THE PRIEST

April 13

From the Prologue

Artemon was a priest in Laodicea during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Before his tormenting judge, he spoke of himself: "I am called Artemon, a slave of Christ, my God. For sixteen years I was a lector and read books in the Church of my God. For twenty-eight years, I was a deacon and read the Holy Gospel. With the help of Christ, I have fulfilled thirty-three years as a presbyter teaching men and placing them on the path of salvation." The judge brought him to the temple of Aesculapius, where the soothsayers nursed large reptiles dedicated to this "god." They all assumed that the snakes would bite Artemon. Artemon crossed himself and by the power of the cross nailed all the snakes to the ground rendering them unable to move. After that, he brought them all out into the courtyard, breathed upon them and all of them died instantly. All of the soothsayers were in great fear. Upon seeing this miracle, Vitalis, the chief soothsayer of this temple, fell to his knees before Artemon and cried out: "Great is the Christian God!" The martyr then baptized him along with several of his friends. The malicious judge remained persistent in his malice and tortured the aged Artemon in various ways. Once, he wanted to throw him into a vat of boiling pitch but, he fell off his horse into the pitch and he himself was incinerated. Two eagles were seen who swooped down upon the judge, lifted him from the horse and dropped him into the pitch. St. Artemon remained free for a period of time and traveled about, always accompanied with his two beloved deer, and instructed the people. Again, he was captured and was beheaded in the year 303 A.D. and his soul took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ our God, Whom St. Artemon faithfully served.





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