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   Major Christian Saints, Bishops and Martyrs

Adrian & Natalia (M)

He lived in the 4th Century at Nicomedia 60 miles from Istanbul. Adrian was an imperial officer of the Roman Empire at Nicomedia. During the severe persecutions of Christians under the Emperor Diocletian, he was so much impressed by the sufferings of Christians, he converted to Christian and declared that in the public. He was thrown into jail by the Roman Soldiers. His young Christian wife, Natalia visited him in the jail and maintained the communication. And, when Adrian was sentenced to death, no visitor was allowed to see him in the prison. But, Natalia bribed her way in to ask his prayers for her in the Heaven. When Adrian was cut limb by limb and put on fire with some other Christian martyrs, the rain put out the fire and, and the remains from his body were gathered by Christians and buried at a town "Argyropolis" on the Bosphorus. Later, Natalia went to that town, taking with her a hand of her husband which she had recovered from the execution. After her death, her body was buried among the other martyrs from Nicomedia.
 
Alexis (S)

The tradition says that Alexius whose name is uncertain, was the son of a wealthy Roman citizen, and on his wedding day, he left his bride and went to live in poverty in Southeastern Turkey. He had made his living by begging and shared the alms he received with other poor people. It is almost certain that he died in a hospital at Edessa in southeastern Turkey in about 430 AD. This must have some truth that the city Edessa had a large hospital. By the 14th Century, he was made the patron of the nursing society called "Alexian Brothers". There are some other versions of his life, written by the Latin Authors, however the above must be the one closest to his true story.
 
Aquila (S)

He was born at Sinope on the Black Sea coast, thus called Aquila of Pontus. He translated the Old Testament into Greek language in an extremely literal form that most of the Jews of his time preferred his work to the Septuagint version.
 
Athanasius (B)

Athanasius was born at Trabzon on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey in the 10th C. After serving as a teacher in the Imperial city Constantinople, he joined Mount Kyminias Monastery in the Bithynia Region of Asia Minor. Later in C. 958 he went to Mount Athos in Greece that was a popular place for hermits. But by that time hermits of Mt. Athos lived in isolation and away from community life. Athanasius was the first, with financial aids from the Emperor Nicephorus II to build a monastery there and gather the hermits under the roof of that monastery. At the beginning, Athanasius received so much opposition from hermits, and took years to establish his authority there with the help of Another Emperor, John Tzimisces. The monastery built by Athanasius and dedicated in C.963 is still there and known as "Lavra" "The Monastery". Unfortunately, the church that Athanasius built also became his the cause of death, and killed by falling masonry when the cupola of his church fell in.
 
Barbara (M)

St. Barbara, as told in different versions, was one of the earliest Christians whose father was a Roman Governor at Nicomedia in Western Asia Minor. The told is that she was imprisoned in a tower with two windows, to prevent her marriage or - in another version, because she was a Christian - She had workers add an extra window to the tower, making a total of three, a reference to the Trinity. Upon her father's curious question about the windows, she answered, "Know, my father, that through these windows my soul receive the light - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and three are one". Her father furious at her answer beheaded her own daughter right there and was himself was struck by a lightning and his body turned ashes. So, she became the patron saint of Gunners, Miners, with a reference from her father's fate. A Tower is emblem for St. Barbara.
 
Barnabas (S)

Barnabas as described in the Acts ( XI, 24 ), "a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith", though he wasn't one of the twelve apostles, his contributions to the Christianity was great. He was the one who accompanied St. Paul on his First Journey. He was for almost sure, was born as a Jew in Cyprus. His activity area was Antioch where there was a growing church. Apparently, he served the growing Christian centers for a long time, as late as the letter to Corinthians was written by St. Paul. The tradition says, he was martyred at Salamis, the port town in Cyprus. He was the author of the "Epistle of Barnabas".
 
Basil the Great (SB)

One of the most notable personalities of the Christian History. He was born at Caeserea (modern Kayseri, Turkey) into an old Christian family with strong and long tradition. His family members were too distinctive Christians of the religious history, his grand mother Macrina the elder, his father Basil the great, his mother Emmelia, his brothers Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebatea are all among the saints of early Christian history. He received his education at big metropolitan centers of Caeserea, Constantinople and Athens. During these years of his education, he met Gregory of Nazianus, and established a well relationship with him. He had a chance to visit the principal monastic centers in the Pontus area, and became a monk there. Actually, St. Basil didn't stay long with his own community. But his influence on the foundation of monastic centers of Cappadocia was vast, and making him as the founder of the Monastic life. Even today's monastic life of the Orthodox church is still based on the principles established by him. He was made bishop of Caeserea in 370.As a bishop, he had to deal with the emperor Valens the supporter of Arians a sect whom St. Basil rejected their beliefs, and only two years after his death the Arianism was over. He was a strong personality to say the emperor, "Perhaps, you have never before had to deal with a proper bishop". His great contribution to his community was that a large complex he built in Cappadocia area, which included a church, hospice, hospital, rock dwellings where number of doctors, nurses, staff and artists were employed. We can understand that he was the beloved saint of Cappadocians, as a big crowd wept at his funeral. What is known about St. Basil comes from his own letters and sermons, and for sure accurate. After a s relatively short life, he died at his home city Caeserea in 379. Today, Cappadocia area has many churches that bear his name. His close connections with Gregory of Nazianus and his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa came to describe these three saints of Cappadocia as "Church Fathers".
 
Carpus and Papylus (MB)

Both were martyred at Pergamum C. 170. Carpus was the bishop of Gordion in Phrygia region of Turkey, and also Gordion was the King Midas' city. Papylus was the bishop of Thyatira, one of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Because of their beliefs, both bishops were brought together before the Roman governor of Pergamum, and asked to sacrifice to the Roman Gods. Upon their refusal, they were both thrown on the fire and burned alive. At the same time, a mother who was a Christian, was said by the officials not to make her children motherless because of her faith, she replied "the God will look after them", and shared the same fate with Carpus and Papylus.
 
Daniel the Stylite (S)

He was born in Maratha in Syria in C. 409. He was the best known disciple of St. Simeon the Stylite, (Stylite means pillar in Greek). Until his 42, he was a monk at near his home, and visited St. Simeon on his pillar at Telassinus. He then relocated to a hermitage near Constantinople, and after the death of St. Simeon, started his own way of life. The platform on which Daniel lived, had two conjoined pillars, a reference to St. Simeon and St. Daniel the Stylites. He was often consulted by the emperors Leo I and Zeno and also by the patriarchs of Constantinople. He was believed by the local to have healing powers, and crowds brought their sick to be cured and prayed over. Daniel appears as uncomplicated man, because he gave practical advise and preached sermons in a simple language and directed towards the point. He live to an advanced age of 84 and buried after his death at the foot of his Pillar in Constantinople.
 
Dorothy (M)

The story of Dorothy comes from Oral tradition rather than historical. She was born in Caeserea of Cappadocia, and when she was a young girl, she was arrested by the Roman Soldiers and sentenced to death during the emperor Diocletian's severe persecutions. As she was taken to the execution place, a lawyer named Theophilius mocked her, asking to send him flowers and fruit from the heavenly garden. Miraculously, a boy appeared to him with a basket full of apples and flowers which Dorothy sent to Theophilus. Being shocked by this miracle, Theophilius converted to a Christian, and shared the same fate as Dorothy. The emblem of Dorothy is a basket.

 

 
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