Martyr Zoticus the Keeper of Orphans

The Hieromartyr Zoticus, Protector of Orphans, an illustrious and rich Roman, was in the service of St Constantine the Great (306-337). When the emperor transferred the capital from Rome to Constantinople, Zoticus also moved there. Soon, however, spurning worldly honors, Zoticus was ordained to the holy priesthood, and he began to provide for the destitute and orphaned in his own home. Then, receiving funds from St Constantine, he built a place of treatment for the sick, a shelter for the homeless, where he took in those afflicted with leprosy, rescuing them from the soldiers, who had been ordered to drown them in the sea.

When St Constantine’s son, Constantius (337-361), an adherent of the Arian heresy, succeeded his father, St Zoticus was accused of receiving a large sum of money from the deceased emperor. When asked about this, Zoticus showed the emperor the homeless and sick home he had built. Constantius became angry, for he thought that Zoticus had purchased jewels with the money received from his father, and he wanted them back.

He ordered St Zoticus to be tied to wild mules, which dragged the saint over the stones. His whole body was lacerated, and the saint gave up his soul to God. A stream of pure water sprang forth at the place of his death, from which many received healing.