By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
The Church commemorates Saint Modestus, the Archbishop of Jerusalem, and Blessed Empress Theophania of Byzantium.
Saint Modestus was born in the early 4th century AD in Sebastea, Asia Minor. His parents were Christians, and during Emperor Diocletian’s persecutions, they were imprisoned and martyred. Saint Modestus was raised by a pagan ruler, far from the faith in Jesus Christ.
When he was told about the martyrdom of his parents, he wanted to read the Holy Gospel and to be baptized was born within him, dedicating his life to Jesus Christ. Two Athenian adopted Saint Modestus, who were Christians.
He carried out great charity work. His actions were envied by the children of his adoptive parents, who, when their parents died, sold him as a slave.
Saint Modestus converted his pagan master to Christianity, and was freed by him. He then traveled to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage visit to the Holy Sepulcher. Thanks to his love for the Church, his devotion to Jesus Christ and the Holy Gospel, his selfless giving to his neighbor, he was elected Archbishop of Jerusalem.
He was deemed worthy by the Lord to perform many miracles, offering healing to both humans and animals. He fell asleep in old age.
Saint Modestus is considered the patron of animals. For this reason, on his feast day, the priests offering the blessing to the faithful’s house and their animals’ shed.
Source: Church of Cyprus