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St. Porphyrius

Saint Porphyrius of Gaza

Bishop & Confessor

Porphyrius was born in Thessalonica to a wealthy Macedonian noble family, around the year 350. At the age of twenty-five, he renounced the things of the world and left for Egypt, where he lived in a monastery for five years. Porphyrius then departed on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and decided to live as a hermit near the River Jordan, which he did for another five years. A serious illness nearly killed him, and he moved to Jerusalem to be near the site of the Resurrection. It was here that Porphyrius met his disciple and hagiographer Mark, a future deacon, who helped Porphyrius sell his remaining property in Thessalonica and distribute the earnings to the poor. When Porphyrius recovered his health, he was made a priest and entrusted with guarding a relic of the Holy Cross, though he considered himself unworthy of these honors. Even more reluctantly, Porphyrius was soon made bishop of Gaza, in which role he labored long and hard to convert the pagan inhabitants of the city and destroy their idols. By the time he died, on February 26th in the year of Our Lord 420, not a single professed pagan remained in his see. In the traditional Roman Calendar, this feast is observed on the 27th in leap years.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 26th (Read on the 27th in Leap Years)

AT Pergen, in Pamphylia, during the persecution of Decius, the birthday of the blessed bishop Nestor, who, praying night and day for the preservation of the flock of Christ, was put under arrest. As he confessed the name of the Lord with great joy and freedom, he was most cruelly tortured on the rack, by order of the governor Pollio, and still courageously proclaiming that he would ever remain faithful to Christ, he was suspended on a cross; and thus triumphantly went to heaven.

In the same place, the passion of Saints Papias, Diodorus, Conon, and Claudian, who preceded St. Nestor to martyrdom.

Also, the holy martyrs Fortunatus, Felix, and twenty-seven others.

At Alexandria, the bishop St. Alexander, an aged man held in great honor, who succeeded blessed Peter as bishop of that city. He expelled from the Church Arius, one of his priests, tainted with heretical impiety, and convicted by divine truth, and subsequently was one of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who condemned him in the Council of Nicaea.

At Bologna, the bishop St. Faustinian, whose preaching strengthened and multiplied the faithful of that Church, which had been much afflicted during the persecution of Diocletian.

At Gaza, in Palestine, in the time of the emperor Arcadius, St. Porphyry, bishop, who overthrew the idol Marnas and its temple, and after many sufferings, went to rest in the Lord.

At Florence, St. Andrew, bishop and confessor.

In the territory of Arcis, St. Victor, confessor, whose eulogy was written by St. Bernard.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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