Saint Panteleimon - Healer and Martyr
Saint Panteleimon, the Great-martyr and famous Healer, was living in Nicomedia in Bithynia during the reign of Emperor Maximian and martyred circa 305. Maximian was known as a very cruel torturer of Christians. Everywhere believers in Christ were severely persecuted and many faithful Christians suffered and thousands martyred for the name of Jesus Christ and St. Panteleimon was among them. This is the story how Panteleimon came to Christian faith, did many miraculous healings with the grace of Jesus Christ and finally suffered as a martyr for his faith.
Panteleimon was born in Nicomedia, in Bithynia; his father was a noble and rich man, named Eustorgius, and mother Eubula.
His father’s faith was a pagan, very ardent about faith in Roman idols; Mother was a Christian, taught by her grandparents about the holy faith and diligently serving to the Christ. Thus, the united in body were separate spiritually: father was giving offerings to idol-gods; the mother was giving the offering of praise to the Christian God. To their new-born heir they gave a name Pantaleon, meaning a “lion in all”: it was expected his masculinity will be like that of a lion. But at the end of his life his name was changed to Panteleimon, meaning “merciful to all”, because he was merciful to all healing sick without a pay and giving alms to the poor, with a generous hand sharing his father’s wealth with those in need.
Since early age his mother was teaching the Christian virtue to Panteleimon, teaching him to be aware of the one God, who is living in Heaven, Our Lord Jesus Christ, so he would believe Him and please Him with good actions, turning away from polytheism of pagans. The kid was paying attention to the teachings of his mother and absorbing them, as much as it was possible in his young age. But what a loss and misfortune! His kind mother and guide from the early years passed away to the Lord, leaving the kid with still immature mind and age. After her death young Panteleimon easy followed into footsteps of his father’s delusions. Father was often taking him with to worship of idols and strengthening him in pagan faith.
Then the boy was sent to a grammar school, and when he successfully completed a course of all external pagans’ wisdom, his father sent Panteleimon to a medical school to famous physician Euphrosinos to receive teachings in the art of healing. Young Panteleimon was with a very receptive mind and easily learned all what he was taught. Soon he was ahead of his contemporaries and almost the same skill as his teacher. Besides of that, he was characterized by decent behavior, eloquence, beauty and was leaving good impression to everybody. Panteleimon was known to the emperor Maximian himself. Maximian was also living in Nicomedia at the time. Persecuting and torturing Christians, he burnt 20 000 of them in the church, on the Christmas day he murdered bishop Anthimus and many others, after different tortures, he sentenced to death of different sorts. Doctor Euphrosinos was often visiting the royal chambers of the torturer with a medicine, to himself or people of his court, because he was a physician for the court of Emperor. When Euphrosinos was coming to the royal court, he was accompanied by Panteleimon, who was following his teacher, and everyone was impressed by the beauty and good reasoning of the kid.
Also the Emperor, when seeing him, asked:
- Where is he from and whose son?
When he received an answer, emperor gave order to the teacher to teach the boy as good and soon he can in everything about the doctor’s art, expressing a desire to always have him in his court, as worthy of facing the emperor and serve to him. At the time Panteleimon was almost at the legal age.
In those days in Nicomedia an elder presbyter Hermolaus was living, afraid of persecutions he and several other Christians were hiding in a small, inconspicuous house. The daily path of Panteleimon, leading from his house to teacher and the way back, was lying along this house, where St. Hermolaus was hiding. While seeing the young male passing along through the window, Hermolaus realized from his face and sight his piety. Realizing in the spirit that this young man will be God’s chosen one, Hermolaus once went outside his door to meet the young Panteleimon, and invited him to visit them for a short while. The humble and obedient young man entered the house of elder. Offering a seat next to him, the old man was questioning him about his descent and parents, his faith and lifestyle. Panteleimon told him everything in detail and explained that his dear mother was a Christian and has died, on contrary his father still alive, devout to many idols; worship them according to the rite of pagans. Now St. Hermolaus asked him this:
- And how about you, good son! What side and faith are you up to take and follow – that of your father or mother?
- My mother, while she was alive, was teaching me about her faith and I beloved her faith. But father as supreme, is guiding me to live with pagan laws and wants to set me in emperor’s court in a rank of close servant and warrior of the ruler.
St. Hermolaus here asked again:
- And what teaching is giving to you your teacher?
