Today on the Julian calendar (October 14/27) is the feast day of the holy hieromartyr Silvanus the Elder of Gaza. Saint Silvanus was born in the Holy Land. He is described as meek and humble, and of great piety and steadfastness in the service of God. He had been a soldier, and when his time in the service of men was completed, he enlisted in God’s service, becoming a priest and later Bishop of Gaza, serving in “the church in the city of Gaza,” according to Eusebius of Caesarea. We know that he endured three separate instances of torture under Diocletian, finally being sent to work in a copper mine. Ultimately, he was martyred in the year 310 A.D. with thirty-nine others.
St. Silvanus is described as bright-minded, cheerful, humble, and pious, a man who “used his faith with simplicity and purity,” according to Eusebius. He did not allow the horrors of war or the persecution and torture he endured to dim his shining piety.
Today the international cable has been cut, leaving Palestinians without a way to communicate with those outside the city where they are trapped. With no one to appeal to in this world, they turn to God and His saints. Here, they need no cable, only the cries of their hearts.
Gaza has many saints that have walked its streets. Some, like St. Silvanus, knew soldiering, war, and horror before turning to a life of service to the Lord and His Church. He is a saint who knows these people, their city, their suffering.
The Holy Order of St. George the Great Martyr wishes to honor this bright, cheerful hieromartyr by serving his people, helping them to endure, and by being there when peace comes and they can rebuild.
We ask that you contribute as much as you are able, so that when communication can resume, those in Gaza who survive this terrible onslaught will know that their prayers have been heard, that help is waiting, and that they have not been forgotten.
Holy Hieromartyr St. Silvanus the Elder, pray to God for us!
Troparion — Tone 4
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles,
you became a successor to their throne.
Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God;
by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith,
even to the shedding of your blood.
Hieromartyr Silvanus, entreat Christ God to save our souls.