CHARALAMBOS D. VASILOPOULOS
SAINTS’ LIVES (250)
Saint Basiliscus’ memory is celebrated on the 22nd May.
Translation based on the first edition.
“ORTHODOXOS TYPOS” PUBLICATIONS
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Another star of our Church, who died a martyr to his love for our sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, is Saint Basiliscus. He set out from a small town of the Black Sea together with Saints Eutropius and Cleonicus, friends of Saint Theodore Tiron, who was his uncle, in order to suffer martyrdom. We certainly know that at that time millions of martyrs of our Church died.
His faith in God was great and his experiences, even before his martyrdom, were a lot.
He courageously avows his faith in front of the tyrant, destroys idols through his prayer and finally dies a martyr as he is beheaded by the executioner, and delivers his Holy soul to Lord’s bosom.
Saint Theodore Tiron’s nephew
Saint Basiliscus came from a town called Chamulia in Amasya near the Black Sea. He lived at the time of emperor Diocletian and his successors (284-305). At that time the emperor had sent a new ruler called Agrippa to the East in the place of Asclipiodotus. When the new ruler arrived at Comana of Cappadocia, he interrogated and punished Christians.
The martyrdom of Saint Basiliscus, who was Saint Theodore Tiron’s nephew, as well as his uncle’s friends and fellow soldiers Saints Eutropius and Cleonicus’ had started a long time before.
He desired to be a martyr
Because the martyrdom of the other two had been completed and Saint Basiliscus was left imprisoned, the Saint had the keen desire to complete his martyrdom too. To do so, he found consolation from God who ordered the Saint first to take leave of his relatives and then go to Comana of Cappadocia in order to be a martyr for the sake of piety.
The Saint, being released from prison, went to his house escorted by soldiers. He greeted his relatives and preached piety to them.
As for the ruler, he got very angry because, when he asked for him, he was not found in prison. So, he ordered his soldiers to find him, tie him up with two chains, put iron shoes with iron nails on his feet and force him to walk fast and be brought to him to be tried.
He works miracles and a lot of people believe in Christ
When the emissaries found and arrested the Saint, they dragged him violently. The nails of the shoes they had put on him, went so deep into the flesh of his feet that they even pierced his bones; the way he walked on was stained with his blood.
When they arrived at a town called Daknon, the garrison soldiers were hosted in the house of a woman named Trajani. While they were staying there, they tied the Saint up to a dried up plane-tree and sat down to have lunch. The Saint, having been left alone, prayed, and then …a miracle happened: The dried up plane-tree sprouted leaves and a spring started welling out water from its root, which still exists today.
When the inhabitants saw the miracle, they all ran towards him trying to touch the Saint’s clothes. Trajani, who also saw the miracle, together with all her family, believed in Christ. The Saint, with the aid of God’s Grace, performed a lot of miracles among which was the healing of possessed by demons who were brought to him.
As a result, it was not only the town’s inhabitants but also the garrison soldiers, who were escorting the Saint, that believed in Christ.
Then they released the Saint from his chains but they were now bound to Christ’s faith. After that, they left accompanying the Saint. In every place they passed through, the Saint performed miracles so that the idolaters would believe in True God.
He feeds on the Grace of The Holy Spirit
When they arrived at another village, the soldiers wanted to eat. So they said to the Martyr: ”We eat regularly but you, God’s servant, have not eaten anything for three days”.
The Saint then replied to them: “ I, brothers, feed on imperishable food and I do not have any desire for perishable goods. Food and wine is your food whereas the Grace of The Holy Spirit is mine. You love gold but I love Christ. You serve an ephemeral ruler whereas I an everlasting King, Who is going to invite me to everlasting life on the day of Judgement when He says:” Come, you my Father’s Blessed ones, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, since the beginning of time” (Math 25:34). After he had said that to the soldiers, he did not accept to receive any food.
At Apollo’s temple.
The next day, they arrived in Comana, where the ruler had already arrived. The ruler was informed that they had brought Basiliscus and ordered the soldiers to take the Saint to Apollo’s temple, so that he would offer a sacrifice to the idols or he would be executed immediately, if he did not obey. Some other soldiers received the Saint and advised him not to worship a God Who did not appear. The Saint replied to them: “ I worship the true God, Who performs great and wondrous miracles. If you do not believe what I am telling you, ask the previous soldiers, who brought me here, how many miracles Lord Christ performed for me, so that you can find out the truth.” So the previous soldiers said: “Indeed, we saw great power and many miracles performed for him, while en route”.
In front of the tyrant.
Then, the soldiers brought the Saint to the ruler who asked him:” Are you the notorious Basiliscus?” The Saint replied: “I am the humble Basiliscus”. Then, the furious ruler asked him: “Why do you not offer any sacrifice to the gods according to the royal command?” The Saint then replied: “What makes you think that I do not offer any sacrifice? I offer a sacrifice of praise and confession to God.” The ruler felt happy because he thought that the Saint meant the idols. The Saint approached the altar and asked the priest what the name of their god was. They told him that his name was Apollo. So, the Saint said: “The name of your god means the loss of those who believe in it because whoever worships it is going to be lost forever”. Again, the ruler asked him: “And what is the name of your God?” The Saint answered: “He is inexpressible, incomprehensible and invisible”. The ruler insisted:” So, does your God not have a name?” The Saint answered:” He is called Omnipotent Lord, King of all, Shabaoth and Being, Adonai, I AM, Saviour, compassionate, charitable, forbearing, very merciful. To him I offer a sacrifice of praise.”
