July 27th – Saint Panteleimon, “mercy for everyone”, Holy Unmercenary Healer [† 303]

Saint Panteleimon Greek: Παντελεήμων [Panteleimon], “all-compassionate”, counted in the West [Saint Pantaleon]among the late-medieval Fourteen Holy Helpers and in the East as one of the Holy Unmercenary Healers, was a martyr of Nicomedia in Bithynia during the Diocletian persecution of 303 AD.

Though there is evidence to suggest that a martyr named Panteleimon [Pantaleon] existed, the various stories told of his life and death are considered ‘by some’ to be purely legendary.

Panteleimon was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia, and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Saint Eubula; however, after her death he fell away from  Christian church, while he studied medicine with a renowned physician Euphrosinos; under the patronage of Euphrosinos he became physician to the Emperor Maximian or Galerius.

He was won back to Christianity by Saint Hermolaus [characterized as a bishop of the church at Nicomedia in the later literature], who convinced him that Christ was the better physician, signalling the significance of the exemplum of Panteleimon that faith is to be trusted over medical advice, marking the direction Western medicine was to take until the 16th century.

He studied medicine with such success, that the Emperor Maximillian appointed him his physician. One day as our saint was discoursing with a holy priest named Hermolaus, the latter, after praising the study of medicine, concluded thus: “But, my friend, of what use are all thy acquirements in this art, since thou art ignorant of the science of salvation“?[Saint Alphonsus Liguori, 1888]

By miraculously healing a blind man by invoking the name of Jesus over him, Panteleimon converted his father, upon whose death he came into possession of a large fortune, but freed his slaves and, distributing his wealth among the poor, developed a great reputation in Nicomedia.
Envious colleagues denounced him to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution.
The emperor wished to save him and sought to persuade him to apostasy.
Panteleimon, however, openly confessed his faith, and as proof that Christ is the True God, he healed a paralytic. Notwithstanding this, he was condemned to death by the emperor, who regarded the miracle as an exhibition of magic.

According to the later hagiography, Panteleimon ‘s flesh was first burned with torches, whereupon Christ appeared to all in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Panteleimon. The torches were extinguished.
– Then a bath of molten lead was prepared; when the apparition of Christ stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold.
– Panteleimon was now thrown into the sea, loaded with a great stone, which floated.
– He was thrown to wild beasts, but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them.
– He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke.
– An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted to Christianity.
Panteleimon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleimon [“mercy for everyone” or “all-compassionate”].
It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him, upon which there issued forth blood and a white liquid like milk.

During time a lot of parishes and monasteries are devoted to Saint Panteleimon – expression of our needs to survival in this desert.

How to control behaviour
We must look each moment and each event as being significant [important].
How much we miss when we fail to observe carefully all our moments inward and outward.
To me, the most efficacious attitudes one can have regarding himself are:
1.] Keep Christ our Saviour in mind – He is the healer of mankind
2.] the most open mind possible regarding your appearance,
the way you grown up, the way you use your physical possibilities [impossiblilities] and
the way you handle [behave with these].
3.] a complete lack of expectation regarding your response to your thoughts.
In this way, I think as you show, what you do and how,
everything can happen as the Christian law of your personal being.

God is a mystery to all beings.
God is in us, and that is why we are a mystery to our own selves.
God reveals Himself only to the meek and humble.
He is present everywhere, and He is a mystery.
We may learn a little about Him, or may gather some knowledge from nature, but for
the most part, we are surrounded by mystery.
When a person is meek and humble, he will advance in knowledge.
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

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