Sunday, July 26, 2009

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary, and those with him

Icon of St. Panteleimon the Great-Martyr and Unmercenary - Commemorated on July 27 (with scenes from his life) - St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai - 13th Century (source)
   
"The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgius, and he was named Pantoleon. His mother St Euboula (March 30) was a Christian. She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia under the renowned physician Euphrosynus. Pantoleon came to the attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as royal physician when he finished his schooling.

The nativity of St. Panteleimon to St. Euvoule (source)
   
Icon depicting Sts. Euboule (the mother of St. Panteleimon - March 30th), Panteleimon and Hermolaos (source)
   
The hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates, survivors of the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. St Hermolaus saw Pantoleon time and again when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited St Hermolaus every day.

Sts. Panteleimon and Hermolaos (source)
 
St. Panteleimon and his teacher, St. Hermolaos (source)
   
Icon of St. Hermolaos, the Hieromartyr and Unmercenary (source)
   
One day the saint found a dead child on the street. He had been bitten by a great snake, which was still beside the child's body. Pantoleon began to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to revive the dead child and to destroy the venomous reptile. He firmly resolved that if his prayer were fulfilled, he would become a follower of Christ and receive Baptism. The child rose up alive, and the snake died before Pantoleon's eyes.

St. Panteleimon praying, and resurrecting the child bitten by the snake (source)
   
After this miracle, Pantoleon was baptized by St Hermolaus with the name Panteleimon (meaning "all-merciful"). Speaking with Eustorgius, St Panteleimon prepared him to accept Christianity.

Christ blessing Sts. Panteleimon and Hermolaos, along with Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Sts. Kosmas and Damian, and Sts. Cyrus and John (http://ia600102.us.archive.org/13/items/Icoane/07260727SfMcErmolaeSiPantelimon.jpg)
   
[On one occasion, when he restored the sight of a certain blind man by calling on the Divine Name, he enlightened also the eyes of this man's soul to the knowledge of the truth. This also became the cause for the martyrdom of him who had been blind, since when he was asked by whom and in what manner his eyes had been opened, in imitation of that blind man of the Gospel he confessed with boldness both who the physician was and the manner of his healing. For this he was put to death immediately. [This blind man, who was healed by St. Panteleimon and who confessed Christ and accepted martyrdom, is also commemorated on July 27th] (taken from: http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=143)]

When the father saw how his son healed a blind man by invoking Jesus Christ, he then believed in Christ and was baptized by St Hermolaus together with the man whose sight was restored.

St. Panteleimon healing the blind man (source)
 
After the death of his father, St Panteleimon dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the unfortunate and the needy. He treated all those who turned to him without charge, healing them in the name of Jesus Christ. He visited those held captive in prison. These were usually Christians, and he healed them of their wounds. In a short time, reports of the charitable physician spread throughout the city. Forsaking the other doctors, the inhabitants began to turn only to St Panteleimon.

St. Panteleimon, with scenes from his life (source)
 
The envious doctors told the emperor that St Panteleimon was healing Christian prisoners. Maximian urged the saint to refute the charge by offering sacrifice to idols. St Panteleimon confessed himself a Christian, and suggested that a sick person, for whom the doctors held out no hope, should be brought before the emperor. Then the doctors could invoke their gods, and Panteleimon would pray to his God to heal the man. A man paralyzed for many years was brought in, and pagan priests who knew the art of medicine invoked their gods without success. Then, before the very eyes of the emperor, the saint healed the paralytic by calling on the name of Jesus Christ. The ferocious Maximian executed the healed man, and gave St Panteleimon over to fierce torture.

St. Panteleimon being tortured, and Christ appearing to strengthen him, in the form of his teacher, St. Hermolaos (source)

The Lord appeared to the saint and strengthened him before his sufferings. They suspended the Great Martyr Panteleimon from a tree and scraped him with iron hooks, burned him with fire and then stretched him on the rack, threw him into a cauldron of boiling tar, and cast him into the sea with a stone around his neck. Throughout these tortures the martyr remained unhurt, and denounced the emperor.

Icon of St. Panteleimon with scenes from his life (source)
 
At this time the priests Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates were brought before the court of the pagans. All three confessed their faith in the Savior and were beheaded (July 26).

By order of the emperor they brought the Great Martyr Panteleimon to the circus to be devoured by wild beasts. The animals, however, came up to him and licked his feet. The spectators began to shout, "Great is the God of the Christians!" The enraged Maximian ordered the soldiers to stab with the sword anyone who glorified Christ, and to cut off the head of the Great Martyr Panteleimon.

They led the saint to the place of execution and tied him to an olive tree. While the martyr prayed, one of the soldiers struck him with a sword, but the sword became soft like wax and inflicted no wound. The saint completed his prayer, and a Voice was heard from Heaven, calling the passion-bearer by his new name and summoning him to the heavenly Kingdom.

