Saint Silvanus came from the vicinity of the city of Gaza, and was a soldier. Desiring to serve the heavenly King, he became a priest, and was consecrated Bishop of Gaza. Saint Silvanus converted many pagans to Christ. During the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian he was taken for trial to the city of Caesarea. He underwent torture and bravely endured it, and was then sentenced to harsh labor in the copper mines.
The holy bishop was exhausted by this work, but remained cheerful of spirit. He incessantly preached Christ to all those around him. This angered the pagans, who beheaded him.
Forty holy martyrs, who believed in Christ after hearing the words of the bishop, were also martyred with him. Their death followed in the year 311.