The young man replied it so:
- Teachings of Asclepius, Hippocrates and Galen; it was the wish of my father, and also my teacher says, if I will learn their teachings, I’ll be able to heal different diseases of people.
In his last words St. Hermolaus found a reason for a useful discussion and started to sow seeds of Divine words in the heart of Panteleimon as in a fresh earth:
- Trust me, - he started on, - good man! – I am telling you one truth; Teachings and arts of Asclepius, Hippocrates and Galen are immensely limited and a little can help to those who are turning to them. And so are gods, which Maximian and your father and other pagans worship, vanity and nothing more as arrogance and deception for those weak in mind. The real and almighty God is one – Jesus Christ, and if you will believe in Him, you will heal all kinds of diseases only by mentioning His Pure name. Because He was giving eyesight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead; He cast out devils, which pagans worship, with a single word; and not only Himself, but even his robes were giving a healing: the women who has been obsessed with bleeding just fairly touched His robe and was instantly healed. Who can tell in a detail about all the wonders He did perform?
Like incalculable is sand in the sea, stars in the sky and drops of the water, it’s impossible to count all wonders and the grace of the God. And now he – the strong Protector of his slaves, is bringing the peace to depressed, healing the weak and releasing from disasters and liberates from all evils of enemies, not expecting to be praised by this or that, but seeing the prayers and every movement in the heart. He gives this power also to those, who love Him and gives them as a gift even more miracles; finally, he is giving the endless life in eternal glory of Heavenly Kingdom.
Panteleimon believed to the words said by St. Hermolaus to be true, taking them close in his Heart; joyfully he was recalling them in his mind and he told to the blessed old man:
- So many times have I heard it from my mother, and often I’ve seen as she was praying and praising this God, about whom are you telling me now.
Starting from this day, Panteleimon was every day visiting elder and was enjoying his inspired discussions about God, maturing in his knowledge of Divine. And when he was returning home from his teacher Euphrosinos, he came home only after a visit to saint, receiving from him guidance beneficial for his soul.
Once occurred to Panteleimon when he was on the way home from his teacher to find a dead baby who was bitten by a huge snake and the snake herself lying near from him. Seeing this, Panteleimon first was scared and stepped a little back, but after that thought to himself:
- It’s time for me to try and make sure if it’s true what old Hermolaus has taught to me.
He looked to the sky and said:
- Lord Jesus Christ, even though I am not worthy to call to You, but if you wish to make me your servant, show your power and make it happen that this kid would be alive and the snake would die.
The very moment the small kid woke up, like from a deep sleep, but the snake was dead. Then Panteleimon fully believed in Christ, turned his physical and spiritual eyes towards God and thanked God joyfully and with tears, because He had led him from darkness to the light of knowing the God. He rapidly went to St Hermolaus, the presbyter, and fell down to his feet, asking for baptism. Panteleimon told him what has happened, how the dead child returned to life and the snake died that caused the death. St. Hermolaus accompanied him to the place, to see the snake, and when he did, he thanked God for the miracle, through which he led Panteleimon to the knowledge of Him. When he returned home, he gave the blessing of baptism to the young man.
After the baptism Panteleimon was staying with elder Hermolaus for seven days, learning from Divine words, transferred to him through the lips of the elder and grace of Christ: like from a river of fresh water he was absorbing his soul in the abundance of spiritual fruits. On eights day he returned home and his father asked him:
- My son, where did you disappear for so many days? I was worrying about you.
- I was with the teacher in emperor’s palace; - I was healing a sick one, very dear to the emperor, and didn’t retreat from him for seven days, until he recovered.
Saint Panteleimon was telling this and was not lying, but telling the truth, secretly as a parable: In his mind he was calling St. Hermolaus as his teacher and as emperor’s chamber he meant that inner peace, where the divine mystery took place, but as sick he was calling his soul, beloved by Heavenly Emperor, which has been healed for seven days with spiritual nursing.
The next morning, when he came to his teacher Euphrosinos, his teacher did ask:
- Where did you disappear for so many days?
- My father bought a property and sent me to receive it, and I was slow, investigating in detail everything what was there: because it was bought for a high price.
He said this meaning his baptism, which he received, and other mysteries of the Christian faith, which he discovered and were worth a great price, greater than all treasures, because they were acquired through the blood of Christ.
