1,218 Martyred Soldiers with women and children who suffered in Galatia


Commemorated on May 24

The holy martyr Meletius was a military commander of the Galatia district of Asia Minor during the reign of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. He was a Christian and prayed fervently that the Lord would put an end to the pagans. Terrified by his prayer, the devils inhabiting the pagan temples entered into dogs, which frightened the inhabitants of the district with their howling.

St. Meletius and his soldiers killed the mad dogs, and destroyed the temples, but were then arrested and brought to trial before Governor Maximian. For refusing to offer sacrifice to idols, St. Meletius was tortured, and he died confessing his faith in Christ. The tribunes of his regiment, the holy martyrs Stephen and John, were beheaded for their confession of Christ as true God.

The remaining soldiers of the regiment, also declaring themselves Christians, were beheaded by the sword, together with their wives and children.

1,218 perished, although some historians put the number at 11,000.

Among the women and children who suffered were the holy martyrs Marciana, Susanna, Palladia, and the infants Cyriacus and Christian.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)