Martyr Conon of Isauria

The Holy Martyr Conon of Isauria was born in Bethany, a village near the Asia Minor city of Isauria, whose inhabitants had accepted Christianity from the Apostle Paul. From his youth, St Conon was accorded the special protection of the “Archistrategos” (“Leader of the Heavenly Hosts”) Michael, who appeared to him and assisted him in many difficult circumstances in life.

At the insistence of his parents, Conon was betrothed to a maiden named Anna. He persuaded her to live with him in virginity after the wedding. The young couple lived as brother and sister, devoting themselves entirely to God. St Conon brought also his parents to the Christian Faith. His father, St Nestor, received a martyr’s death for denouncing idol-worshippers.

After burying both his mother and wife, St Conon continued his service to God, devoting himself entirely to monastic works, fasting and prayer. In his declining years the holy ascetic was glorified with the gift of wonderworking. By virtue of his preaching and miracles many pagans were converted to Christ. It is said that even the evil spirits were forced to serve him.

When a persecution against Christians broke out in Isauria, one of the first to suffer was St Conon. He was subjected to fierce torments for his refusal to offer sacrifice to idols. When the people of Isauria learned of the tortures to which the saint was being subjected, they came forth bearing arms to defend the martyr. Frightened by the people’s wrath, the torturers fled, and the Isaurians found the martyr wounded and bloodied at the place of torture.

St Conon wished to endure martyrdom for the Lord, but he lived two more years. St Conon died in the second century and was buried beside his parents and wife.