The Holy Martyrs Meletius the General, Stephen, John, Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Sorcerer, Theodore and Faustus and with them 1218 Soldiers with Women and Children.
The holy martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district of Asia Minor during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). He was a Christian and he prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagan error. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which frightened the inhabitants of the district with their howling.
Saint Meletius and his soldiers dispatched the mad dogs, destroyed the temples and was then arrested and brought to trial before the governor Maximian. For refusing to offer sacrifice to idols Saint Meletius was tortured, and he died confessing his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as true God.
The remaining soldiers of the regiment, also declaring themselves Christians, were beheaded by the sword, together with their wives and children. 1218 men perished, although some historians put the number at 11,000 .
The holy martyrs Theodore and Faustus were burned along with many others. Among the women and children who suffered are the holy martyrs Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the infants Cyriacus and Christian. The names of some of the soldiers, and of the twelve tribunes are known: the holy martyrs Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius and Didymus.
The holy martyr Serapion was born in Egypt. He had come to the Galatia district and witnessed the martyrdom of Saint Meletius and his comrades. Seeing the bravery with which those believing in Christ died for Him, Saint Serapion himself believed, for which he was imprisoned. In prison, an angel of God came down to him and made Saint Serapion a bishop.