Sunday, June 18, 2000

Warrior Series: St. Leontius

THE HOLY MARTYR LEONTIUS (73 A.D.)


(June 18) Leontius was a Roman commander in Tripoli in Phoenicia during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. He was born in Hellas [Greece] "of great physical stature, powerful, strong and brave in battles." Hadrian, the imperial deputy, sent a military detachment to arrest Leontius, for Hadrian was a fierce adversary and persecutor of Christians. Hypatius, the senior officer of this detachment, became ill enroute with a bitter fever because of which the detachment had to slow down their march. One night an angel of God appeared to Hypatius and said to him: "If you want to be well, cry out three times toward heaven with all your soldiers: 'O God of Leontius help me!' "

Hypatius informed his companions of his vision and all in unison cried out as the angel instructed and immediately Hypatius became well. This miracle astonished all but especially Theodulus. Hypatius and Theodulus then went ahead of the other soldiers to seek Commander Leontius. Leontius received them graciously and served them. When he expounded his faith in Christ to them, their hearts burned with love for Christ and, at that moment, a bright cloud descended upon Hypatius and Theodulus and dew from a cloud descended upon them. That was the Holy Spirit of God Himself baptizing these converted souls and St. Leontius, at that moment, spoke these words: "In the name of the All-holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The evil Hadrian, learning that Hypatius and Theodulus became Christians, ordered that they be scourged without mercy and following that to be beheaded with an axe. And so, these two spiritual children of Leontius died.

Then Hadrian prescribed cruel tortures for Leontius but Leontius remained unwavering in his holy faith. His entire body was covered with wounds but he diligently prayed to God not to abandon him. In the midst of the cruelest torments, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, encouraged and comforted him. Finally, they knocked the martyr Leontius to the ground and beat him until he gave up his soul to God. The sufferings of St. Leontius was personally witnessed by Kir Notarius who recorded all that he saw on lead tablets and placed them in the martyr's grave. St. Leontius suffered honorably in the year 73 A.D.


HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT LEONTIUS
Leontius, the heart of a lion,
A lion's heart and name,
Of his God, he was not ashamed
But, before all, confessed Christ,
The Savior of the world, Christ the God.
Youth, strength and commandership scorned
For the sake of the truth of the Crucified Christ
And [Who] from death, resurrected gloriously.
Flattered, hosted, glorified and favored with gifts,
He, his God did not deny,
Flogged, spat upon, scraped and crucified,
He, his God, did not deny,
But, the greater the torment and ridicule
The flame of faith greater and brighter.
The Roman Empire and all the powers of Hades
Against him had turned,
But he knew that alone, he was not.
For, beside him, stood Christ.
A pillar of stone, amidst the angry reeds,
A pillar of fire among the slaves of darkness.
By his faith, he amazed the people,
To live eternally, his life he gave.

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