Miraculous icon of St. Panteleimon with scenes from his life, from his Monastery on Mount Athos (source)
   
[Another account: "As the soldier raised his sword to behead the Saint, the sword melted as if it were made of wax. The soldiers fell to their knees and admitted their beliefs in Christ. The Saint prayed for them and forgave them for their sins. A voice came from heaven, saying to Pantoleonta that all he had asked for had been granted and that from this time on he would he known not as Pantoleonta, but as Panteleimon (All-merciful)." (source)]

Hearing the Voice, the soldiers fell down on their knees before the holy martyr and begged forgiveness. They refused to continue with the execution, but St Panteleimon told them to fulfill the emperor's command, because otherwise they would have no share with him in the future life. The soldiers tearfully took their leave of the saint with a kiss.

Icon of Sts. George and Panteleimon the Great-martyrs, holding their sacred heads as symbols of their martyrdom for Christ. (The one scroll roughly reads: "Behold our heads cut off for You", while the other, "I see you O Martyrs, and bestow on you crowns.") "Saint Panteleimon is one of the Holy Unmercenaries, and is held in special honor among them, even as Saint George is among the Martyrs." (source) (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)
   
When the saint was beheaded, the olive tree to which the saint was tied became covered with fruit. Many who were present at the execution believed in Christ. The saint's body was thrown into a fire, but remained unharmed, and was buried by Christians . St Panteleimon's servants Laurence, Bassos and Probus witnessed his execution and heard the Voice from Heaven. They recorded the life, the sufferings and death of the saint.

The Dormition of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr (source)
   
Portions of the holy relics of the Great Martyr Panteleimon were distributed throughout all the Christian world [including the Shrine of St. Paraskevi Greenlawn, NY, the Chapel of St. Panteleimon in St. Anthony's Monastery, Arizona, Vatopedi and Philotheou Monastery, St. Panteleimon's Skete, Mount Athos, Putna Monastery and Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Romania, and many other places]. His venerable head is now located at the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon on Mt. Athos [while another portion is in Panachrantos Monastery on Andros].


Icon of St. Panteleimon the Great-Martyr, and a portion of his sacred Skull, treasured in Panachrantos Monastery, Andros, Greece (source)
 
Close-up of the miraculous, myrrh-streaming portion of the Holy Skull of St. Panteleimon, treasured by Panachrantou Monastery, Athos (source)

The veneration of the holy martyr in the Russian Orthodox Church was already known in the twelfth century. Prince Izyaslav ( in Baptism Panteleimon), the son of St Mstislav the Great, had an image of St Panteleimon on his helmet. Through the intercession of the saint he remained alive during a battle in the year 1151. On the Feast of the Great Martyr Panteleimon, Russian forces won two naval victories over the Swedes (in 1714 near Hanhauze and in 1720 near Grenham).

St Panteleimon is venerated in the Orthodox Church as a mighty saint, and the protector of soldiers. This aspect of his veneration is derived from his first name Pantoleon, which means "a lion in everything". His second name, Panteleimon, given him at Baptism, which means "all-merciful", is manifest in the veneration of the martyr as a healer. The connection between these two aspects of the saint is readily apparent in that soldiers, receiving wounds more frequently than others, are more in need of a physician-healer. Christians waging spiritual warfare also have recourse to this saint, asking him to heal their spiritual wounds.

The holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon is invoked in the Mystery of Anointing the Sick, at the Blessing of Water, and in the Prayers for the Sick.

Picture of the Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Mount Athos (source)
   
The Feast of the holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon is the patronal Feast of the Russian monastery on Athos. The forefeast starts eight days before the Feast. Each day after Vespers, Moliebens are sung with Canons in each of the eight tones. Thus, each day has its own particular Canon. The second day of the Feast is the monastery feastday. On this day a general Panikhida is served after Vespers in memory of the founders and benefactors of the monastery, and kollyva (kutia: wheat or rice boiled with honey) is blessed and distributed.

The verses of the Ninth Ode of the Canon of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon from the manuscript of the Athonite service are reprinted in the "Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate" (1975, No.3, pp. 45-47)." (source)
 
Miraculous icon of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr from the Skete of the Saint (Koutloumousiou, Mount Athos); after the Saint appeared to Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, the Elder related that he looked very similar to his appearance in this icon (source)
 
St. Panteleimon continues to work many miracles and grant many blessings on many throughout the world. He was especially dear to many of the Saints of our Church. See the following pages which discuss appearances and healings of St. Panteleimon to St. Nicholas Planas, Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, Elder Paisios and a Monk Daniel of the Kalyve of St. John Chrysostom of Koutloumousiou.
 
The icon of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary, decorated for his feast, in the monastery of the same name, Penteli (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/41734354, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1P08OXb2-w4/TjAM_s3T8gI/AAAAAAAAADw/ei9Q7k4dpVM/s1600/DSC08609.JPG)
  
See the following link for the history of St. Panteleimon Monastery, Mount Athoshttp://www.mountathos.gr/active.aspx?mode=en{dd72195d-e217-46b5-b9dd-9b47d366b2dc}View.

