St. Polyeuctus, Feb. 13

Saint Polyeuctus, martyred 259

Saint Polyeuctus, martyred in 259

Saint Polyeuctus of Melitene was a wealthy Roman army officer who was martyred at Melitene, Armenia, under Valerian. From OCA.org:

The saint was friend 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, St 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 St 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 St 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.

St Polyeuctus was also venerated by St Acacius, Bishop of Meletine, 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.

Many pieces of classical music, opera and plays have been inspired by him.

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