Hearing this, Euphrosinos quit his questions. Panteleimon on the other side was filled with Divine grace, carrying inside treasures of the holy faith. He was worrying about his father, how to guide him out from the darkness of idol-worshipping to the light of awareness of Christ, and, while talking with him every day, with wisdom and questions, he told him:
- My Father! Why the gods that are made standing are still standing in the same posture to our days and never sit down; and those that are made in sitting posture are always only sitting and never stand up?
- Your question is not very clear to me, - father replied, - and honestly, I don’t know what to reply to this.
St. Panteleimon was constantly offering also other similar questions to his father, making him to doubt in his gods and start to realize the lies and delusions of idol-worship. His father soon quit to worship idols as ardently as he has been doing before, bringing them many offerings and praises every day, and started to despise them not worship. Seeing this change, Panteleimon was glad he could raise some doubts in in his father’s attitude towards idols, even if he didn’t turn him away from them completely. Not only once, Panteleimon wanted to crush the idols of his father, who were many in the house, but refrained from it. Partly, because he didn’t wanted to make angry his father, who, according to commandments of God, had to be respected, and partly because he was expecting when his father himself would come to awareness of the real God and would wish to crush them with his own hands.
During that period people brought a blind man to Panteleimon, who was asking for healing:
- I beg you, spare me blind and deprived of precious daylight; Every single doctor in this city has been healing me, but no effect has I received from their treatment, instead I have lost even the last flashes of light I could see and all my property; I have spent a lot to reward them, but instead of healing I have received only harm and lost my time.
Saint Panteleimon replied to him:
- If you have given away all your property to physicians, from whom you didn’t receive any benefit, how you will reward me, if you will receive healing and eyesight?
- All, the last I have left, - was crying the blind, - what is left, I will gladly give to you!
Saint Panteleimon said:
- The gift of eyesight, revealing the light for you, will give to you the Father of Light, the truthful God through me, his unworthy slave. But you give your gifts not to me but to beggars.
Hearing this, his father Eustorgius told to him:
- My son! Don’t take up the thing you cannot do, otherwise people will laugh about you: what really you can do better as physicians better than you, who were healing him and could not heal?
- Nobody – replied Panteleimon, - of those physicians don’t know the medicine, needed in this case, the way I do, because the difference is great between them and my teacher, who revealed to me this medicine.
His father, thinking he is talking about his teacher Euphrosinos, said:
- I’ve heard your teacher also treated this blind man, and could not help anything.
- Wait a little, dear father! – responded Panteleimon, - and you will see the power of my healing.
With these words he touched the eyes of the blind with his fingertips and said:
- In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, giving light for blind, see.
Instantly eyes of the blind opened and he was able to see. The same moment father of Panteleimon, Eustorgius, and the healed man had a faith in Christ and were baptised by saint presbyter Hermolaus, and they were filled with a great joy and grace and power of Christ.
Now Eustorgius started to crush all idols in his house and his son St. Panteleimon was helping him in this. Breaking idols to fragments they put them all in a big ditch and buried under earth. Shortly after this, Eustorgius retired to the Lord. Panteleimon was now the heir of a wealthy property of his father. Right away he gave freedom to slaves, generously rewarding them. He also was giving money to those in need: poor, widows and orphans. He was visiting all dark huts and those who were suffering, helping them with healing and providing them what they needed. Panteleimon was a doctor not only for wounds, but also from a human poverty, but in healing God’s grace was assisting him. Because the gift of healing was given to him from above and he was healing diseases not only with medicine, but also with the name of Jesus Christ.
Now Pantaleon was rightfully Panteleimon – merciful to all, and both in name and action was providing care to everyone and didn’t let go away nobody without a gift or unhappy. For those in need he gave alms and for those who were sick – healing for free. All people of the town were coming to him, leaving all other physicians without a work, because nobody could heal so good and soon as Panteleimon, who was successfully healing and not accepting the pay. The name of merciful and unmercenary healer became known in the nation, while other doctors were condemned and taunted.
As a result an envy and hate arouse among those doctors towards Saint Panteleimon. It started from the time when the described blind man got back his eyesight. It did happen in the following way:
Once, when this man, whose eyes were healed thanks to Panteleimon, was walking around the city, other physicians saw him and thought in their mind:
- Is he not the one who was blind and sought healing from us and we could not heal him? How can he see now? Who and how did heal him and opened his eyes?
