Orthodox America

  Martyr Julian of Tarsus

Commemorated June 21

        St. Julian, the son of a pagan senator and a Christian mother, was born in the Cilician city of Anazerva. Upon the death of his father, S t. Julian's mother moved to Tarsus, another city in Cilicia. Here she baptized young Julian, teaching him--along with his letters, the basic tenets of the Faith and the rules of Christian piety.

       When Julian was 18 years old, there arose a great persecution of Christians, instigated by the Roman Emperor Diocletian (who reigned from 284 to 305). Julian was among those Christians arrested and brought to the magistrate Marcian for trial. But neither cruel torments nor threats nor promises of gifts and honors could incline the pious youth to turn away from Christ and bring sacrificial offerings to the pagan idols. For a whole year they led Julian from city to city in Cilicia, putting him to tortures everywhere, but he, like adamant, remained firm in his confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

      When St. Julian was brought to the coastal city of Egaia, the heathens there forced open the holy martyr's mouth and crammed it with meat and blood that had been offered to idols, thinking thereby to defile the pure and holy servant of Christ with unclean sacrifices. Then they imprisoned St. Julian in a dungeon. His pious mother, who had been accompanying him everywhere, praying to the Lord to strengthen St. Julian in his painful trial, came there to see him. When the torturers seized her and brought her before the magistrate, she begged to be given three days in the dungeon with her son in order to persuade him to worship the idols. The magistrate granted her request. But she, spending day and night in the dungeon conversing with her son, exhorted him with tears and maternal love to bear these temporary torments to the end, in order to receive from the Lord eternal blessings in the kingdom of martyrs.

       When three days had passed, St. Julian was brought, together with his mother, to the magistrate for trial. Thinking that the mother had succeeded in persuading her son to bring offerings to the idols, the magistrate began to praise her for her exhortations, but she loudly and fearlessly began to confess the name of Jesus Christ and to condemn pagan godlessness. And St. Julian also dauntlessly confessed and glorified Jesus Christ as the one true God, and exposed the pantheism of the pagans. The infuriated magistrate ordered them both--mother and son,--to be tortured. After many torments, they chopped off the feet of the Saint's mother, the very feet on which she had traveled about from Tarsus, following after her son; the holy martyr Julian was put in a sack filled with sand and various poisonous reptiles, and tossed into the sea. Thus did St. Julian reach the end of his sufferings. Not long thereafter, his pious mother likewise died a martyr's death, and both received crowns of victory from Christ God.

       St. Julian's body was carried to shore by the waves, and there it was found by a pious widow from Alexandria who had it buried with honor. Somewhat later, Julian' s holy relics were brought to Antioch. St. John Chrysostom, when he was a presbyter in that city, honored the memory of holy martyr Julian with words of praise. 

(Translated by John Hudanish from St. Dimitry of Rostov’s Lives of Saints)