Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sts. Cyrus and John the Holy Unmercenaries

Icon depicting the saints celebrated on January 31st (Sts. Cyrus, John, Athanasia, Theodota, Theoktista, Eudoxia, Claudius and Diodorus) (taken from:
SAINTS CYRUS AND JOHN, THE UNMERCENARY SAINTS AND MIRACLE-WORKERS (whose martyrdom, along with Sts. Athanasia, Theoktisti, Theodoti, and Eudokia, is celebrated on January 31st, and who are additionally celebrated at the transfer of their relics on June 28th)
These charitable and glorious saints were not blood brothers but were brothers in the spirit. At first, Cyrus lived in Alexandria, and as a physician he healed people by the power of Christ and by his knowledge of medicine. Learning that sickness mostly befalls man because of sin, Cyrus always directed the sick to purify their souls from sin through repentance and prayer and, thereby restore health to the body. When Diocletion's persecution against Christians began, Cyrus withdrew to Arabia where he received the monastic tonsure. He became as famous in Arabia as he was in Alexandria, so that people there also resorted to him for assistance.

Hearing about Cyrus, John, then a Roman officer in Edessa, came to Arabia to see him. Upon meeting, they loved one another as a brother loves a brother and remained together to live a life of asceticism.

At that time, a certain Christian woman named [Athanasia], together with her three daughters, was tortured by the persecutors in the town of Canopus. Hearing of this, Cyrus and John came to Canopus to encourage the mother and her daughters not to abandon the Faith. And truly, thanks to the counsel of these saints, [Athanasia] endured all tortures and, with her daughters, was martyred for Christ. The daughters of [Athanasia] were named: St. Theoctista, age 15; St. Theodota, age 13; and St. Eudocia, age 11. The tormentors then captured Cyrus and John, who, after imprisonment and torture were beheaded in the year 311 A.D. Numerous miracles were wrought by these martyrs, both during their lives and after their deaths. Their relics were translated to Rome during the reign of Emperor Arcadius. These saints are invoked for assistance during the Blessing of Water, in the Sacrament of Holy Unction and especially by those suffering from insomnia.

Fresco showing Sts. Athanasia, Theoktisti, Theodoti, and Eudokia, who were martyred along with Sts. Cyrus and John (taken from:
June 28 commemorates the translation of their relics from Canopus to Menuthis and the numerous miracles which occurred over their relics. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, prayed fervently to God to destroy the idolatrous impurity in the town of Menuthis where a pagan temple was located and where the power of the demons ruled. An angel of God appeared to the patriarch and told him that Menuthis would be cleansed of its impurity if he translated the relics of Saints Cyrus and John to that town. The patriarch did this immediately. He translated the relics of the martyrs to Menuthis and built a church there in honor of Saints Cyrus and John. Ammonius, the son of Julian the mayor of Alexandria, was healed of scorfula; a Theodore healed of blindness; Isidore of Menuthis was cured of a decaying disease of the liver; the wife of Theodore from poisoning, a Eugenia of dropsy as well as many other people were healed of various diseases and torments by the relics of these saints. This all occurred in the year 412 A.D. (texts above taken from the Prologue of Ochrid by St. Nikolai,, from January 31st and June 28th)

Fresco from Decani Monastery depicting St. Sampson (June 27th) and the martyrdom of Sts. Cyrus and John (taken from:
Their tomb became a renowned shrine in Egypt, and a place of universal pilgrimage. It was found in the area of the modern day resort near Alexandria named Abu Kyr. (taken from:

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strenghten the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
With a great voice, O ye faithful, let us hymn the great physicians of the world, the pair beloved of Christ, the luminaries who are radiant with the beams of healing; and as we stand in their temple, we cry out: Cyrus and John, the bestowers of miracles and healers of the ailing, shine forth to the ends of the world.
Sts. Cyrus and John the Unmercenaries (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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