January 9 (old calendar) / January 22 (new)
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January 9 (old calendar) / January 22 (new)

Afterfeast of the Theophany. Martyr Polyeuctus of Melitene in Armenia (259). Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia (1570). Prophet Shemaiah (Samaia, Semeias—3[4] Kings 12:22—10th c. B.C.). St. Peter, Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia (4th c.). St. Eustratius the Wonderworker (9th c.).

Martyr Polyeuctus

9 janvier

Saint Polyeuctus was the first martyr in the Armenian city of Meletine. He was a soldier under the emperor Decius (249-251) and he later suffered for Christ under the emperor Valerian (253-259). The saint was friend also of Nearchos, a fellow-soldier and firm Christian, but Polyeuctus, though he led a virtuous life, remained a pagan.

When the persecution against Christians began, Nearchos said to Polyeuctus, “Friend, we shall soon be separated, for they will take me to torture, and you alas, will renounce your friendship with me.” Polyeuctus told him that he had seen Christ in a dream, Who took his soiled military cloak from him and dressed him in a radiant garment. “Now,” he said, “I am prepared to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Enflamed with zeal, Saint Polyeuctus went to the city square, and tore up the edict of Decius which required everyone to worship idols. A few moments later, he met a procession carrying twelve idols through the streets of the city. He dashed the idols to the ground and trampled them underfoot.

His father-in-law, the magistrate Felix, who was responsible for enforcing the imperial edict, was horrified at what Saint Polyeuctus had done and declared that he had to die for this. “Go, bid farewell to your wife and children,” said Felix. Paulina came and tearfully entreated her husband to renounce Christ. His father-in-law Felix also wept, but Saint Polyeuctus remained steadfast in his resolve to suffer for Christ.

With joy he bent his head beneath the sword of the executioner and was baptized in his own blood. Soon, when the Church of Christ in the reign of Saint Constantine had triumphed throughout all the Roman Empire, a church was built at Meletine in honor of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus. Many miracles were worked through the intercession of Saint Polyeuctus. In this very church the parents of Saint Euthymius the Great (January 20) prayed fervently for a son. The birth of this great luminary of Orthodoxy in the year 376 occurred through the help of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus.

Saint Polyeuctus was also venerated by Saint Acacius, Bishop of Meletine (March 31), a participant in the Third Ecumenical Council, and a great proponent of Orthodoxy. In the East, and also in the West, the holy Martyr Polyeuctus is venerated as a patron saint of vows and treaty agreements.

The Polyeucte Overture of French composer Paul Dukas is only one of many pieces of classical music inspired by the saints. It premiered in January of 1892. French dramatist Pierre Corneille has also written a play, Polyeucte (1642), based on the martyr’s life.

TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA

Troparion of the Theophany, tone 1

When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan The worship of the Trinity was made manifest For the voice of the Father bore witness to You And called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself And have enlightened the world, glory to You!

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

Your holy martyr Polyeuctus, O Lord, through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Kontakion of the saint, tone 4

When the Savior bowed his head in the Jordan, the heads of the dragons were crushed; when Polyeuctus was beheaded, the deceiver was put to shame.

Kontakion  of the Theophany, tone 4

Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light.

Hebrews 9:8-10, 15-23 (Epistle)

8

the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.

9

It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience-

10

concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

15

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

16

For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17

For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

18

Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

19

For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

20

saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

21

Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

22

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

23

Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

 

Mark 8:22-26 (Gospel)

22

Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.

23

So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.

24

And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”

25

Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

26

Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

 

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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