Martyr Meletius Stratelates who suffered in Galatia

Saint Meletius the General, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Sorcerer, Theodore, Faustus and 1218 soldiers, women and children with them.

The holy martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district of Asia Minor during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). He was a Christian and he prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagan error. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which frightened the inhabitants of the district with their howling.

St. Meletius and his soldiers got rid of the mad dogs, and destroyed the temples. He was arrested and brought to trial before the governor Maximian. Since he refused to offer sacrifice to idols, St. Meletius was tortured and he died confessing his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as true God.

The remaining soldiers of the regiment, also declaring themselves Christians, were beheaded by the sword, together with their wives and children. 1218 men perished, although some historians put the number at 11,000 .

The holy martyrs Theodore and Faustus were burned along with many others. Among the women and children who suffered are the holy martyrs Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the infants Kyriakos and Christian. The names of some of the soldiers, and of the twelve tribunes are known: the holy martyrs Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymus.