July 18

From the Prologue

During the reign of Julian the Apostate, in the Thracian town of Dorostolon, lived a young man, Emilian, a servant of the mayor of the town. When the apostate emperor began to destroy Christianity throughout the realm of the Roman Empire by fire and sword and, when the emperor's representative came to Dorostolon to kill the Christians, he did not find a single one. Rejoicing at this, he sponsored a great banquet for the citizens of Dorostolon and ordered sacrifices to be offered to the idols and rejoicing ensued throughout the entire town, day and night. That night, St. Emilian entered the pagan temples, markets and the streets of the town and smashed all of the idols with a sledgehammer. The next day there was terror in the city. Everyone sought the destroyer of their gods. A peasant was passing by the temple that morning and was seized. Emilian, seeing that an innocent man would suffer, said to himself: "If I conceal my works, what benefit would I receive from that which I did? Before God, will I not be found as the murderer of this innocent man?" Therefore, he appeared before the emperor's legate and admitted all. The enraged legate asked Emilian, who had prompted you to do this? The martyr of Christ replied: "God and my soul ordered me to destroy those lifeless pillars which you call gods." The judge then ordered that Emilian be flogged and, after flogging and other tortures, ordered him to be buried alive. Thus ended the earthly life of St. Emilian and he was received into the heavenly life on July 18, 362 A.D.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas