Tuesday, August 9, 2011

St. Panteleimon the Healer

Joyous feast! St. Panteleimon is one of the more beloved saints in the East, well known in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the many healings he has worked both in his life and since his death. The Saint was born in the 3rd century in the city of Nicomedia to a pagan father and a Christian mother and received a good education, being trained as a physician and eventually becoming attached to the court of the Roman Emperor Maximian.

While at the court of Maximian St. Panteleimon came to know several secret Christians who had survived the persecutions in 303 and began to discuss the Christian Faith with them. Passing by a child newly bitten by a viper, the Saint prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to heal the child, saying that he would accept baptism if He did so. The child was healed on the spot and St. Panteleimon was baptized, also converting his father to the Faith and healing many who were sick through his prayers.

St. Panteleimon treated all to came to him free of charge, healing the sick, visiting those in prison, and helping the needy. When Emperor Maximian discovered that the Saint had been visiting imprisoned Christians he demanded that the doctor sacrifice to the idols and then had him handed over for torture when he refused the emperor's command. When after many tortures St. Panteleimon was thrown into the circus to be devoured by the wild animals kept there they instead lay down at his feet, causing the crowds to shout, "Great is the God of the Christians!"

After the incident in the stadium St. Panteleimon was bound to an olive tree and beheaded. At the moment of his death the tree to which he was tied burst into fruit, converting many more to the Christian Faith. The Saint's relics were cast into the fire, but did not burn and were eventually handed over to Nicomedia's Christians. His relics are today scattered throughout the world, with his head being kept as one of the treasures of Mount Athos' Panteleimonou Monastery.

More on St. Panteleimon's life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

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