Martyr Philetairus of Nicomedia

The Holy Martyr Philetairus of Nicomedia twice suffered torture for Christ: under Diocletian (284-305) and under Maximian (305-311). When Diocletian arrived in Nicomedia, St Philetairus, who was tall and handsome, was put on trial. Seeing him, the emperor compared him to one of the pagan gods. When questioned about his social rank and family the martyr answered, “I am the son of an eparch, I am a Christian, and I live with Christians.”

The emperor spoke insultingly of the Lord Jesus Christ, but the saint replied, “Let the mouth of anyone who dares to insult my Christ be silenced, whether he is the emperor or anyone else.” After these words the martyr was thrown into a red-hot oven, but he emerged from it unharmed. Then Diocletian, witnessing the miracle, and taking into account the saint’s illustrious rank and handsome appearance, set him free.

Later, the emperor Maximian was informed that Philetairus was a Christian. Brought to trial before the emperor, the holy martyr again confessed his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to whippings. Then they threw him to be eaten by wild beasts, but he remained unharmed. Then they sentenced him to beheading by the sword, but the two servants who were entrusted the execution were unable to kill him. Just as they raised the sword over the head of the martyr, their hands ceased to function. Persuaded that the Lord invisibly was guarding the holy martyr, both executioners believed in Christ and they themselves were beheaded by the sword.

The holy Martyr Philetairus was sentenced to exile on Prokonnesos, one of the islands of the Sea of Marmora. On the journey, he performed many miracles and destroyed a heathen temple with its idols. Six soldiers and their commander, who accompanied the saint to his exile, came to believe in Christ.

On the way St Eubiotus (December 18), who had also undergone many sufferings for Christ, came to see him. The saints joyfully embraced, and they stayed at the cell of St Eubiotus for seven days, together the soldiers and their commander. St Philetairus died there and was buried by St Eubiotus. The soldiers and their commander also died there eleven days later, and were buried beside St Philetairus.