(†) CHARALAMBOS D. VASILOPOULOS
SAINTS’ LIVES (134)
HOLY MARTYR HYACINTH
His memory is celebrated on the 3rd July
My food is to do Christ’s will
Hyacinth rejects physical food
On the third of July Hyacinth died from starvation.
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Martyr Hyacinth was born in Caesarea of Cappadocia. He lived when Trajan was the emperor, in 98 A.C. It was then that a great persecution against Christians took place – as many others. Trajan gave the order that all his subjects should either offer sacrifices to the idols or be punished cruelly. But many loyal believers of Christ, like Martyr Hyacinth, preferred to be tortured and die rather than deny their faith in Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols.
He was cubicularious i.e. he was serving at the king’s table. He had adopted the Christian Faith and dedicated himself to the struggle of piety. He was only 20 years old. He was,despite that, ornamented with morals that only suited an elder. Self-restraint was his mainstay, modesty and decency were his ornaments.
He does not eat from the meats offered to the idols.
On an occasion, when the impious king organized feasts in order to honour the idols, everybody celebrated with him. But Saint Hyacinth withdrew somewhere in order to be alone, and prayed to The Real God. Then a fellow soldier of his, a faithful servant of satan, saw the blessed one praying and beseaching our Lord and Savior, reported him to the king saying: “Hyacinth, your majesty, neither obeys your commands nor offers sacrifices to the gods or eats from the meats offered to them. On the contrary, he prays alone and beseaches a Christ as his God.”
When the king heard that, he ordered that Hyacinth be brought in front of him at the feast. He then commanded him to eat the meat that was offered to the idols. But Christ’s brave athlete first made the sign of the Cross and then said wholeheartedly: “My king, I will never eat from this polluted meat. I would very much like you too to withdraw from this fallacy and stop all these devilish habits and worship the sole Real God, Jesus Christ.”
All the people who were there got furious with the courageous way the Martyr was talking. So, then the king said to him: “Are you so foolish or selfish, my young man, that you advise us not to worship our great gods but your Christ? Neither we nor our ancestors knew about Him.”
Hyacinth answered courageously: “You, my king, are so unworthy that you are not capable of knowing about the Real God who created not only the sky and the earth, the sea and everything else that exists, but also man, whom He made in His own image and similitude. But I, who was brought up by Christ-loving parents, was taught to worship and kneel before The Real God.”
Then the tyrant saw red and commanded his servants to hit Hyacinth on his mouth and torture his body.
So, they started hitting the Martyr cruelly and ripping his shuttered mouth with their nails, forcing meat offered to the idols into it. But the Holy Martyr was neither harmed nor polluted since he had Christ’s stamp.
When Trajan saw this, he became worse than a lunatic. He left the full and lavish table and his friends. He immediately ordered that the Martyr be thrown in prison and his legs be stretched on the rack and, on the day after the feast, be taken to the gaol in ordered to be punished with all sorts of tortures.
When the Martyr was taken there, the king said to him: “Do you admit, Hyacinth, that your pride and the weakness of your age have resulted in that hard punishment of yours? So, come on, offer your sacrifice to the gods, otherwise you are going to die in a cruel way.”
Christ’s Martyr, with Christ’s power in his soul and body, answered: “I, being a Christian, defy the punishments and all the tortures and do not exchange eternal life and unending kingdom for this ephemeral life. So, do as you wish.”
Trajan’s face turned purple with rage and he commanded that the Martyr be wounded continuously. So much was the Martyr scourged that his torturers became red from his blood. When they got exhausted from whipping him, the tyrant ordered that he be hanged up and his ribs be ripped out. While his flesh was being ripped out right down to his bones and his head was being hit continuously, the Holy Martyr was shouting in a loud voice: “Trajan, I am a Christian. I am Christ’s servant and I am not going to deny Him. Without wanting it, you did me great good. You taught me to endure Christ’s Passion. Think hard and find even greater punishments so that I believe even more that my God’s name always helps His people.”
38 days without food.
On the seventh day, when all the people in the arena were amazed by the Martyr’s great endurance , Trajan ordered that he be put in prison again, be guarded very carefully and be given only polluted foods (offered to the idols) without bread or water. But the Saint tolerated it for many days and he did not eat anything because he was praying and fasting. Every day, the vile servants found the meats, offered to the idols, untouched while we fast every Wednesday and Friday and Lent with great difficulty. Some gluttons do not even fast at all.
Yet brutal Trajan asked the servants every day whether Hyacinth had eaten anything. When the answer he received was negative, he blew up at them and threatened to behead them if he found out that they were giving him other food. The wretched could not understand that God’s Power strengthens those who invoke God.
So, 38 days passed. On the last day, when the chief guard entered the prison with the meats offered to the idols, he saw a bright light in it and the Saint joyful together with two Angels. One of them was covering the body of the Saint and the other was putting a wreath on the Saint’s head. Frightened out of his wits the chief guard dropped the food and appeared in front of the king.
