Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sts. Reginus and Orestes the Great Martyrs

Sts. Reginus and Orestes the Great Martyrs, who are celebrated on August 20th (taken from:

The saints were from the city of Chalcedon in Asia Minor. St. Reginus was a Christian and a soldier in the Roman army, where his Roman name was Vonomelix, which means Reginus, or Riginos in Greek. When he left to join the army, he sold all of his possessions and gave charity to the poor. In the army he lived an ascetical life to conquer his flesh, including strict fasting, eating dry bread only once a day.

Soon his fellow soldiers took notice of his piety, and reported him to the local government leader, Prezentinus the Commander. “Reginus,” he said, “sacrifice to the gods to save your life and be delivered from torture.” St. Reginus immediately responded resolutely “I don’t sacrifice to your false gods, but only to my God I offer a sacrifice of praise, because He is the true God who made heaven and earth, the sea and everything else that exists in it. I sacrifice to my God, who from the beginning created everything and man, and only to This God will I sacrifice. The gods you worship are deaf and speechless idols without breath and life.”

Hearing this strong response of St. Reginus, Prezentinos was filled with anger and with rage he ordered nine soldiers to lay the martyr on the ground and beat him. Lying on the ground, the brave martyr imitated the passion of Christ with patience and steadfastness by enduring the harsh and merciless beating of his fellow soldiers, until his flesh and the ground were made red from the blood of the Christian athlete. The soldiers tired, but the manliness of the struggler of Christ glorified the Lord Who made him worthy to be tortured for His name.

St. Reginus’ tortures did not cease, but the tyrant tried more perilous [ἐπώδυνες] methods. He sent for a brass pan, below which was lit a fire that was left to get very high, and then they laid St. Reginus in naked to be burned. However, the Lord, Who knows how to deliver His servants from the devil’s evil, heard the prayer of the righteous struggler and transformed the fire into dew, while St. Reginus remained unharmed without the smallest mark, like the Three Youths in the Furnace of fire.

This miracle amazed those who were found near that leader. Seeing that he was shamed and defeated by the Saint, Prezentinos began to tempt him, saying “Reginus, sacrifice to the gods and honor them, and I will give you greater honors than before. But if you don’t listen to me, I will throw you into the sea to become food for the fish.” St. Reginus then responded to the tyrant with these words: “Take the honors that you would grant me and the gifts given to you with you to the fires of hell. However much you hope to scare me with the depth of the sea, I don’t count it as anything, because God who preserved Jonah inside the belly of the great fish, He will preserve me too today from the sea. As for your wicked gods, o most-wicked one, I tell you that all of the gods of the nations are demons, which the Lord of the heavens made. ”

Then, the governor was greatly angered, and ordered that a great sack be brought to him, into which they put St. Reginus and they beat him with a lead rod, handed him over to sailors and asked them to go far into the sea and to throw him out of the boat, to become food for the fish. The sailors took their very precious load, proceeded 40 miles into the sea, threw in the sack with St. Reginus and left.

Listen my Christians and be amazed at the great protection which the Lord provides for His own who keep His holy commandments. As soon as the soldiers threw the Saint into the deep ocean, two dolphins came close, raised their fins and took him out safely. When the Saint appeared from afar on the back of a dolphin, this occurrence spread throughout the city like lightening, and a lot of people, including St. Orestes, went to the shore to see the miracle that took place, and they cried out “great is the God of the Christians”. The impious idolater governor, seeing the Saint coming out alive from the sea, thought that he had been saved by magic. The friend of St. Reginus, St. Orestes, preached Christ with boldness, and many from those idolaters believed in Christ. Prezentinos ordered that Sts. Reginus and Orestes be captured, along with many of those who became Christians, and put them in prison until the next day in order to think about which manner of a death sentence he would give them.

In prison, St. Reginus taught the new Christians the truths of the Gospel and strengthened them in the faith and to death, and also for grace of the name of Christ. In this joyous and spiritual gathering in the prison, guided by courage and fervent faith towards the true God, the captives raised fervent prayer to heaven, from which they waited divine strengthening which did not tarry. At dawn when their prayer reached its height, an angel of the Lord came and opened the doors of the prison. The prisoners were freed, and each left for wherever God led him. Sts. Reginus and Orestes and a few others were led by the grace of God to Cyprus, where idolatry was still the governing power, therefore it must have been the 3rd or 4th centuries when these events took place.

