The Orthodox Church commemorates today Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. He belongs to the choirs of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, since he was an audible witness of the Apostolic sermon and a student of Saint John the Evengelist. We also honor the memory of Saint Gorgonia.
He was born around 60 AD in Ephesus. His pious parents, Pagratius and Theodora, became martyrs shortly after the birth of their child.
His original name was “Pagratius”, which he received in memory of his father, but he changed it to “Polycarp,” which means “much fruit” in Greek, is a manifestation of the rich virtues cultivated in his soul, as fruit of the Holy Spirit. John baptised him and then introduced him to Bishop Voukolos, who ordained him bishop of Smyrna.
An ancient text of the ecclesiastical literature, called “Martyr of Polycarp” and written by one of his students, describes what the Saint suffered for the sake of his faith in Christ.
Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered proconcul Statius Cordatus to bring Bishop Polycarp before him so that he renounced his faith in Jesus Christ. Saint Polycarp’s courageously replied, “I have served God for 86 years and He never wronged me.” How can I deny the One who saved me?” Saint Polycarp was firstly thrown into the fire and finally beheaded on February 23, 167 AD.
Saint Gorgonia, was the youngest sister of Saint Gregory the Theologian and daughter of the pious Nonna and Bishop Nazianzus Gregory was raised by her parents with Christian ideals. She emerged, equal in virtue and holiness of life, with her other brothers. She was distinguished for her sharpness, her devotion to the Holy Scriptures, and she was decent, modest, discreet, and humble in mind.
She married Alypius and had five children, two boys, who were dedicated to God, and three daughters, Alypiani, Eugenia and Nonna. He reposed in the Lord in the year 370 AD at the age of only 38 years.
Source: Church of Cyprus