Martyr Pancharius at Nicomedia
Commemorated on March 19
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father Who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father Who is in heaven” (St. Matthew 10:31-33).
The Holy Martyr Pancharius was born in Villach, Germany [present day Austria]. He was a high-ranking officer at the court of Diocletian and Maximian, captain of the royal guard and developed a strong friendship with Diocletian. He abandoned Christianity and became a pagan. His mother and sister sent him a letter in which they urged the apostate to fear God and the dread Last Judgment.They quoted the words of Jesus Christ, “Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” Having repented, Saint Pancharius openly confessed his faith before the emperor, for which he suffered torture at Rome. Then he was sent to Nicomedia and beheaded in 303.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
“That mercy [of God] that resurrects us and against which we sin later on is even greater then that mercy that He bestowed upon us before He gave us being; when we did not exist. Glory O Lord to Your immeasurable mercy!” Thus speaks St. Isaac the Syrian. He wants to say that greater is the mercy that God showed toward us when, through Christ, He saved us from the corruption of sin and death than when He created us out of nothing. Truly, it is so. Even our earthly parents show greater mercy to the perverted and fallen son when they embrace him again, forgive him all, make him civilized, cleanse him, heal him and again make him their heir then, when they gave him birth.
When the young Pancharius, surrounded by royal honors, denied Christ, his mother wrote him a letter full of pain and sorrow. “Do not be afraid of men,” wrote his mother, “but it is essential to fear God’s judgment. You should have confessed your faith in Christ before emperors and lords and not to have denied Him. Remember His words: “But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father'” (St. Matthew 10:33). Being ashamed of himself, the son accepts the advice of his mother, confessed his faith in Christ before the emperor, and died a martyr’s death for Christ in order to live with Him eternally. And so the blessed mother of Pancharius brought about a new birth for her son, a spiritual birth more important than the first, physical birth.