At the following link is a recording (in Greek) of Fr. Evdokimos, the Abbot of Panachrantou Monastery, Andros which treasures part of the Skull of St. Panteleimon. He discusses various spiritual topics, as well as miracles that have occurred through St. Panteleimon: http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2009/11/blog-post_8436.html. It is interesting to note that at first Fr. Evdokimos was uneasy hearing that the Skull of St. Panteleimon was on Andros as he had previously venerated it on Mount Athos. However, the Saint appeared to him and reassuringly showed him the part of his Skull which was on Mount Athos, and the other part, including some of his teeth, which was at Panachrantou Monastery of Andros. Fr. Evdokimos sought permission to open the Saint's reliquary, and confirmed that it was the same portion that the Saint had revealed to him in a dream.

May St. Panteleimon the Great-martyr and Unmercenary help us all, intercede for us, and grant us healing of soul and body!


Icon of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s1660/s1660004.jpg)

Apolytikion of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr - Third Tone
Holy Laurel-bearer and Physician Panteleimon, make intercession to our merciful God, that He grant our souls remission of offenses.


Angel holding a scroll with the above Apolytikion of St. Panteleimon (source)

Kontakion. Mode pl. 1.
Imitator you were of the merciful God. You received as a grace from Him the art of medicine. O Medallist and Martyr of Christ our God, by your prayers you can cure the diseases of our souls. Drive the scandals of age-old enemy away from those who cry unceasingly, ʺSave us, O Lord.ʺ

Oikos
O Christ-loving people, let us piously extol the memory of the Unmercenary, the contest of the Valliant one, the cures of the Faithful one, so that we may receive mercy, and especially those of us who, like me, have defiled our temples, for he provides remedies for body and soul. Therefore, brethren, let us earnestly endeavor to hold him fast in our hearts, for he delivers from error those who cry unceasingly,
ʺSave us, O Lord.ʺ
 
   
Excerpt from the Akathist to St. Panteleimon

Kontakion 1
Chosen passion-bearer of Christ and gracious healer, who freely grantest healing to the sick, we praise thee in songs as our protector. As thou hast boldness with the Lord, free us from all harm and sickness who cry with love to thee: Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Most Holy Saint and Martyr Panteleimon-the-Healer, intercede to the Most Merciful God for [Name(s)] for the healing of his (or her, their) soul(s) and body (bodies).


Ekos 1
We know thee, glorious Panteleimon, as an earthly angel and a heavenly man. For adorned with angelic purity and martyrdom thou hast passed from earth to Heaven, where with angels and all the saints standing before the throne of the Lord of Glory, thou prayest for all of us on earth who venerate thee with these invocations:

Rejoice, torch of piety!
Rejoice, most glorious lamp of the Church!
Rejoice, adornment of venerable martyrs!
Rejoice, support of the faithful in unflinching endurance!
Rejoice, outstanding boast of youth!
Rejoice, warrior of Christ of invincible courage!
Rejoice, thou who having grown up in the world wast not of the world!
Rejoice, angel in the flesh, surpassing mortals!
Rejoice, all-blessed dweller in Heaven!
Rejoice, vessel of divine knowledge!
Rejoice, thou by whom faith has been exalted!
Rejoice, thou by whom delusion has been dethroned!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!
(taken from: http://stbarnabasonline.org/index.php/+-Akahist-to-Great-Healer-Panteleimon/Akathist-to-Great-Martyr-Healer-Panteleimon.html)

See the following link for a subsequent post with the full akathist to St. Panteleimon: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2012/02/akathist-to-st-panteleimon-great-martyr.html.
  
Icon of St. Panteleimon (Source: www.eikonografos.com)

Prayer to St Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (July 27 / Aug 9)
Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, thou imitator of God's mercy! Look down in thy loving kindness and hearken unto us, sinners, who offer heartfelt prayers before thy holy icon. Ask for us from the Lord God, before Whom the Angels stand in heaven, remission of our sins and transgressions. Heal the ills of body and soul of the servants of God whom we here commemorate, who are here present, and of all Orthodox Christians who seek thy help. For behold, we, who because of our sins are possessed by bitter ills and have no help or consolation, yet flee to thee for refuge, since thou hast been given Grace to pray for us and to heal every ill and every disease. Grant, therefore, to all of us, by thy holy prayers, health and strength of soul and body, a good growth in the Faith and in devotion, and all that is needful unto this temporal life and unto our salvation: So that, having been granted great and rich mercy through thee, we may glorify thee and Him that bestoweth all good things, our God Who is wondrous in His Saints, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(From "Polny Sbornik Molitv", pp. 214-215: Prayer 3.St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney (Dallas area) Texas An Orthodox Christian Trebnic; (taken from: http://www.orthodox.net/trebnic/to-panteleimon.html))

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary, with scenes from his life (http://fdathanasiou.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/pant.jpg)


Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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