Martyr Valens the Deacon at Caesarea, in Palestine

The Holy Martyrs Pamphilius the Presbyter, Valens the Deacon, Paul, Porphyrius, Seleucius, Theodulus, Julian, Samuel, Elias, Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah suffered during the persecution against Christians, initiated by the emperor Diocletian in the years 308-309 at Caesarea in Palestine.

Actively assisting St Pamphilius in proclaiming the faith in Christ were St Valens, deacon of the church at Eleia, a man stooped with age and well-versed in the Holy Scriptures, and St Paul, ardent in faith and love for Christ the Savior. All three were imprisoned for two years by Urban, the governor of Palestinian Caesarea.

During the rule of his successor Firmilian, 130 Christians were sentenced in Egypt and sent to Cilicia (Asia Minor) to work in the gold mines. Five young brothers accompanied them to the place of exile. On their return to Egypt they were detained at Caesarea and thrown into prison for confessing Christ.

The youths appeared before Firmilian, together with those imprisoned earlier: Sts Pamphilius, Valens and Paul. The five Egyptian youths took the names of Old Testament prophets, Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Daniel. Asked where they were from, the youths said that they were citizens of Jerusalem, meaning the heavenly Jerusalem. Firmilian knew nothing of such a city, since Jerusalem had been razed to the ground by the emperor Titus in the year 70. The emperor Hadrian (117-138) built a new city on the site, which was called Aelia Capitolina.

Firmilian tortured the youths for a long time. He sought to learn the location of the unknown city, and he sought to persuade the youths to apostatize. But nothing was accomplished, and the governor ordered them to be beheaded by the sword with Pamphilius, Valens and Paul.