They asked to him, how he was healed. And that man was not hiding that his doctor was Panteleimon. And doctors, knowing Panteleimon was a student of Euphrosinos, told:
- The great student of the great teacher.
They didn’t know the power of Christ was working through Panteleimon, and, not knowing, they declared the truth that Panteleimon was a great student of a great teacher – Jesus Christ. However, even they were praising him with their mouth as hypocrites, there was envy in their hearts and they were thinking how to revenge. They were following every step of St. Panteleimon, searching for some accusation against him, to stop him. And seeing he is visiting the huts and healing wounds of disciples suffering for Christ, they approached Maximian torturer:
- Emperor! The young man you were ordering to teach in the art of healing, wishing to have him in your court, is despising your so obvious mercy to him. He is now visiting prisons, healing prisoners, who are blaspheming our gods, talking bad about our gods and inspiring others to the same blasphemy. If you will not punish him soon, you will create many troubles to yourself. You will see how many, enticed by his teaching, will turn away from gods. The art of healing through which Panteleimon is actually healing he doesn’t attribute to Aesculapius or any other of the gods, but to some Christ, and everybody healed by Panteleimon believe in Him.
Slanderers were telling this, begging emperor to call the healed blind man, healed by Panteleimon, as a personification and a witness of the truthfulness of their words. And Emperor ordered to find this healed blind man and when he arrived the emperor asked him:
- Tell me, man, how Panteleimon healed your eyes?
- He called out the name of Christ, then touched my eyes and instantly I could see.
- And what do you think,- questioned emperor again- Christ healed you or gods?
- Emperor! – he replied, - physicians these around you, were putting great efforts for a long time to heal me; they took all my property and not only didn’t bring me any benefit, but also took away the little light I had and finally they made me blind. On contrary, Panteleimon made me to see with just a single name of Christ. Now you, oh emperor, decide and tell who the real and best physician is: Aesculapius or other gods, who were called for a long time and didn’t help or Christ, called only once by Panteleimon and giving eyesight right away.
Knowing not what else to say, emperor like many torturers, started to call him to disgrace:
- Don’t be mad, man, and don’t think about Christ, though it is obvious that gods gave you an opportunity to see the daylight again.
Paying no attention to authority of emperor and not afraid of punishment, the healed man responded to Maximian with more courage than the blind man mentioned in the gospel, when taken to questioning to Pharisees:
- It’s you are mad, oh emperor, if you are calling your blind gods “givers of sight”, and you are much like them, not willing to see the truth.
Emperor now full of rage ordered to kill him with a sword, and the good witness of the name of Jesus Christ was beheaded and he departed to see in face in heavenly light the one which he was worshipping on earth, when he received the physical sight. His body St. Panteleimon bought from his murderers and buried near to the body of his father.
After that the emperor requested to bring Panteleimon to him. While guards were bringing Saint to emperor, He was singing praises to his Lord with David’s psalm. Thus he stood in front of earthly ruler, but in spirit in front of the Heavenly ruler.
Emperor Maximian was looking to him without any anger and humbly started to convince him:
- Bad things have I heard about you, Panteleimon; they tell me you are blaming and despising Aesculapius and other gods and instead you are praising Christ, who died in a bad death, hoping for Him and Him alone calling the God. Probably it’s not a secret for you that I drew a great attention to you and was showing a great mercy for you to be accepted in the court and ordering your teacher Euphrosinos to teach you in the art of healing, so you would always be around me; instead you have despised it and inclined towards my enemies. However, I don’t want to believe what they talk about you: people are talking lots of rumours. For this reason I have called you, so you could tell the truth and denounce the false slander of envious people about you, giving the offerings to the great gods in presence of all.
Saint Panteleimon replied:
- It’s worth to trust more works not words, oh emperor! Because the truth is much better learned from works not words. And you can trust the stories about me, that I renounce Aesculapius and the rest of your gods and I am praising Christ, because it’s from his works I have learned that He is the Only Truthful God. Just listen in short about the works of Christ: He created the heaven and earth, resurrected the dead, gave back eyesight to blind, cleansed the lepers, raised up the weak from a bed, in short. What similar your gods have done, - I don’t know – and can they? If you want to see the almighty power of Christ, you may see it right away. Just order to bring here some man, lying on the bed with deadly disease, where doctors have lost a hope about it, and let’s come your priests and call their gods and I will call my God – and who of the gods will heal the sick, will be announced the one and truthful God, so others would be renounced.
The emperor did like the thought of St. Panteleimon, and he ordered to find this sick man. And the man was brought with all his bed, sick in bed for many years, not able to move with any part and was like a wooden plank without senses. Priests arrived, who were serving to the idols and experienced in art of healing. They offered for Panteleimon to begin and call his Christ the first.
Yet, Saint Panteleimon objected them:
- If I will call my God the first and my God will heal the sick, what will be healing your gods? Its better you do first and call your gods, and if they will heal the sick, there will be no need to call my God.
And the priests started to call to their gods: one to Aesculapius, another to Zeus, some other to Diana and others – to the rest of their gods, but they didn’t reply. For a long while they were trying their prayers without any success. Saint Panteleimon, watching their meaningless attempts, was laughing.
Seeing him laughing, the emperor turned to Panteleimon:
- Now you, Panteleimon, make healthy this man, if you can, calling your God.
- Let’s priests step away, - said Panteleimon and they did.
Saint Panteleimon went closer to the bed, turned his eyes to the sky and said the following prayer:
- Lord, listen to my prayer and let my cry to reach You. Don’t turn away Your face from me: when I am grieving today, turn Your ear to me; when I am calling today for you, hear me soon, and show your almighty power in front of those who doesn’t know You, because everything is possible for you, almighty king!
After uttering this prayer, saint Panteleimon took the hand of the sick man and said:
- In the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and be healthy!
Instantly the sick man stood up, felt a strength returning in his body, enjoyed walking again and took his bed and carried it back to his house.
Many who were present and saw this miracle believed now in Christ. Priests, however, who were serving to the idols, where angry to the slave of Christ and approached the emperor with appeal:
- If he will stay alive, offerings to gods will cease and Christians will laugh about us; punish him, oh, emperor! As soon as possible.
Then Emperor said to Panteleimon:
- Panteleimon, give an offering to gods, so you would not perish in vain; you should know how many people lost their lives, because renounced our gods and not listening to our commandments. Or you don’t know how cruelly was tortured elder Anthimus?
- All who died for the Christ, - replied Saint Panteleimon, - didn’t perish, but found an eternal life. And if Anthimus, with old and weak body, could endure the cruel tortures for sufferings of our Lord, it will be easier for me, with young and healthy body, to endure all sufferings without a fear, which you will judge for me, because I will consider hollow my life, if I will not die for Christ, but if I will do, I will consider it a gain.
The emperor ruled to hang up the martyr in the tree and torture his body with iron claws and burn his ribs with candles. Panteleimon, enduring the tortures, gazed into sky and said:
- Lord Jesus Christ! Stand before me in this moment; give me patience, so that I could endure the tortures.
And the Lord appeared in front of him in the form of presbyter Hermolaus, saying:
- Be not afraid! I am with you.
And instantly hands of torturers became weak like paralyzed, their tools of torturing fell out of their hands and candles faded. Emperor, seeing this, ordered to take the martyr off from the tree and asked him:
- What is the power of your magic that guards became weak and candles faded off?
The martyr Panteleimon replied:
- My power is Christ, the almighty power that is doing everything.
The emperor objected:
- And what would you do if will prescribe even more potent tortures?
- In greater sufferings, responded martyr, - my Christ will show even a greater power, sending me even more endurance, to disgrace you. And, having had so many sufferings for Him, I will receive great gifts from Him.
Then the torturer ordered to melt the tin in a huge pot and throw the martyr in it. When the tin was boiling, they brought the martyr to this pot; he lifted up his gaze to sky and prayed:
- Hear, oh Lord, my voice, which is always praying to you: Free my soul from fear from enemies. Cover me from the host of evil-doers and from those who are doing false things.
While he was praying in this way, the Lord again appeared in front of him in form of Hermolaus, and, taking him by hand, he entered with him in pot. The fire instantly went out and tin cooled down, while martyr was singing the words of psalm “I called to God and he heard me.” All who were present were struck by the miracle, but emperor said:
- What will be, if even the fire went out and tin cooled down? To what torture should I give this magician?
Those who were present advised him:
- Let he be thrown in the deep of the sea, because he would not be able to put spell on whole sea, and will die instantly.
