Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pantaleon, Physician, Martyr; Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor

Today we commemorate Pantaleon and Bach. Pantaleon was the son of a wealthy pagan. His Christian mother instructed him in Christianity but after her death he fell away from the faith and studied medicine. He became physician to the emperor. Pantaleon was won back to Christianity after Saint Hermolaus convinced him that Christ was the better physician. While discussing medicine Hermolaus said, "But, my friend, of what use are all thy acquirements in this art, since thou art ignorant of the science of salvation?" Pantaleon healed a blind man by invoking the name of Jesus over him and converted his pagan father. When Pantaleon's father died he inherited much wealth but gave it to the poor and freed his father's slaves. Envious colleagues Pantaleon to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution. The emperor wanted to save Pantaleon tried to convince him to abandon the Christian faith. But Pantaleon openly confessed his faith and healed a paralytic to prove that Christ is the true God. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to death by the emperor. Pantaleon's flesh was first burned with torches. Christ appeared in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon. The torches were extinguished. Then a bath of molten lead was prepared; when the apparition of Christ stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold. Pantaleon was then thrown into the sea, loaded with a great stone, which floated. He was thrown to wild beasts, but these fawned upon him and would not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted to Christianity. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleimon ("mercy for everyone" or "all-compassionate"). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him, upon which there issued forth blood and a white liquid like milk.

Aardvark Alley has a nice article about Johann Sebastian Bach.

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