Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
In a previous post, we talked about the modern-day martyrs in Egypt. Today, we are sharing with you a little known Christian martyr named Haralambos.
Christians were persecuted during the reign of Septimius Severus. When a person was accused of being a Christian, there were only two choices: deny Jesus or make an offering to the Roman gods. Execution followed if the Christian refused. It was that simple.
St. Haralambos’ reputation as a man of God had spread throughout the area and many people came to the faith through his preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. During a period of extreme persecution, Haralambos did not hide, but openly and boldly preached the Christian Orthodox Faith! When Haralambos was finally arrested for having the courage to preach the Gospel, his persecutors devised a plan for everyone to witness. During one of these times of torture, Haralambos was stripped of his clothing and his body was ripped with iron claws. He withstood the torture with courage.
One of the dukes became enraged. Taking the iron claw, he began to rip him repeatedly. At this point the first miracle occurred. The duke’s hands became paralysed. Screaming, he asked Haralambos to help him. Seeing the Duke’s plight, the governor spat in the Saint’s face. Immediately his head twisted in an awkward position, where it remained. The onlookers were terrified and begged the Saint to pray to Christ to save them. Haralambos beckoned them to pray and ask forgiveness for their sins. The duke pleaded with him to pray to Christ to recover the use of his hands. When the Saint finished praying, the duke’s hands were healed. He was then baptised and became a devout Christian. There were other miracles that followed before he finally died during one of his times of torture. St. Haralambos was 113 years old when he was martyred for the Christian Faith.
He was known for being a shepherd to his flock. He is now considered to be the protector of shepherds and their flocks. His body is now in the Monastery of Saint Stephen in Meterora, Greece. The Christian faithful who pray there tell of miracles that continue.
Jesus said if there is one lost sheep, He would find it. Do you feel like a lost sheep? Pray and Jesus will find you also. He knows your need and your pain….just as those who brought the good news of Christ…suffered pain and death to bring this message of God’s love to many generations to follow.