The king, being an unfaithful dog, said that the chief guard must have imagined it all and ordered that the Martyr be punished even more atrociously. Two days later, he commanded that they bring the Martyr to him in order to see whether God had helped him.
But when the soldiers went into the jail, they found the Martyr dead and Angels, in the form of humans, around him holding candles. The soldiers reported this to the most impious tyrant. He commanded them to discard the Saint’s body in a mountain so that it would be eaten by carnivorous animals. He also appointed soldiers to guard the place in case magicians with similar beliefs got his body and worshiped him as God.
But a Saint’s relative who was a pious and virtuous priest went there. He was escorted by an Egyptian, who wrote all about it. Being of the Egyptian nation, he wanted to deceive the soldiers and get the Saint’s body in order to bury it. But they did not manage to approach the place not only because of the soldiers guarding it but also due to the wild animals that Angels were keeping away from the Saint’s body.
But one night, an Angel of Christ, with human appearance and holding a bright candle guided the most pious priest Timothy to the place where the honourable relic was lying. He received it and buried it with psalmodies, fragrances and a lot of incense, that same night.
His Holy Relic.
When the martyr-loving Timothy realized his end was near, he entrusted it with a very pious widow who was worthy of receiving Christ’s Saint Martyr.
So, she received the Holy Relic with great devoutness. She sat next to It, day and night, honouring it with fear, prayers and warm tears, big candles and incense. Holy Martyr Hyacinth’s Relic was emitting a lot of sweet smell, that he was blessed with for his martyrdom for Christ.
This most faithful old lady had hidden the Holy Relic without confiding the place in anyone, because the city had many idolaters.
You sneered and you got sneered.
After a very long time, a senator of that city suffered from eye inflammation. He could not see at all and he suffered great pains despite all the treatment he had by various doctors. But during his martyrdom Hyacinth, Christ’s blessed athlete, had prayed that God would consent so that his honourable Relic would be delivered back to his birthplace, Caesarea.
So, one night the Holy Martyr appeared to the blind senator and said to him: “Man, do you want to be cured?” The Senator woke up and answered: “Yes, I beg you. Who are you?” he asked the Saint.
Christ’s Athlete replied: “I am Hyacinth, the doctor, Christ’s servant.”
Then the senator was begging him saying: “Take as much money as you want and give me my eyesight back because I live in darkness and in great pain.”
Hyacinth replied to him: “My God,” said Hyacinth, “ is curing you for free. But you must do as I tell you: After you receive my relic, which such-and-such an old lady is keeping, send it to the first city of Cappadocia, which is the metropolis of Caesarea.”
The senator trusted what he heard, got up in the morning and, being held from his hand, went to the widow’s house. When he went in, he found the oil candle lit. He took some of that oil and anointed his darkened eyes with it and, for a wonder! he got his eyesight back straight away.
But a long time went by without the senator fulfilling his promise. He started being blind again. He went back to the Saint’s Relic again and asked to be cured. Then, he heard a voice saying: “You sneered and you got sneered.”
When he heard the voice, he remembered his promise to the Saint and said: “Grant me the favour and I will fulfil what I promised.”
He performs miracles.
Because God’s Saint wanted very much to donate his Holy Relic, he cured him again with the oil from the candle. The senator got his eyesight back, received the honourable Relic, placed it in a carriage and sent it to Caesarea, escorted by trustful people of his ordering them to place it at the Sebastiani Gate. From there, the carriage animals set off by themselves thanks to the Saint’s grace, and arrived at Stenadion, where the home of the most glorious Martyr Hyacinth was situated. It was the escorts of the Holy Relic who realized that and placed it into a marble reliquary, which was found in the garden of Martyr Hyacinth’s house.
His biographer says: “We, who witnessed the Saint’s martyrdom as well as the Martyr’s servants, wrote about it in order to reveal it to all of you who showed zeal for Him by coming and celebrating his memory with great faith and ardor for our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory.
Christ’s Holy Martyr gave up the ghost on the 3rd July. He neither ate nor drank anything for 40 days. He was fed by the Holy Spirit with faith and prayer in the era of the disrespectful emperor Trajan, when our King was our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ to Whom all the glory, honour and adoration are due, together with His Beginningless Father and His Most Holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of the ages.
His assembly and celebration takes place in the church built in his honour which is located at the beginning of the so- called Troadision.
Most-blessed Hyacinth, being a hyacinth rock of Christ’ Church, you lighten everywhere the dawns of the gifts, You got the fire of piety’s avowal, you shone through struggling, copying the Word. Hence, you fill with joy those who honour You.
Being a delightful and most fragrant hyacinth, you always exhale the truth’s scent to those who shout to you: “Rejoice Hyacinth Martyrs’ glory.”
Martyr Hyacinth, blooming with struggle of youth, You flowered a vivid hyacinth and delightful colour, mirth’s flower, and became the Church’s exhalation.
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