Martyr Aristocles the Presbyter of Cyprus

The Holy Martyrs Aristocles the Presbyter, Demetrian, and Athanasius suffered for the Christian Faith during the persecution under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311).

The presbyter Aristocles, a native of the Cypriot city of Tamasa, served in the cathedral church during the time of the persecution against Christians. He became terrified of the tortures, and he left the city and hid in a mountain cave. Once during prayer a light shone upon him, and he heard a command from the Lord to return to the island of Cyprus and suffer for Christ. St Aristocles obediently set out to return, and on the way he visited the church of the holy Apostle Barnabas (June 11), where he met Deacon Demetrian and Athanasius the Reader. He told them of his vision, and Sts Demetrian and Athanasius decided to endure martyrdom together with him.

Having arrived in the city of Salamis, all three began to preach to the people about the Lord Jesus Christ, and denounced the folly of idol-worship. The pagans arrested them, and the governor, seeing that they were steadfast in their faith in Christ, gave orders to behead St Aristocles, and to burn Sts Demetrian and Athanasius. But even in the fire, the martyrs remained unharmed. After this they were beheaded by the sword in the year 306.