Today is a special day, it’s Valentine. People are celebrating the love, giving cards with love messages to each other, roses, chocolates, teddy bears, jewelry… Only on this day, a woman will not get suspicious why her beloved one is giving her roses.
What many people don’t know is that on this day there is another holiday. Two Saints, one Orthodox and one Roman Catholic, are celebrated today. As an Orthodox Christian, I’m celebrating St. Tryphon today. In the Orthodox church calendar, today is St. Tryphon’s day, a martyr from Asia Minor, who according to tradition was a healer of the possessed.
In the year 239 AD, Gordianos was the ruler of the Roman Empire, and even though he was a pagan, he was not a Christian persecutor. The Emperor had an only child, a daughter. This girl became possessed and tortured by a demon. The demon told them that he would not leave the girl’s body unless Tryphon were present.
The Emperor sent messengers to every city and town of the Empire to find Tryphon. He promised a large reward to the one who would bring the Saint to Rome. They arrived in Lampsakon, where Tryphon was watching over his geese. At this time Tryphon was 17 years old. The demon knew of Tryphon’s arrival three days prior to its occurrence and started to torment the girl even more. When Tryphon arrived in Rome, the demon could not look at the Saint and left the girl. The Emperor Gordianos welcomed Tryphon as the person who had cured his daughter.
To make certain of Tryphon’s validity, the Emperor asked him to make the demon appear before them so that he could ask him why he had possessed his daughter. The Saint fasted for six days, after which he prayed to God to give him the power to perform his task. After praying to God, Tryphon ordered the demon, in the name of Jesus Christ, to appear in front of them. Suddenly, a large black dog appeared in front of them. Tryphon then asked it why it had possessed the girl. The demon responded by saying that his father, Satan, had sent it to torture the girl and could only possess people who practiced what the demon stood for.
The people were amazed when they saw and heard this. The Emperor rewarded the Saint with many gifts. Tryphon was accompanied back to his home and after returning, he continued curing those who came to him.
After the death of Gordianos, the pious Philip became the ruler of the Roman Empire. He had no tolerance for Christians.
When the Emperor saw that Tryphon would not deny his beliefs, he ordered his soldiers to hang him on a cross and stab him with their spears. He faced the torture without fear. The Emperor admired this courage and tried to persuade Tryphon to sacrifice to the gods and save himself.
Tryphon was burned with torches, beaten and tortured in many other ways. Due to refusing to give up Christ, he was murdered when he was only 21 years old. Venetian traders brought his remains to Kotor, a town in Montenegro in the eighth century, and a cathedral was built in 1166 at the place where he was buried.
Later in many countries on the Balkan St. Tryphon is proclaimed as protector of the vineyards. I guess it’s the best combination to celebrate the love and the vine at the same time. All of you who give roses on this day, be careful not to fulfill the old Roman saying: “In vino veritas” (In the vine is the truth).
At the end, no matter what you are celebrating today, love or vine, celebrate it with both love and vine. It’s the best combination. ♥ ♥ ♥