In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember Saint Artemon of Syria, may the saint pray for us.
St Artemon was born of Christian parents in the 3rd century. When he turned 16, he was made a reader and he faithfully served as reader for 12 years (till 28). Bishop St Sisinos saw St Artemon’s dedication to the Divine Liturgy, and ordained him to Deacon. St Artemon served faithfully as deacon for the next 28 years (till 56 years old), when he was then ordained as a priest and he too faithfully served for the next 33 years (till 89). St Artemon preached the Gospel to the pagans.
The saint was eventually arrested, set for trial where he was to be forced to submit to pagan deities. In the pagan temple was many venomous snakes. St Artemon called on the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, went into the temple and let out the snakes. By his breath, the snakes were all killed. One of the pagan priests Bitalios, believed in Christ and St Artemon baptized him. Patricius the commander thought St Artemon dabbled in sorcery and tortured him. The saint was eventually to be executed alive in a cauldron filled with tar, but two angels of our Lord threw Patricius the commander into the cauldron while St Artemon remained alive. Eventually, St Artemon went to preached throughout Asia by the calling of God. He converted many to Christ. Eventually, the saint was beheaded in 303.
Syria as we know today, was once a rich platform for Christianity. St Artemon, a faithful and blessed Christian, was from such a place.
In the modern situation where even clergy can become career-driven, St Artemon showed us that faith and dedication to the work of God is the most important in our humble service to God. He remained as a reader for 12 years. He served as deacon for 28 years. Then he served as a priest for 33 years. He did not seek a higher office or ecclesial rank. He simply served God and God’s people. And through his service, God worked the hearts of many whom St Artemon preached to.
In the same spirit, we need to recognize that humble and dedicated labor is the most important when serving God, and that we are not here to seek higher offices, ranks, wealth or fame (Proverbs 10:12-17).
Just as St Philip listened to what the Angel of our Lord commanded to go to Gaza, as we read from Acts 8:26-39, we too, are to dutifully obey the commands of God and do as He Wills. And in the once vibrant land of Syria, let us also pray for this land and her people, that God will alleviate her and all from suffering by intruders and evil people.
God is heartened at our loving obedience, not fearful obedience, not blind obedience, but an obedience out of love for Him. God also asked for our courage, as we read from Joshua 1:7-9. Courage is not an absence of fear, but the conquest of that fear. We are to conquer our many fears, and embrace God with the courage, love and obedience.
St Artemon showed us obedience, humility, love, and courage. Many saints time memorial have showed us the same. They followed the path of Christ our Lord. We are to seek the same, walk the same, and perhaps, martyr in living and in death, the same.
Let us pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.
Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:
It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.
O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.