The Holy Martyrs Barbaros the Soldier, and together with him Bakkhos, Callimachos and Dionysios
Commemorated on May 6
The Holy Martyrs Barbaros the Soldier, and together with him Bakkhos, Callimachos and Dionysios lived during the IV Century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate. Saint Barbaros was secretly a Christian; in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single-combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honour in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was bestown the title of "comites" ("imperial bodyguard"). After the victory over the Franks, the military Bakkhos wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods and he deferred to Barbaros as the victor to have the honour of making the first sacrificial offering. Saint Barbaros thereupon openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. For this, by order of Julian the Apostate, he was subjected to much torture. They suspended the saint and tore at his body until his insides were falling out. Saint Barbaros called out to the Lord for help, and forthwith an Angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, such that not a trace of them remained. Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bakkhos and two soldiers – Callimachos and Dionysios, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this they were immediately beheaded. They continued with their torture of Saint Barbaros. They tied him to a wheel, beneathe which they set ablaze a strong fire, and the body of the sufferer they sprinkled with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed, while the fire however caught upon the torturers, burning many and killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbaros for yet another seven days. But through miraculous help from on high he remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest appearance of the power of God, many pagans were converted them to faith in the True God. Saint Barbaros finally had an end to his glorious deed, being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The body of the martyr was given burial in the city of Peloponnesian Methona by the pious bishop Philikios.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.