March 11

From the Prologue

Pionius was priest from Syria. He suffered in Smyrna during the time ofpersecution under Decius. He was condemned to be crucified, for which he was exceedingly glad. As soon as the soldiers formed a cross and laid it upon the ground, Pionius freely lay on the cross, stretched out his arms and ordered the soldiers to nail him in the hands with spikes. The cross was inserted in the ground upside down and a fire was ignited under the head of the martyr. Many people gathered around. Pionius closed his eyes and prayed to God within himself. The flames of the fire did not even catch the hairs of his head on fire. When, at last, the fire was extinguished and when everyone thought that Pionius was dead, he opened his eyes and cried out rejoicing, "O God, receive my soul," and expired. This saint wrote " The Life of St. Polycarp of Smyrna," with whom he rejoices in the Kingdom of Christ. He suffered and was glorified in the year 250 A.D.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas