed away, the majority of his folk were pious Christians, effective members of the church of Christ.
Today is also the name day of Parthenios and Parthenia.