If you’re a Christian and you celebrate the month of December, you might be looking for a saint to commemorate. There are many options, including St. Gregory the Silent, St. Philogonius, and St. Stephen. These are just a few of the saints of December.
In December, many Christians will celebrate the feast of Saint Ignatius. Saint Ignatius was a young boy who became a disciple of St John the Evangelist. He became the second Bishop of Antioch, the largest city in Syria, and was known for his zeal and compassion. He strengthened the faithful during the persecutions of Domitian and converted many pagans to Christianity. In his later life, he suffered a horrific trial, and is known as the first Christian to die for his faith.
December also honors the Holy Prophet and King David, who was the primary author of the Psalter, which is the foundation of all Christian praise for God. The Psalter was a hymnal of Old Israel, the apostles, and Christ.
St. Gregory the Silent
Saint Gregory was a bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church who lived between 559 and 630. A scholar and orator, he fought against heresies and taught the true faith. He is considered one of the greatest theologians of the Holy Trinity. Although he was deposed from his bishopric by the Arian Emperor Valens, he remained in the church and composed numerous writings on spiritual life. He lived in the region of Cappadocia, which is now known as Asia Minor.
Gregory was born in 1296 in Constantinople, and his parents fled to the city in order to escape the Turkish invasion. His parents were attached to the court of the pious Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328). His father practiced fervent prayer and a monastic life. He died soon after taking the monastic habit, but his mother was able to delay her ordination.
Philogonius was born during the third century and educated for the profession of law. His eloquence and integrity won him many admirers. He also defended the poor, orphans, and widows and was known for his sanctity. However, this great saint was also subject to persecution and was imprisoned by Maximin II. Despite this, he managed to earn the title of Confessor.
The Orthodox Church considers St. Philogonius a patron saint of the eighth month of the church year. He died peacefully in 324. His eulogy was written by St. John Chrysostom.
Saint Stephen is a patron saint of the Christian Church. His Feast Day is celebrated on December 26 in the Western Church and December 27 in the Eastern Church. The Christian church first commemorated St. Stephen, a Greek Jew who converted to Christianity and became one of the seven deacons who organized the early Christian church.
As a protomartyr, Saint Stephen preached Christianity and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in a debate. The Jews maligned him and accused him of blasphemy. Nevertheless, he stood his ground and made a fiery speech before the Jewish council, called the Sanhedrin. This speech resulted in many believers and converts.
St. Juliana of Nicomedia
Juliana was born a pagan, but secretly accepted her baptism and embraced Christianity. When her pagan parents tried to force her into marriage, she refused. She was severely beaten, and eventually beheaded for her beliefs. Today, her feast day is celebrated on December 21.
Her life is a powerful story. As a young girl, she refused to marry her parents, a decision that would change the course of her life forever. She rejected her mortal husband and chose to marry the Word of the immortal Father instead. Her perseverance and unwavering faith have led her to become one of the orthodox saints for December.
St. Marcellus, Orthodox saints for December, was born to a wealthy family in Syria. However, at a young age, he discovered the meaninglessness of worldly wealth, and he gave it all away. He then earned a living as a scribe in Ephesus. A fellow worker named Promotus taught him about virtue and spiritual life. He also took Marcellus to church all night to pray for the poor.
Saint Marcellus’s sons include Saints Cyriacus, Claudius, and Victoricus. All three were martyred during the reign of Diocletian. The saints of Spain were also martyred during this time. They were baptized by St. Marcellus, who also communed with them during the Holy Mysteries.