Thursday, April 23, 2020

Holy Martyr Athanasios Who Was a Sorcerer, Converted by Saint George

St. Athanasios the Martyr (Feast Day - April 23)


Athanasios the sorcerer was beheaded,
The ailing soul found a strange medicine.

During the trials of the Holy Great Martyr George, Dadianus the governor wrote a letter in which he thus said, "I write to the whole world, greetings. Let any sorcerer or magician who can put an end to the magic of this Christian come here to me, and I will give him much wealth and any territory that he shall ask for, and he shall be second in the kingdom."Saint George had miraculously emerged unharmed from his tortures by divine grace, and because of his miracles the stubborn pagans believed he was a magician, and only another magician could defeat him.

When this letter had been sent throughout the whole world, behold a man appeared whose name was Athanasios, and he came to the governor and said, "O king, live for ever! There is nothing which I am not able to perform in your presence." The governor rejoiced, and said, "What sign will you work before me that I may know that you are able to put an end to the magic of the Christians?" Athanasios answered and said, "Let them bring me an ox." And when they had brought him he spake some words in his ears, and he was rent in two. Athanasios said to Dadianus, "Let them bring me a pair of scales," and they brought them to him; and he threw the one half of the ox into one pan of the scales and the other half into the other, and they were exactly equal, and there was not the least difference between the weight of the two halves.

And the governor commanded and they brought Saint George to the tribune, and he said to him, "O George, it is for your sake that I have summoned this man into my dominions; you must vanquish his magic or he will vanquish yours, you must slay him or he will slay you." Saint George looked at the magician and said, "Hasten, my brother, and do unto me speedily whatsoever you wish to do, for I see grace drawing nigh unto you." And straightway Athanasios took a cup, and washed his face in it, and invoked the names of demons over the cup, and gave it to him to drink; and when he had drunk no evil happened to him at all.

Athanasios answered and said to George, "My lord, let me only give you one other sign, and if no evil befall you then I will believe upon Him Whom they crucified." Then he took another cup, and washed his face in it, and invoked the names of demons more evil than the first over it, and he gave him the cup to drink; and when the Saint had drunk no evil happened to him. When Athanasios saw that no evil had happened to him, he said to him, "O Holy George, you have the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners; have mercy upon my soul, and give me the seal of Christ."

When Dadianus saw what had happened he was greatly enraged, and commanded them to take the magician outside the city and to slay him with the sword; so he consummated his martyrdom, and was esteemed worthy of everlasting life. And the governor commanded them to throw Saint George into prison until he had decided what he should do with him.