On August 9, the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates St. Pantheleimon, a martyr and healer, who is revered as the patron of the ailing and warriors. His pre-baptism name was Pantholeon which meant "a lion in everything."
The saint has been revered in Russia since the 12th century. Prince Izyaslav bore the martyr's image on his helmet. On St. Pantheleimon's Day, Russia scored two major naval victories over Sweden (near Gangut in 1714 and Grenham in 1720).
St. Pantheleimon lived in the 3rd-4th centuries in Nikomidiya, Lesser Asia. When a young man he was baptized Pantheleimon, the name that means "All Merciful." He devoted his life to taking care of the ailing and poor.
Pantheleimon visited prisons to cure inmates. There were a lot of Christians, who were persecuted in those days, among prison inmates.
Somebody told on Pantheleimon, and he was arrested and tortured for exercising the Christian religion. However, as the legend goes, the most severe tortures were not painful to the healer. The martyr was thrown to wild animals who licked his feet and pushed each other to walk up to the saint and kiss his hand instead of tearing him to pieces.
When the martyr was beheaded, milk sprang from the wound.
St. Pantheleimon's relics were taken away throughout the Christian world. His head is kept at the Russian St. Pantheleimon monastery on Athos Mount.
St. Pantheleimon is begged for assistance during water blessing ceremonies and prayers for those suffering from diseases.
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