When they arrived in Cyprus, this band of faithful servants of Christ visited various places and lived in asceticism far from the world, however whoever would meet with the idolators would be killed by them [ὅσους συναντοῦσαν οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες τοὺς σκότωναν] The brave St. Reginus and his friend St. Orestes chose continue missionary work. They came to the area of Neapolis near Lemesos, and with great boldness preached Christ. Sometime later, they traveled to the village of Fasoula, eight kilometers from Lemesos. In the village was a center of idolatry, as it appears from the old ruins. There the inhabitants of the area tortured them and beheaded them. Some pious Christians who secretly followed what was taking place, went and took the relics of the Martyrs and buried them. Many years passed from then, and idolatry gave up its place to the holy faith of Christ. Then, as presented in the old Synaxarion, the holy Saints appeared in a dream to a pious priest, and showed him the place where their tomb was found. This pious priest searched in the place where the Saints showed him, and found the coffin which housed their remains. On the coffin was engraved the names of the Saints, along with the Synaxarion. This faithful priest, in honor of these Martyrs built an auspicious church in the name of the Saints, and painted the icon which was found in the church.

Today this magnificent church is ruined, but based on the foundations of the ancient church, a two meter wall was built. In this place, every year on the anniversary of the martyrdom of these Saints (August 20th) the community of Fasoulas festally liturgizes , and many faithful attend to honor the memory of the Saints, to thanks them for their wondrous powers which God granted them and which they use to heal the world. Under the edifice of the ancient church exists an unmarked [θολωτὸ] cave where the coffin which housed the relics of the Saints for so long still exists. There are a few stones in the tomb of Saints. These are wonderworking, and when someone places his afflicted limb on the tomb, it is healed.

The Church of Sts. Reginus and Orestes in Apliki Pitsilias, Cyprus (taken from:
The wonderworking renown of the Saints has passed beyond our island [Cyprus] and has reached England, as we will see in the account of the miracles. Sts. Reginus and Orestes received great honor from the community of Fasoulas, and also from our whole island. This we can see at the gathering of Christians in the Church on the day of their feast. Outside of Fasoulas, the Saints are honored in Apliki of Levkosias and Trimithousa of Pafos where exists a church dedicated to their memory.

With the intercessions of Your Saints Reginus and Orestes, Christ God, have mercy and save our souls. Amen.

(The life above and the hymns below are preliminary, amateur translations, summarized from:; more to come)

Icon of Sts. Reginus & Orestes the Great Martyrs of Cyprus - 20th of August (Icon by Rev. Christopher Klitou, taken from:

ΑΠΟΛΥΤΙΚΙΟΝ - Ήχος δ’ - Ταχύ προκατάλαβεΜαρτύρων σύλλογος νῦν εὐφραίνεται, ἀγγέλων ἄσμα, μεγαλύνομεν τὴν μνήμην ὑμῶν ἅγιοι, ἅπαντες μελωδοῦντες καὶ πιστῶς ἐκβοῶντες, χαίροντες τῆς Τριάδος, Δυὰς μαρτύρων καὶ κλέος Ρηγίνε καὶ Ὀρέστα, ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἀεῖ πρεσβεύετε.
Apolytikion of Sts. Reginus and Orestes – 4th ToneThe choir of Martyrs now rejoices, and with angels’ hymns, we magnify your memory O saints, all who sing and faithfully cry out, praising the Trinity, o Dyad of martyrs and boast Reginus and Orestes, ever intercede for us.

ΚΟΝΤΑΚΙΟΝ - Ήχος δ’ - Ο υψωθείς εν τώ ΣταυρώὩς θησαυρὸν πολυτελὴ ὁ Δεσπότης, καὶ κρήνην βρύουσα κρουνοὺς ἰαμάτων, τοὶς ἐπὶ γῆς παρέσχετο τὰ λείψανα ὑμῶν νόσους μὲν καθαίροντα, πάθημάτων ποικίλων χάριν βραβεύοντα, ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἀεννάως, διὸ συμφώνως Ρηγίνε τὴν ὑμῶν, Ὀρέστα πόθω τελοῦμεν πανήγυριν.

ΜΕΓΑΛΥΝΑΡΙΟΝΧαίροις ἀθλοφόρων ἡ ξυνωρίς, οἱ ἐκ Χαλκηδόνα ἀριστεύσαντες ἱερῶς, Ρηγίνε καὶ Ὀρέστα, ἐχθροῦ τὰς παρατάξεις κατενικήσατε.

Ἕτερον τοῦ Ἁγίου ΡηγίνουἜχων παρρησία πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν τῶν σοὶ πρόστρεχόντων, τί αἰτήματα συμπαθῶς τὰ πρὸς σωτηρία, δίδου τοῖς πρεσβεῖαι Ρηγίνε τῶν Μαρτύρων τὸ ἐγκαλλώπισμα.

Megalynarion of St. ReginusHaving boldness towards God, to those who flee to you, with sympathy, grant their requests towards salvation and your intercessions, O Reginus the boast of Martyrs.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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