Feast Day of Holy Martyr Themistocles


On December 21 the Greek Orthodox church commemorates the Holy Martyr Themistocles, protector of the persecuted Christians.

Screen Shot 2018 12 21 at 10.41.22 am
Feast Day of Holy Martyr Themistocles

Holy Martyr Themistocles lived in the city of Myra of Lycia during the reign of the persecutor of Christians, Decius (249-251). Themistocles was a shepherd. During the persecution, he concealed within his home a Christian named Dioskorides, while he himself went out to the pursuers. They tortured him cruelly, and he received a martyr’s crown for Christ in the year 251.

St. Themistocles was born in Myra of Lycia in the 3rd century AD. He was a shepherd in trade and a fervent Christian full of goodness. In the mid-3rd century AD, emperor Decius began a great persecution of Christians. The leader of Lycia then was Asclepius. His soldiers were searching for Christians in the area and led them to the Asclepius to try them.

One of those Christians was Dioscorides. In 250 AD, the soldiers of Asclepios pursued Dioscorides, who fled to the mountain where St. Themistocles was herding his sheep. He sought help from the Saint, who naturally hid Dioscorides from his pursuers. At one point, the soldiers arrived and asked St. Themistocles if he had seen the “fugitive”. The Saint told them to stop pursuing Dioscorides and to grant him life. They told him that they would take him unless he revealed what he knew. And this is what happened.

The Saint was led to Asclepius’ court, where he amazed those standing near with the goodness of his word and the wisdom of his responses. Asclepius ordered him to give up Dioscorides so that he could save his life and be saved from the tortures he would face. St. Themistocles, fervent Christian that he was, responded that it did not matter if they tortured or killed him. He responded that it would be his joy to witness his faith in Jesus Christ.

Asclepius ordered them to torture the Saint and deliver him to the executioners. They stretched the Saint’s limbs and beat him in the stomach, where his internal organs were. They continued to hang him from a tree to flay him with iron claws. The Saint from the tree said to Asclepius that on the tree (in other words, the Cross), Christ was glorified and saved the world from its sins. Asclepius then ordered the death of St. Themistocles, who the executioners led outside of the city, where he was finally martyred. He was thrown onto bushes with thorns, and there delivered his soul to the Creator.

The city's Christians buried the body of St. Themistocles and “planted” the shepherd’s staff that he had, as a shepherd, next to his grave. In a miraculous manner, this staff sprouted and became an almond tree. For many years after the death of the Saint, the almonds healed the sick.

Today is the Name Day of Themis, Themistoklis, Ioulianos, Iouliani.

Xronia Polla!