Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St. Charalambos the Hieromartyr of Magnesia, and those with him


"The Hieromartyr Charalampus, Bishop of Magnesia, the Martyrs Porphyrius and Baptus and Three Women Martyrs suffered in the year 202.

St Charalampus, Bishop of Magnesia (Asia Minor), successfully spread faith in Christ the Savior, guiding people on the way to salvation. News of his preaching reached Lucian, the governor of the district, and the military commander Lucius. The saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols.

St. Charalambos confessing Christ (http://www.tv4e.gr/)

Despite the bishop's advanced age (he was 113 years old), he was subjected to monstrous tortures. They lacerated his body with iron hooks, and scraped all the skin from his body. During this the saint turned to his tormentors, "I thank you, brethren, that you have restored my spirit, which longs to pass over to a new and everlasting life!"

St. Charalambos being cut with iron hooks (http://www.tv4e.gr/)

Seeing the Elder's endurance and his complete lack of malice, two soldiers (Porphyrius and Baptus) openly confessed Christ, for which they were immediately beheaded with a sword. Three women who were watching the sufferings of St Charalampus also began to glorify Christ, and were quickly martyred.

The enraged Lucius seized the instruments of torture and began to torture the holy martyr, but suddenly his forearms were cut off as if by a sword. The governor then spat in the face of the saint, and immediately his head was turned around so that he faced backwards.

Then Lucius entreated the saint to show mercy on him, and both torturers were healed through the prayers of St Charalampus. During this a multitude of witnesses came to believe in Christ. Among them also was Lucius, who fell at the feet of the holy bishop, asking to be baptized.

Lucian reported these events to the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), who was then at Pisidian Antioch (western Asia Minor). The emperor ordered St Charlampos to be brought to him in Antioch. Soldiers twisted the saint's beard into a rope, wound it around his neck, and used it to drag him along. They also drove an iron nail into his body. The emperor then ordered them to torture the bishop more intensely, and they began to burn him with fire, a little at a time. But God protected the saint, and he remained unharmed.

St. Charalambos being tortured (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

Many miracles were worked through his prayer: he raised a dead youth, and healed a man tormented by devils for thirty-five years, so that many people began to believe in Christ the Savior.

[When St. Haralambos was being tortured, the persecuting emperor found out about his miracle-working power and ordered an insane man to be brought to Haralambos so that the emperor could be convinced that Haralambos could heal him. The devil tormented this man for thirty-five years driving him into the wilderness and hills and hurling him into mud or into gorges. When this deranged person approached Haralambos, the demon sensed a sweet-smelling fragrance emanating from this holy man and shouted: "I beg you, O servant of God, do not torment me before my time, rather command me and I will depart and, if you wish, I will tell you how it came about that I entered into this man." The saint commanded the demon to relate the story. The demon said: "This man wanted to steal from his neighbor and thought to himself: `If I don't kill the man first, I will not be able to seize his goods.' He proceeded and killed his neighbor. Having caught him in the act, I entered him and behold for thirty-four years I dwelt in him." Upon hearing this, the saint of God commanded the demon to depart from the man immediately and to leave him in peace. The demon departed and the demented man was restored to health and became tranquil. (http://www.westsrbdio.org/prolog/prolog.htm)]

St. Charalampos depicted binding and flogging the demons through the power of Christ (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s2185/s2185006.jpg)
  
Even Galina, the daughter of the emperor, began to believe in Christ, and twice smashed the idols in a pagan temple. On the orders of the emperor they beat the saint about the mouth with stones. They also wanted to set his beard on fire, but the flames burned the torturer.

Full of wickedness, Septimus Severus and an official named Crispus hurled blasphemy at the Lord, mockingly summoning Him to come down to the earth, and boasting of their own power and might. The Lord sent an earthquake, and great fear fell upon all, the impious ones were both suspended in mid-air held by invisible bonds, and only by the prayer of the saint were they put down. The dazed emperor was shaken in his former impiety, but again quickly fell into error and gave orders to torture the saint.

St. Charalambos praying before his executioners (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

And finally, he sentenced St Charalampus to beheading with a sword. During his final prayer, the heavens opened and the saint saw the Savior and a multitude of angels. The holy martyr asked Him to grant that the place where his relics would repose would never suffer famine or disease. He also begged that there would be peace, prosperity, and an abundance of fruit, grain, and wine in that place, and that the souls of these people would be saved. The Lord promised to fulfill his request and ascended to heaven, and the soul of the hieromartyr Charalampus followed after Him. By the mercy of God, the saint died before he could be executed. Galina buried the martyr's body with great honor.

The martyrdom of St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s2185/s2185002.jpg)
  
In Greek hagiography and iconography St Charalampus is regarded as a priest, while Russian sources seem to regard him as a bishop."
(http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=100475)
  
The miraculous portion of the Skull of St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr, treasured by the Monastery of St. Stephen, Meteora (http://romfea.gr/images/stories/photos/2012/02/diafora/synedr/kara-ag.xaralampous.JPG)
  
St. Charalampos is greatly loved and works many wonders throught the whole Christian world. He is especially held in great honor in parts of Greece, as he was not only from Thessaly, but many of his relics are preserved there (e.g. a large portion of his Sacred Skull is treasured by the Monastery of St. Stephen, Meteora) and he has healed and defended the Orthodox so many times.
   
The wonderworking hand of St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr, still wondrously incorrupt and in the gesture of blessing 1800 years after his sufferings for Christ. This is a great treasure of the Holy Monastery of the Mega Spileon (the Great Cave), Kalavryta, Greece (source)
   
For two pages of miracles of St. Charalambos from various parts of Greece, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/02/modern-miracles-of-st-charalambos-in.html and http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/02/miracle-of-st-charalampos-in-filiatra.html. May St. Charalambos intercede for us all and help us!


Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O wise Haralambos, you were proven an unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ; an ever-shining lamp of the universe. You shone in the world by your martyrdom. You delivered us from the moonless night of idolatry O blessed one. Wherefore, boldly intercede to Christ that we may be saved.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
O Priest-martyr, athlete, champion Haralambos, your relics are a priceless treasure of the Church. Wherefore she rejoices, glorifying the Creator.
 
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr, with scenes from his life (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s2185/s2185004.jpg)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

2 comments:

iceyicons said...

He is traditionally the saint who helps herders of livestock, so I entreat his help all the time for my own livestock. I am so grateful for his assistance, that I hope to complete an icon of him someday.

Claudia said...

St Haralambos is also known to be a healer of infectious diseases in whom I am witness to.
Glory be to God in the highest now and ever and unto the ages of ages Amen+++