The torturer ordered this to be done.
Servants seized the martyr and took him to sea, boarded on a boat, tied a large stone to his neck. Sailing far from the shore they threw him in the sea and returned to shore. When Saint Panteleimon was thrown in the sea, Christ again appeared in front of him like before, in form of Hermolaus. And the stone on his neck became light as a fluff and Panteleimon was swimming with it on the surface of the sea, not sinking, but walking on it, led like apostle Peter long ago by hand of Christ.
Panteleimon went to the shore, singing and praising the Lord, and went out to the emperor. Emperor was very surprised about this wonder, shouting:
- What is your power Panteleimon that even the sea you can subdue to it?
- Even the sea, explained the Saint, - bows to its Ruler and does his will.
- So you are ruling over the sea? – asked emperor.
- Not me, - responded the martyr, - but my Christ, the Creator and Ruler of all visible and invisible creatures. He owns the Heaven and earth and also the sea.
After that the torturer ordered to prepare an animal circus outside the town, to feed the martyr to animals. All people of the city gathered to see this sight, eager to see how the handsome and innocent young man will be tormented by animals. Also the emperor arrived there, and meeting the martyr he pointed his finger to beasts and said:
- They are prepared for you; and now, listen to me, preserve your youth, protect the beauty of your body, give an offering to the gods or you will die in a cruel death, distorted by animal’s teeth.
Saint Panteleimon instead preferred to be eaten by beasts, not to obey so wicked counsel and command. So he was thrown to the animals. The Lord instantly appeared in front of Panteleimon in form of presbyter Hermolaus and closed jaws of animals and made them serene like sheep. When they crawled to Panteleimon, they were licking his feet. He was stroking them with palms and every animal was wishing to receive his strokes, pushing aside each other. People seeing this were surprised and loudly exclaimed:
- Great God of Christians! Let this innocent and righteous young man will be freed!
Then emperor, full of anger, called out soldiers with swords to murder those who were praising Lord Christ, and many people, believers in Christ, were killed; the emperor ordered to kill also all animals. Seeing this martyr said:
- Praise to You, God Jesus Christ that not only humans but also animals are dying for You!
The emperor left the place in pain and angry, while the martyr was thrown in a jail. The killed people were taken away by their relatives and buried, while animals were left as food for dogs and birds. But even here a wonder took place: those animals were lying there for many days and none of dogs or birds were touching them, and not only this – their corpses did not even smell. The emperor received this news and ordered to throw them in a pit and bury. But for martyr he ordered to prepare the Wheel of Tortures, full of sharp needles. When Saint Panteleimon was strapped to it and they started to rotate that wheel, suddenly the wheel shattered to pieces by invisible power and many who were standing near were wounded to the death, while martyr came off from the wheel unhurt and healthy. Everyone was struck by fear, while seeing these wonders, which God was performing for his Saint. The emperor was very amazed and asked the martyr:
- Who taught you to perform so great wonders?
- It’s not in trickery but in true Christian virtue I have been taught, - said Panteleimon, - by Saint Man and presbyter Hermolaus.
- And where he is, your teacher Hermolaus? – Emperor asked, - We want to see him.
The Martyr realizing in spirit that the time has come for Hermolaus to crown his life with martyrdom replied to emperor:
- If you will order I will call him.
St. Panteleimon was released, accompanied by three guards watching for him, to call presbyter Hermolaus.
When the martyr arrived to the house where pastor was living, the old man seeing him asked:
- For what reason did you come, my son?
- My teacher and father, the emperor is asking for you.
You have arrived on time to call me, - said old man, - because the hour of my suffering and death has come; last night the Lord appeared to me and said: - Hermolaus! Be prepared to suffer for Me like My Servant Panteleimon!
After these words elder was glad to follow Panteleimon and come in front of emperor. Emperor, seeing the pastor, asked for his name. Saint Hermolaus, telling his name, didn’t hide also his faith, loudly calling himself a Christian. Emperor asked him again:
- Is there anybody else with you of the same faith?
- I have two servants, true slaves of Christ – Hermippus and Hermocrates.
Emperor commanded to bring them too to him and told to tree servants of Christ:
- Is it you who turned away Panteleimon from our gods?
