Saint of the Day – 27 July – St Pantaleon – Martyr, Lay Physician, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He was martyred in c 305. Patronages – against consumption or tuberculosis, bachelors, doctors, physicians, midwives, torture victims. A phial of his blood is preserved at Constantinople and is reported to become liquid and bubble on his feast day. Some of his relics are enshrined at the church of Saint Denis in Paris, France and others at Lyons, France.
According to legend he was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Eubula. He became estranged from Christianity for a while as a young man.
He studied medicine and became physician to the Emperor Maximinianus.
He returned to the faith when he encountered a zealous priest, Hermolaus who by prudent exhortation awakened Pantaleon’s conscience to a sense of his guilt, and brought him back into the faith of the Church. Henceforth he devoted himself ardently to the advancement of the spiritual and temporal welfare of his fellow citizens. First of all he sought to convert his father, who was still a heathen and had the consolation to see him die a Christian. As a physician, he was intent on healing his patients both by physical and by spiritual means. Christians he confirmed in the practice and confession of the Faith” and the heathens he sought to convert. Many suffering from incurable diseases were restored to health by his prayer and the invocation of the holy name of Jesus. His presence was everywhere fraught with blessings and consolation. Upon the death of his father he came into possession of a large fortune, which he divied amongst the poor and the sick. Envious colleagues denounced him to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution. The emperor wished to save him and sought to persuade him to apostasy. Pantaleon, however, openly confessed his faith and as proof that Christ is the true God, he healed a paralytic. Notwithstanding this, he was condemned to death by the emperor, who regarded the miracle as an exhibition of magic.
According to legend, Pantaleon’s flesh was first burned with torches; upon this Christ appeared to all in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon. The torches were extinguished. Then a bath of liquid lead was prepared, Christ in the same form stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold. He was then thrown into the sea but the stone with which he was loaded floated. He was thrown to the wild beasts but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel but the ropes snapped and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him but the sword bent and the executioners were converted. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleemon (the all-compassionate). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him, nailed to a tree. The priest Hermolaus and the brothers Hermippos and Hermocrates suffered death with him, in the year 305.