Commemorated on April 9th
St Eupsychios the Martyr
Holy Martyr Eupsychios was born in the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia and received a Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.
During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD), Eupsychios entered into Christian wedlock. At Caesarea there was a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna, whom Julian the Apostate revered. As Eupsychios was going to his wedding, the pagans were offering sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna. St Eupsychios was filled with zeal for the Lord, and he destroyed the temple. He knew that this would inevitably result in his punishment. He distributed all his possessions to the poor and prepared himself for martyrdom.
The enraged emperor Julian loosed his wrath not only upon St Eupsychios, but against all the inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens were executed, while the more respectable were sent into exile. Christian clergy were drafted into military service, and he looted the churches of anything valuable. The city was deprived of its title Caesarea (i.e. "Imperial") and resumed its original name of Maza. He also imposed a severe tax on the inhabitants. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one destroyed.
Julian tried to compel St Eupsychios to offer sacrifice to idols. For many days they tormented the Saint on a rack, and also with iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge sentenced the martyr to be beheaded with a sword. Then Julian embarked on a campaign against the Persians, marching through Cappadocia and approaching Caesarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to its foundations. Then St Basil the Great (commemorated January 1), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority, came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he ate. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to give St Basil a pinch of hay saying, "You have given us barley, cattle fodder. Now receive hay from us in return".
The Saint answered, "O Emperor, we bring you that which we ourselves eat, and you give us cattle feed. You mock us, since you, by your might, are not able to transform hay into bread, the essential food of mankind". Julian angrily retorted, "I'll shove this hay down your throat when I return here from Persia. I shall raze this city to its very foundations, and plow over this ground and turn it into a field. I know that it was on your advice that the people dared to destroy the statues and temple of Fortuna".
After this the emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 AD by the holy Great Martyr Mercurios (commemorated November 24). After the emperor's demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea built a splendid church over the grave of St Eupsychios, and from his holy relics they received help and healing.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
Your Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for You received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since he possessed Your strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' powerless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion (Second Tone)
As a living temple of Christ the Lord you destroyed the ungodly temple, and built a dwelling in Paradise, O Martyr Eupsychios, by your steadfast toils in martyrdom