July 21 (July 8 old calendar)
Saint Procopius was born in Jerusalem to a Christian father and a pagan mother, his name originally being Neanias. After his father's death, his mother brought him up entirely in the spirit of Roman idolatry. When he had grown up, the Emperor Diocletian saw him and was so pleased with him that he took him to court to serve in the army. When this wicked Emperor launched a persecution of Christians, he ordered Neanias to go with a detachment of soldiers to Alexandria and exterminate the Christians there. But on the road something happened to Neanias that was similar to what happened to Saul. At three o'clock in the morning there was a violent earthquake, the Lord Jesus appearing to him and saying, "Neanias, where are you going, and against whom are you rebelling?" In great fear, Neanias replied, "Who are you, Lord? I cannot recognize You." Then a brilliant Cross, as of crystal, appeared in the sky and a voice came from the Cross, "I am Jesus, the crucified Son of God. By this sign that you have seen, overcome your enemies, and My peace will be with you." This event utterly changed Neanias's life. He caused a cross such as he had seen to be made, and instead of moving against the Christians, set off with his soldiers against the Agarians (Arabs), who were attacking Jerusalem. He entered Jerusalem victorious and told his mother that he was a Christian. Brought to trial, he took off his army belt and sword and cast them before the judge, demonstrating that he was a soldier only of Christ the King. After harsh torture, he was thrown into prison. There Christ the Lord appeared to him again, baptizing him and giving him the name Procopius. One day twelve women came to the window of his cell and said to him, "We also are the servants of Christ." Arrested for this, they were thrown into the same prison, where St. Procopius instructed them in the Christian faith and carefully prepared them to receive the crown of martyrdom.* These twelve women were then harshly tortured. Beholding their sufferings and courage, Procopius' mother also came to faith in Christ, and then all thirteen were put to death. When St. Procopius was led to the scaffold, he raised his hands towards the East and prayed to God for all the poor and needy, the destitute and the widowed, and especially for the holy Church, that it might grow and spread and that Orthodoxy might shine to the end of time. He was assured from heaven that his prayer was heard, after which he joyfully laid his head under the sword and went to his Lord, to eternal joy. St. Procopius suffered with honor in Palestinian Caesarea, and was crowned with an eternal wreath of glory, on July 8th, 303.
Author's note: Therefore those in the married state ('crowned'), invoke St. Procopius, together with the God-crowned Constantine and Helena.
Troparion, Tone 5
Heaven caught thee and drew thee to piety,/ and like Paul thou didst gladly follow Christ,/ O Procopius adornment of martyrs./ Through the might of the Cross thou didst excel in contest/ and put Belial to shame,/ from whose malice preserve those who lovingly praise thee.
Kontakion, Tone 2
Zealous for Christ and armed with the might of the Cross/ thou didst humble the proud and bold enemy./ O Procopius, thou didst exalt the Church/ and dost now enlighten us in the Faith.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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