Martyr Basiliscus the Bishop of Comana

The Holy Martyr Basiliscus was a nephew of the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (February 17), and he suffered together with his brothers Eutropius and Kleonikos during the persecution of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). The holy martyrs Kleonikos and Eutropius (March 3) were crucified, but the martyr Basiliscus was sent to Comana where he was detained in prison.

The governor Agrippa arrived in the city of Amasea, and started a persecution against Christians. St Basiliscus in prison prepared himself for his impending ordeal. The Lord appeared to him in a dream, promising the martyr His help, and foretold his martyric death at Comana. St Basiliscus asked the prison guards to let him go to his native village to bid his relatives farewell. They let him go, since they respected him for his holy life and working of miracles. Arriving home, St Basiliscus saw his family one last time, and urged them to stand firmly in the Faith.

When Agrippa learned that St Basiliscus had gone to see his relatives, he went into a rage. He chastized the prison guards, and he sent a detachment of soldiers after the martyr, headed by a cruel magistrianum (adjutant of the governor). Meeting St Basiliscus, who was actually on his way back, the magistrianum placed heavy chains on him, and shod him with metal sandals with nails driven into the soles, and set off to Comana.

Arriving at a certain village during the hot afternoon, the travellers stayed at the house of a woman named Troana. The soldiers went into the house to relax and refresh themselves with food, and they tied the martyr Basiliscus to a dry tree. Standing in the heavy chains beneath the scorching sun, the saint prayed to God. Suddenly a Voice was heard from above, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

The earth shook, and a spring of water came forth from the fissure. The magistrianum, the soldiers and Troana, rushed out of the house, frightened by the earthquake. Shaken by the miracle which had taken place, they set the martyr free. Sick people from the village came to the holy martyr and received healing through his prayers.

When the saint finally stood before Agrippa, he was commanded to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. He replied, “I offer to God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving every hour.” They led him into a pagan temple. In a instant fire came down from Heaven, which burned the temple, and reduced the idols to dust. Then in a blind rage Agrippa gave orders to behead St Basiliscus and throw his body into the river. The death of the martyr occurred in the year 308.

Christians quickly gathered the remains of the holy martyr, and buried them by night in a ploughed field. Upon this spot a church was built in honor of St Basiliscus, into which they transferred his relics. Through the prayers of the holy martyr healings began to occur. The saint appeared in a dream to St John Chrysostom (November 13) before his death at Comana and said to him, “Tomorrow we shall be together.” St Eusignius (August 5) was an eyewitness to his sufferings and told the world about the struggles of St Basiliscus.