Thursday, February 29, 2024

Martyr Myron the Presbyter of Cyzicus (17 August)

The Holy Martyr Myron was a presbyter in Achaia (Greece), and lived during the third century. He suffered in the year 250 under the emperor Decius (249-251). The presbyter was gentle and kind to people, but he was also courageous in the defense of his spiritual children.

On the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy. The local governor Antipater came into the church with soldiers so as to arrest those praying there and to subject them to torture. Saint Myron began to plead for his flock, accusing the governor of cruelty, and for this the saint was delivered over to be tortured.

They took Saint Myron and struck his body with iron rods. They then threw the presbyter into a red-hot oven, but the Lord preserved the martyr, but about 150 men standing nearby were scorched by the fire. The governor then began to insist that the martyr worship idols. Saint Myron firmly refused to do this, so Antipater ordered the leather thongs to be cut from his skin. Saint Myron took one of the leather thongs and threw it in the face of his tormentor.

Falling into a rage, Antipater gave orders to strike Saint Myron all over his stripped body, and then to give the martyr to wild beasts to be eaten. The beasts would not touch him, however. Seeing himself defeated, Antipater in his blind rage committed suicide. They then took Saint Myron to the city of Cyzicus, where he was beheaded by the sword.

Saint Myron was a priest during the reign of Decius, when Antipater was ruler of Achaia. On the day of our Lord’s Nativity, Antipater entered the church to seize the Christians and punish them. Saint Myron, kindled with holy zeal, roundly insulted Antipater, for which he was hung up and scraped, then cast into a raging furnace, but was preserved unharmed. When Myron refused to worship the idols, Antipater commanded that strips be cut in the Saint’s flesh from his shoulders to his feet; the Saint took one of the strips of his flesh and flung it in the tyrant’s face. He was beaten, and scraped again upon his beaten flesh; then he was thrown to wild beasts, but when Antipater saw them leaving off their fierce nature and protecting the Saint from harm, he was overcome with unbearable shame and slew himself. The Saint was then sent to Cyzicus, where the proconsul had him beheaded, about the year 250.

Myron was a priest in the town of Achaia. He was of wealthy and prominent origin, yet was kind and meek by nature–a lover of both God and of man. During the reign of Emperor Decius, on the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, pagans charged into the church, dragged Myron out of the service, and subjected him to torture by fire. During this torture, an angel appeared to him and encouraged him. The pagans began to peel his skin in strips from his head to his feet. The martyr grabbed one such strip of his skin and struck his torturer, the judge, on the face with it. As though possessed, Antipater the judge grabbed a sword and killed himself. Finally, the pagans took Myron to the city of Cyzicus, and slew him there with the sword, in the year 250 A.D.

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