Hieromartyr Mocius the Presbyter of Amphipolis in Macedonia

Saint Mocius was a presbyter in Macedonia in the city of Amphipolis. During a persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), St Mocius exhorted the pagans who had assembled for the pagan festival of Dionysus (Bacchus), to abandon iniquity and the vile customs which accompanied this celebration. He urged them to repent and be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be cleansed through holy Baptism.

The saint was brought to trial before the governor of Laodicea. When threatened with torture, he replied, “My death for Christ is a great accomplishment for me.” St Mocius was subjected to torture, which he bore with marvelous endurance, and did not cease to denounce the idol-worshippers.

Taken to the pagan temple of Dionysus, the saint shattered the idols when he called upon Jesus Christ. After this he was put into a red-hot oven, where he remained unharmed, but the flames coming out of the oven scorched the governor.

Again the commander subjected St Mocius to fierce torture, which he endured with the help of God. He was given to wild beasts to be eaten, but they did not touch him. The lions lay down at his feet. The people, seeing such miracles, urged that the saint be set free. The governor ordered the saint to be sent to the city of Perinth, and from there to Byzantium, where St Mocius was executed.

Before his death he gave thanks to the Lord for giving him the strength to persevere to the very end. His last words were, “Lord, receive my spirit in peace.” Then he was beheaded. St Mocius died about the year 295. Later, the emperor Constantine built a church in honor of the hieromartyr Mocius and transferred his holy passion-bearing relics into it.