Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy St. Philemon the Flute Player Day!

From the resources that are available on-line there appear to be a couple of different but similar stories in regards to the martyrdom of St. Philemon the Flute Player. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia's website has a retelling of the events that I post below.

During the reign of Diocletian (284-305 AD), the Governor of Antinoe in the Thebaid of Upper Egypt was Arian, a fierce persecutor who had sent many Christians to a violent death, among them Sts Timothy, Maura, and Sabine. When he had imprisoned 37 Christians for their confession of faith, one of them, named Apollonios, a reader of the Church, lost his courage at the sight of the instruments of torture, and thought how he might escape torments without denying Christ. He gave money to Philemon, a flute-player and a pagan, that he might put on Apollonios' clothes and offer sacrifice before Arian, so that all would think Apolionios to have done the Governor's will, and he might be released. Philemon agreed to this, but when the time came to offer sacrifice, enlightened by divine grace, he declared himself a Christian instead. He and Apollonios, who also confessed Christ when the fraud was exposed, were both beheaded. Before beheading them, Arian had commanded that they be shot with arrows, but while they remained unharmed, Arian himself was wounded by one of the arrows; St Philemon foretold that after his martyrdom, Arian would be healed at his tomb. When this came to pass, Arian, the persecutor who had slain so many servants of Christ, himself believed in Christ and was baptized with four of his bodyguards. Diocletian heard of this and had Arian and his body-guards brought to him. For their confession of Christ, they were cast into the sea, and received the crown of life everlasting.

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