Tuesday, January 31, 2006

HOLY UNMERCENARY PHYSICIAN
SAINT HERMIONE THE MARTYR

Founder of Christian Xenodolion (hospital-inn)

Commemorated September 4

The OCA website has another account of St Hermione

Our holy mother Hermione was a daughter of Saint Philip the Deacon (Acts chapter 6). She was born in Caesarea of Palestine early in the first century. Inspired by a true understanding of the Gospel, she studied the philosophy of medicine in her native city. After the Christians were driven out of Palestine, Saint Hermione traveled to Ephesus to seek out the beloved Apostle John. By the time she arrived, the great evangelist had already departed this life.

Joined by her sister Eukhidia, Saint Hermione bought a house and founded a medical clinic, devoted to the treatment of the poor and the homeless. Soon, she added rooms for these homeless ones and for poor travelers who were ill. Thus was established the first of those hospital-hostels or "xenodukia", which would become so much a part of the Orthodox Christian tradition. Like the other unmercenary physicians who would come after her, she understood that salvation consisted in the healing and liberation of the whole person - body and soul together. While ministering to the physical illnesses of those who came to her, the saint also nourished them with the Gospel and led them to that true healing and freedom in Jesus Christ.

Filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Saint Hermione was given the gift of prophecy and became a link in that chain of New Testament prophets who were united in spirit and calling to the great Old Testament prophets. After a long life of service as physician, evangelist and prophet, Saint Hermione was granted the crown of martyrdom. During the reign of Emperors Trajan and Hadrian, she was arrested and, in spite of her great old age and renown, subjected to terrible tortures in an effort to force her to renounce our Lord Jesus Christ. She was beheaded on September the fourth and received the glorious crown of those who choose everlasting life in our Lord Jesus Christ above this transitory earthly life.

Through her holy prayers, may we also find healing and salvation.


From "Lives of the Saints", Vol. 11
Synaxis Press

Reprinted with the kind permission of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo


St Hemione can teach us so many things. She gave of herself to those in need; she was a servant to those people who were too sick or injured to care for themselves and she asked for nothing in return. Did they thank her or show gratitude? Maybe, maybe not. Sick people can be cranky. Homeless people can seem ungrateful. She chose to help anyway. What do we do?
I love that she is wholistic and treated the body and soul. She is an academic in a time that women were not learned, but she used that knowledge in a very feminine way and cared for and ministered to people.
How can we be like St Hermione? Are we skilled to heal the body as physicians or the soul as proclaimers of the gospel? Can we make a meal for someone who is sick or to support someone who is caring for someone who is sick? What about running errands or cleaning up a house? Or just sitting and being present with someone who is suffering? We can listen.
These are beautiful ministries that are often fulfilled by women because we are empathetic and like a practical way to help people. In our homes and families and places of work and churches, why don't we look for ways to be like St Hermione. Ask her to reveal to you those in need. See what happens....

3 comments:

ally hermione said...

Hi, thanks for the comments on Saint Hermione.

worshipping oca for 7 yrs - recently converted.

first post ever to blog, had to do alot of things to make this post.

thank you

MommaKim said...

You are welcome! May God grant you many years in the Orthodox Church.

MatushkaElizabeth said...

Enjoyed your sharing atout Saint Hermione! And, browsing your site. I am also an Orthodox Clergy Wife (OCA), former lay midwife & LOVE Jane Austin & LOTR anything!