The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of St. Leontius of Tripoli (Lawendius)
Also on this day, St. Leontius of Tripoli (Lawendius), was martyred. He was born in Tripoli to Christian parents. He was handsome, perfect in his conduct, and gentle in his relationships. He read continuously the Holy Scriptures, especially the book of Psalms until he memorized it. When he enlisted in the army, he preached to his fellow soldiers, and demonstrated to them the corruption of idol worshipping. He advised them to refrain from its worship, some of them followed his advice while others were enticed by the devil and informed the commander that Leontius despised the idols, and was preaching that Christ was the true God.
The commander brought him to investigate the matter. The Saint answered the commander with the saying of St. Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?" (Romans 8:35)
The commander became enraged, and he threw the saint in prison. The next day, he brought him back, and asked him, "With what power do you dare to disobey the Emperor, and to drive the people away from worshipping the gods?" The Saint answered, "Truly I desire that all people come to the obedience of Christ. You too will inherit the Eternal Kingdom, if you abandon your error, and worship Christ." The commander ordered him to be beaten until his blood poured out on the ground, while the saint was praising God and glorifying His name. One of the soldiers sympathized with him, and came close to him, saying, "I greatly sympathize with you, therefore I want you to sacrifice to the gods, so you will be pardoned." The Saint cried out at him saying, "Go away from me Satan." The commander increased his torture until he delivered up his pure spirit while he was in prison.
A rich believing woman came, gave money to the soldiers and to the prison guard, and took the body. She wrapped it in a golden shroud, and put him in a coffin inside her home, until the end of the time of persecution.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever, Amen.
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