- The Christ Himself, - responded they, - It’s our God who calls those worthy to Him, leading them out of darkness of idol-worship to the light of knowing Him. - Leave you now, - said emperor, - aside your false words and please, return Panteleimon again to gods, than your fault will be forgiven and you will earn honours from me so great that you will become my closest friends in my court.
- How can we do that, - strictly asked the saints, - if we are also prepared to die together with him for Christ, our God? Nor we nor he will renounce the Christ, nor will we bring the offerings to deaf and soul-less idols.
Said this, they turned all their thoughts to God and started to pray, lifting their eyes to the sky. And Saviour appeared to them from above and instantly an earthquake happened and shook the place.
- You see how angry gods are to you, - declared the emperor, - they are shaking the earth!
- You said the truth, - the saints agreed, - it’s because of your gods the earth is shaking, because they fall down from their place and crushed, overthrown by the power of our God, who is angry to you.
While they were speaking so, the messenger arrived to emperor from the temple to announce that all their idols have fallen on earth and crushed in pieces. The mad emperor, seeing here not arm of God, but witchcraft of Christians, shouted:
- Truly, if we will not kill these magicians very soon, the entire city can be destroyed for their fault.
He commanded to bring Panteleimon to jail, but elder Hermolaus and his two friends to torture severely and cut their heads with sword. Thus, three martyrs – pastor Hermolaus and two his comrades - Hermippus and Hermocrates fulfilled their martyrdom and came together in front of Holy Trinity in heavenly glory.
After the murder of three holy martyrs, the emperor ordered to call Panteleimon and told him:
- Many people I have converted from Christ to our gods and you alone don’t want to listen. Even your teacher Hermolaus and both his friends did bow to gods and gave an offering to them, and I rewarded them with dignities in my court. Do the same you too to earn the equal honour.
Martyr Panteleimon, knowing in his spirit that saints have passed away, asked the emperor:
- Order them to come here, so I could see them in front of you.
- They are not here now, - was lying emperor, - because I sent them to another city, where they will receive great treasures.
- Now you, against your wish, have said the truth, - explained Panteleimon to him, - you sent them away from here, rewarding with death, and it’s true – they departed to the heavenly city of Christ to receive treasures invisible to eyes.
The emperor, seeing there is no way to turn the martyr to disgrace, decreed to beat him severely and with many wounds to behead him with sword, but his body to burn in the fire. Guards took him and brought outside the city to fulfil the wish of emperor.
Saint Panteleimon, while on the path to death, was singing psalms and praises to his God.
When guards led the martyr outside the city in a distance greater than one mile and arrived to the place where it was God’s wish for his servant to die, they tied Panteleimon to olive tree and coming near the guard hit St. Panteleimon to the neck with sword, but the iron bent like a wax and no harm to the body of Saint Panteleimon was done, because he didn’t finish his prayer yet.
Warriors shouted in awe:
- Great is Christian God!
And, bowing to the feet of Panteleimon they begged:
We beg you, servant of God! Pray for us so our sins are forgiven, that we have done to you according to emperor’s decree.
While the saint was praying, a voice was heard from the heaven, addressing to him and announcing the change of his name; the Lord gave him a name Panteleimon, instead of Pantaleon, given by parents, probably as a sign of mercy to all those, who are seeking the help of Panteleimon in sorrows and hardships, - and called Lord him to the heaven. Saint Panteleimon, full of joy, ordered the guards to behead him with sword; but they didn’t wanted to, because they were afraid and struck by a tremble. – Then Panteleimon approached them with words:
- If you will not do what is your duty, you will not see the grace of my Christ.
Guards started their job, but first kissed all his body; then one of them beheaded the martyr, and milk instead of blood was flowing there. But the olive-tree instantly was full of fruits, from top to its roots. Many people, who were also seeing this, gained the faith in Christ.
About those miracles it was also told to emperor, and he ordered to cut off this olive tree to many parts and burn together with the body of the martyr.
When the fire blew out, the faithful took the body of Saint Panteleimon, unhurt by the fire, and buried with great honour in the land of scholastic Adamantius nearby.
Lawrence, Vassa and Provian, who were servants at the house of Saint Panteleimon and were distantly following him and saw all his sufferings and heard the voice from above speaking to Panteleimon, wrote the history about his life and tortures and transferred to the churches for the memory about the martyr and for benefit of all who are reading or listening, for the grace of the God.