Martyr Julian of Galatia

The Holy Martyr Julian lived during the fourth century not far from the ancient city of Ancyra. A report was made to the governor of the district of Galatia that the Presbyter Julian was hiding in a certain cave with forty others of the same persuasion, and that he was celebrating divine services there. They arrested St Julian and demanded that he reveal where the remaining Christians were hidden, but he refused.

The pagans ordered the holy priest to offer sacrifice to their gods, but he would not consent to this, either. Then they stripped him and placed him on a red-hot iron grate. The martyr signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, and an angel of the Lord cooled the flame. St Julian remained unharmed.

When the governor asked who he was and how he had quenched the fire, the martyr said: “I am a servant of God.” The torturers brought forth an old woman, the mother of the saint, and they threatened her that if she did not persuade her son to offer sacrifice to idols, then they would torture her. The brave woman answered that if they defiled her body against her will, this would not make her guilty of sin before God. On the contrary, it would constitute an act of martyrdom.

The humiliated torturers sent the old woman away, but they condemned St Julian to death. In his prayer the saint gave fervent thanks to God and asked that he be given strength to endure the sufferings. St Julian also asked a special grace from God: that those who take earth from the place of his burial be granted forgiveness of sins and deliverance from passions, and that harmful insects and birds might not descend upon their fields.

Commending himself to God with the words: “Lord, accept my spirit in peace!” the martyr bent his neck beneath the sword, and a Voice summoned the martyr to the Heavenly Kingdom. This Voice was heard also by those Christians who had hidden themselves in the cave. Emboldened, they come forth to the place of St Julian’s sufferings, but they found him already dead. They all confessed themselves to be Christians, and they were arrested and brought to the governor, who ordered them beheaded.