November 10, 2023

Saint Orestes: the Young Physician and Invincible Athlete of the Faith from Tyana in Cappadocia

By Aristeides Theodoropoulos, Educator

Among the numerous martyrs, who sacrificed themselves for their steadfast and unshakable faith in the Savior and Redeemer Christ, is the young martyr of Christ, Saint Orestes, who is honored on November 10, and who came from Tyana in Cappadocia and, according to some sources, was a physician by profession.

Saint Orestes was born, lived and was martyred during the time when the emperor of Rome was the cruel and paranoid Diocletian, who had unleashed a relentless persecution against the Christians in 303 AD. The young Orestes boldly proclaimed that the only true God is our Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus Christ. His fiery preaching motivated many to embrace Christianity and abandon the false religion of idols. When the ruler of the region Maximinus was informed that Orestes was preaching the faith in Jesus Christ, he ordered to arrest him and bring him before him. Maximinus tried with promises and rich gifts to convince him to abandon the blameless Christian faith and then worship lifeless idols. But the efforts of the ruler were fruitless and a series of horrible tortures awaited the young Orestes. First they stripped him and whipped him mercilessly. They then threw him in jail for seven days without food in the hope that he would change his mind. In prison the unshakable faith of the young confessor of the Lord's name grew so much that it enraged Maximinus even more. Then he gave the order for him to be led before a pagan temple to participate in sacrifices to false gods. But the invincible and glorious martyr of Christ remained steadfast in his faith and, praying, completely crushed the lifeless idols.

Seeing the young Orestes' unwavering fighting spirit, the tyrant ordered that his ankles be pierced with hot nails, chains passed through the holes made by the nails, and these were tied to the back of a wild and erratic horse. The animal was let loose and began to run ceaselessly and at a mighty gallop, dragging Orestes over rough and stony ground and a distance of twenty-four miles. The young and courageous glorious martyr of Christ, bloodied and mortally wounded, finally surrendered his spirit to the Heavenly Father on November 10, 304. Since then, this is also the day of celebration of his holy memory by the Orthodox Church. In this way, he won the unfading crown of sainthood, giving to today's youth of our country, but also to every fighting Christian, a brilliant and dynamic example of boldness and a fighting spirit, flourishing attitude and firm faith in the one and true God.

Chapel of Saint Orestes in Samos

The all-honorable relic of the Saint was thrown into the river, but devout Christians collected it and placed it in the very beautiful temple, which they erected in his honor in Tyana, while many were those who were healed by the miraculous intervention of the Saint. The fame of his innumerable miracles and the influx of pilgrims led to the establishment of a monastery around the temple, but also to the construction of a magnificent temple in his name in Constantinople.

The holy glorious martyr Orestes, honored on November 10, is praised and extolled as a brave and invincible soldier of Christ and through his Service of Praise, which was composed in 1904 on Mount Athos by the late musicologist Father Chrysostomos Lavriotis (1856–1908). A portable icon of the Saint adorns the iconostasis in the sacred university Church of Saint Antipas in Goudi, Athens, which was erected in 1974 in honor of the patron saint of dentists with the prompting and contribution of the eminent scientist Orestes Lourides. A beautiful chapel in the name of the glorious holy Martyr Orestes has been erected in the beautiful coastal area of Perri in the village of Skouraika on the borderland and historic island of Samos. The consecration of the church, which was erected in 2007 in memory of Orestes Karadimitriou, was performed by Metropolitan Eusebios of Samos and Ikaria on Sunday August 16, 2009.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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