Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sts. Cyricus and Julita the Martyrs of Tarsus

Icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julitta with scenes from their life (taken from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/QuricusJulietIconLife.jpg)

Sts. Cyricus (Kyrikos, Quiricus) and Julita (Julitta, Ioulitta) the Martyrs of Tarsus - Commemorated on July 15

"The Holy Martyrs Cyricus and Julitta lived in the city of Iconium in the province of Lykaoneia in Asia Minor. St Julitta was descended from an illustrious family and was a Christian. Widowed early on, she raised her three-year old-son Cyricus (Quiricus). During the emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians, St Julitta departed the city with her son and two trustworthy servants, leaving behind her home, property, and servants.

Icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julita the Martyrs of Tarsus (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

Concealing her noble rank, she hid out first at Seleucia, and then at Tarsus. There around the year 305 she was recognized, arrested and brought to trial before the governor, Alexander. Strengthened by the Lord, she fearlessly answered the judge's questions, and firmly confessed her faith in Christ.

The governor gave orders to beat the saint with rods. During her torments St Julitta kept repeating, "I am a Christian, and will not offer sacrifice to demons."

Fresco depicting the martyrdom of Sts. Cyricus and Julitta (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s1098/s1098004.jpg)

The little boy Cyricus cried, seeing his mother being tortured, and wanted to go to her. The governor Alexander tried to sit him on his lap, but the boy broke free and shouted, "Let me go to my mother, I am a Christian." The governor threw the boy down from the high tribunal and kicked him down the stone steps. The boy struck his head on the sharp edges and died.

Fresco showing the martyrdom of Sts. Cyricus and Julita, from Decani Monastery (taken from: http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Menologion/July/CX4K3235_l.html)
St Julitta, seeing her lacerated son, gave thanks to God that He had permitted her child to be perfected before her, and to receive the unfading crown of martyrdom. After many cruel tortures St Julitta was beheaded with a sword.

The relics of Sts Cyricus and Julitta were uncovered during the reign of St Constantine the Great (May 21). A monastery was built near Constantinople in honor of these holy martyrs, and a church was built not far from Jerusalem.

We pray to Sts Cyricus and Julitta for family happiness, and the restoration of sick children to health." (http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=102040)

Icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julita (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s1098/s1098001.jpg)

As evident from the wide range of icons from Greek, Russian and other traditions, Sts. Cyricus and Julitta are honored by many throughout the world, and their relics exist in numerous churches for the healing and support of the faithful. One example: in Siderokastro, Greece, there is a convent dedicated to Sts. Cyricus and Julitta, founded in 1968, an it currently has 55 nuns occupying it (http://www.ipaserres.gr/files/nomos/mones.htm). May Sts. Cyricus and Julitta intercede for us all and help us!

Another icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julita (taken from: http://www.christopherklitou.com/icon_15_july_julitta_cerycus.htm)

Apolytikion of Sts. Cyricus and Julitta in the Fourth Tone
Blessed Julitta, Christ God's rational ewe-lamb, with holy Cyricus, her three-year-old offspring, stood at the judgment seat and with authority and great boldness they proclaimed the true Faith of the Christians. In no wise were they afraid of the threats of the tyrants; and now in Heaven, wearing precious crowns, they both rejoice as they stand before Christ our God.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
As the Martyr of Christ God, the chaste Julitta, in her arms bare Cyricus, she cried out in the stadium with manful courage and boundless joy: Thou art the strength of the Martyrs, O Christ my God.
(taken from: http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=128)

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

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