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Babylas the Holy Martyr

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September 4

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Saint Babylas was the twelfth Bishop of Antioch, being the successor of Zebinus (or Zebinas); he was beheaded during the reign of Decius, in the year 250, and at his own request was buried in the chains with which he was bound. The Emperor Gallus (reigned 351-354) built a church in his honour at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, to put an end to the demonic oracles at the nearby temple of Apollo. When Julian the Apostate came in 362 to consult the oracle about his campaign against the Persians, the oracle (that is, the demon within it) remained dumb until at last, answering Julian's many sacrifices and supplications, it told him, "The dead prevent me from speaking." It told Julian to dig up the bones and move them. Julian, then, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, "leaving all the other dead, moved only that Martyr." He commanded the Christians to take away Saint Babylas' bones, which they did with great solemnity and triumph. When this had been done, a thunderbolt fell from heaven destroying with fire the shrine of Apollo, which Julian did not dare rebuild. Saint John Chrysostom preached a sermon on this within a generation after.

Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Babylas in the Fourth Tone

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Babylas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of Hieromartyr Babylas in the Fourth Tone

In thy heart, O Babylas, thou sacred Martyr, thou didst set the mighty works of faith and keptest them secure; hence, thou didst not fear the tyrant's rage. Keep us as well, O good servant of Christ our God.