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Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles

During the reigns of Emperor Antoninus and his son, Marcus Aurelius, St. Abercius was the bishop of the city of Hierapolis in Phrygia. The great majority in this city were pagans, and St. Abercius governed his sparse flock, sorrowing in his heart because of the great number of pagans and idolaters, and
diligently praying to God that He would bring them to the light of truth.

During a boisterous idolatrous festival, Abercius became inflamed with God’s zeal and entered the idolatrous temple, smashing all the idols. When the enraged pagans sought to kill him, three young madmen, foaming at the mouth and
howling, fell down before this man of God, and he drove the demons from them. The young men became sane and calm. This turned the pagans’ anger into amazement at the wonderworker of Christ, and five hundred of them immediately desired baptism.

Little by little, all of Hierapolis came to believe in Christ and were baptized. The proconsul of the province, Publius, had a mother who was blind.  Abercius restored her sight by prayer, and Publius, his mother and many others believed in Christ. In
old age, Abercius was summoned to Rome, where he healed the emperor’s daughter of insanity.

The Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His faithful follower. People from near and far came to him for miraculous help when they suffered from incurable illnesses. The demons not only feared him, but also served him at his command. At the guidance of the Lord Himself, Abercius preached the Gospel throughout Syria and Mesopotamia.

In great old age, St. Abercius presented himself to his beloved Lord in Hierapolis, at the end of the second century.

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles
St. Abercius, a model of meekness,
Is a most beautiful example of Christian zeal.
He zealously toppled the dumb idols
And joyfully exposed himself to death.
But God protects the servant who strives for Him,
And shields him from evil with His right hand.
Against the Saint, demons and men rose up,
But became shamefully silent before the power of the Cross.
What the Saint desired, the Lord granted,
And though he was in much sorrow, he gladdened many.
St. Abercius was as a fiery pillar,
A light and an enlightener of men.
He preached Christ to many peoples-
From powerful emperors to the poor-
And witnessed Christ through many miracles.
He poured miracles out like living water;
By the life-creating word he assuaged the thirsty,
And with the teaching of Christ he fed the hungry.
St. Abercius, a model of meekness,
Gave himself to God in honorable old age,
And was crowned with eternal youth in Paradise,
Surrounded by the joy and glory of heaven.
O wonderful holy one, strive yet a little more:
Protect the remaining flock on earth,
Implore Christ’s mercy on us through prayer,
That the Church will boast in you to the end.

Source: Prologue of Ochrid

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