He destroys the idols.
Then, the ruler said: “Do not bother us with your philosophy. Just offer your sacrifice to whichever god you want.”
The Saint raised his hands and eyes to the sky and prayed in this way: “Omnipotent God, the only kind and compassionate One, You, Who listen to those that are faithful to you, show Your kindness to me, the unworthy one. As You created and formed man and breathed The Holy Spirit upon him, You, Lord, favourably listen to my prayer, make this empty and unfeeling idol move, destroy it and scatter the disgusting sacrifice of the idolaters and show them that You are the only God. Blessed are You forever and ever. Amen”.
After this prayer, fire came down from the sky and burnt down the temple and destroyed the fake god’s idol and scattered it like sand. When the ruler saw that miracle, he left the temple. But also, the city’s inhabitants were very upset due to fear. The Saint chanted:” God has risen, His enemies are scattered…… (Psalm 67:1).
When the ruler recovered from his fear, he was furious with the Saint and clenched his teeth with anger. He ordered the soldiers to throw the Saint out of the temple. Then he shouted to the Saint: “Tell me, you fool, why did you not do as you said? You said that you were going to offer a sacrifice, but instead of a sacrifice you brought fire through your magic spells and burnt down the temple and our god. Of course, had you not been a magician, this fire would have burnt you down as well as us if we had not left the temple. But, you, having confidence in your magic powers, you stayed serene inside the temple, thinking that you were going to escape from me. So, confess your crime and offer a sacrifice so that I will release you.” But the Saint replied:” I only kneel before the True God, not a lifeless abomination. Concerning the miracles you saw, they were not sorcery, as you may foolishly think. This is God’s Power that performed all this to shame you, to censure the delusion of your useless gods that you, fools, kneel before and which lead you to eternal catastrophe. Not only these but even more miracles can our God perform. Nothing is impossible for our God as long as we, His servants, ask Him faithfully. So, because you are not yet convinced that I will not obey these commands of yours, you can do whatever you want so that we do not waste time in vain”.
Having seen the Saint’s faith, the ruler issued his last decision concerning the Saint. So, the executioners took the Saint in order to execute him outside the city.
The Saint’s end.
As soon as they arrived at a place called Dioscourou, they cut off the Saint’s honourable head on the 22nd May. Even though the unrighteous ruler commanded them to discard the venerable relic in a deserted area, a pious Christian, named Marinos, bribed the soldiers with a lot of money and took the Holy Relic.
He built a church in Komana and buried the Saint honourably in it. In this very church of the Holy Martyr Basiliscus, Saint John Chrysostom died while en route to Pitiouda, where he was exiled. The soldiers who escorted the Saint stopped and spent the night there (13 to 14 September in 497). This is where Saint Chrysostom, in a vision, saw Saint Basiliscus, who said to him:” Brother John have courage, for tomorrow we shall be together.” Indeed, the next day Saint Chrysostom died there and was buried next to the Holy Relic of Saint – Martyr Basiliscus.
Inside this Church many miracles are performed through Saint – Martyr Basiliscus’ mediation and our Lord Jesus Christ’s Grace. To Whom the glory and the power with The Father and The Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Basiliscus, having given his head through decapitation,
steps on apparent petty king’s head,
on the 22nd Basiliscus suffered the sword.
The sole desire in Saint Basiliscus’ life was the desire for martyrdom. Because his love for The Lord was so great, he did everything he could in order to be with Him. He was intimidated neither by the chains he was tied up with nor by the nails of the iron shoes piercing his feet nor by the tortures and tribulations he went through.
He said goodbye to his relatives and friends, having first taught them respect towards God, as if he was only going on a trip. This is how our Church’s Saints considered death. A simple trip to our everlasting country. And our Omnipotent Lord, Who loves his children, was always beside him, encouraging and comforting him.
When the time came, the Lord took him into His bosom forever, where he is content together with the rest of our Saints and his uncle, the Holy Great Martyr Theodore Tiron, whose foosteps he followed into.
Like a king’s gift and a holy victim, you, Glorious one, were directed to The Lord of ages and athlothetis God through stiff martyrdom; you, glorious soldier, all praise worthy Basiliscus, who took down the delusion and showed the truth, intercede for all of us to Christ.
Glorious Basiliscus, you, who became a true shareholder in the Kingdom of Heaven, save those who shout with yearning to you; rejoice you venerable ornament of Martyrs.
You were distinguished like a coal of piety; through heavenly fire you astonishingly burnt down the temple of the idols; godly-minded Basiliscus, through life-giving fire you warm everyone.
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