Saint Basil, the Holy Martyr of Ancyra
Saint Basil was a presbyter in Ancyra, Galatia. Fighting against the Arian heresy, he urged his flock to cling firmly to Orthodoxy. Because of this St Basil was deposed from his priestly rank by a local Arian council, but a Council of 230 bishops in Palestine reinstated him. St Basil openly continued to preach and denounce the Arians. Therefore, he became the victim of persecution and was subjected to punishment as a man dangerous to the state. The two apostates Elpidios and Pegasios were ordered to turn St Basil from Orthodoxy. The Saint remained unshakable, and was again subjected to tortures.
When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD) arrived in the city of Ancyra, St Basil bravely confessed Christ before him at the trial, and denounced the emperor for his apostasy. Julian ordered that strips of skin be cut from the Saint”s back. St Basil endured the gruesome torture with great patience. When they began to beat his shoulders and stomach with red-hot rods, he fell down upon the ground from the torments and cried out, “O Christ, my Light! O Jesus, my Hope! Quiet Haven from the stormy sea. I thank You, O Lord God of my fathers, that You have snatched my soul from the pit of Hell and preserved Your Name in me unstained! Let me finish my life a victor and inherit eternal life according to the promise You gave my fathers. Now accept my soul in peace, plying steadfast in this confession! For You are merciful and great is Your mercy, You Who live and sojourn throughout all the ages. Amen”.
Having made such prayer, and lacerated all over by the red-hot rods, the Saint fell into a sweet slumber, giving up his soul into the hands of God. The Hieromartyr Basil died June 29, 362 AD. His commemoration was transferred to March 22 because of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, you found discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Therefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, you also contested for the Faith even to blood, O Hieromartyr Basil. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion (Third Tone)
As a priest of the King of glory, you also became a holy warrior by your contest. You shamed the counsels of the lawless, and receive the enjoyment of the heavenly kingdom, O Basil, blessed Hieromartyr of Christ.
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