Martyr Zosimas the Hermit of Cilicia

The Martyr Zosimas the Desert Dweller lived during the fourth century. Once, while hunting, Dometian, the governor of Sicily, saw the Elder calmly and amiably conversing with the beasts around him.

Seeing the hunters, the beasts fled. They then interrogated the Elder, asking who he was and why he lived in the wilderness. The Elder answered that he was a Christian called Zosimas, and that he could not live in the city with the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he lived alone among the wild animals.

Then Dometian said threateningly: “If you worship the Nazarene, I shall subject you to fierce tortures at Nazareth, and you will renounce Christ.”

When asked what kind of magic he used to tame wild beasts, St Zosimas replied, “I am a Christian.” At Nazareth the tortures began. They tied the Elder head downwards, with a large stone around his neck, and they began to lacerate his body with iron hooks.

The torturers taunted the sufferer: “If the beasts do listen to you, tell one of them to come here, and then we will believe in your God.” The holy martyr turned to God in prayer, and suddenly a huge lion came forth.

Everyone fled in terror, and the lion went up to the Elder, and began to lift the stone around the martyr’s neck with its paw in order to ease the suffering of the saint. The governor implored the martyr to keep the lion calm, and he gave orders to untie the saint, and to bring him to the emperor, but St Zosimas was already dead, having given up his pure soul to God.