Venerable Martyrs Galaction and Epistime
Saint Galaction was born to parents who could not conceive. Living as fervent pagans, Galaction’s mother came to learn about Christ through a secret priest who preached at people’s homes. The boy grew up in a pious manner and was educated well. When he was 24, his parents found him a noble bride by the name of Epistime. Before they were married, Galaction revealed to her that he was a Christian and preached the faith to her. She was immediately baptised and agreed to flee together to two monasteries on a nearby mountain, one for men and the other for women. A fierce persecution of Christians soon broke out and the pagans learnt of the location of these monasteries. The other monks and nuns fled, but Galaction remained in his cell reading the scriptures. The pagans seized him and as Epistime saw them dragging him away to torture, she asked for the blessing from her Abbess to suffer with her fiancé. They were lead to torture where they cut off their hands and feet, and tore out their tongues. They were then beheaded and their bodies left unburied. A dedicated former servant of Epistime, who too had become a monastic, took the bodies and reverently buried them, recording down their virtuous life and martyrdom.
Ἦχος α’. Τῆς ἐρήμου πολίτης.
Tὴν λαμπρὰν ξυνωρίδα τῶν μαρτύρων τιμήσωμεν ὥσπερ συζυγίαν ἀρίστην καὶ κλειτὴν καὶ θεόφρονα· τὸν θεῖον Γαλακτίωνα πιστοί, ὁμοῦ σὺν Ἐπιστήμῃ τῇ σεμνῇ. Δι’ ἀσκήσεως γὰρ πόνων ἀθλητικὴν ἐξήνθησαν φαιδρότητα. Δόξα τῷ ἐνισχύσαντι ὑμᾶς, δόξα τῷ στεφανώσαντι, δόξα τῷ ἐνεργοῦντι δι’ ὑμῶν πᾶσιν ἰάματα.
Ἦχος β’. Τὰ ἄνω ζητῶν.
Μαρτύρων Χριστοῦ, τοῖς δήμοις ἠριθμήθητε, ἀγῶσι στεῤῥοῖς, φαιδρῶς ἀγωνισάμενοι, Γαλακτίων ἔνδοξε, σῦν συζύγῳ σεπτῇ καὶ συνάθλῳ σου, Ἐπιστήμη, τῷ μόνῳ Θεῷ, πρεσβεύοντες ἄμφω ὑπὲρ πάντων ἡμῶν.
Let us the faithful honor these two betrothed athletes: / Galaction and modest Episteme. / Their ascetic labors blossomed into martyrdom, therefore we cry to them: / “Glory to Him who has strengthened you! / Glory to Him who has crowned you! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”
You are numbered among the hosts of martyrs / for you were illustrious in mighty contests. / Galaction, together with Episteme, / your faithful wife and companion in struggle, / unceasingly intercede to the one God for us all.