St. Elias and Companions, Feastday 16 February

St. Elias and Companions, Feastday 16 February

Martyrs. The story of these fourth century martyrs was recorded by the historian Eusebius, who was living in Caesarea (in Israel, Palestine) at the time they were killed there in 309 A. D..

He describes them as five Egyptian Christians called Elias, Daniel, Samuel, Jeremy (Jeremiah) and Isaias (Isaiah). They had travelled to the area to express their solidarity with several Christian friends who had been sentenced to hard labour in the stone quarries / mines of Cilicia for their faith in the persecutions of Maximus.

The five were beginning the journey back to back to Egypt when they were arrested and questioned at the gates of Caesarea in Palestine. When asked where they were going they answered 'Jerusalem' (meaning the heavenly city). They refused to say another word and all of them were tortured and eventually beheaded.

Two others, St. Pamphilus and St. Seleucus, were also caught up in the martyrdom, sharing Elias’ fate. Porphy, the servant of Pamphilus, demanded that the bodies of the martyrs be buried and as a result was also killed, by being burned to death as a Christian.