Martyr Platon of Ancyra (November 18 )
The Holy Martyr Platon, brother of the holy Martyr Antiochus the Physician (July 16), was born at the city of Ancyra in Galatia. While still a youth he left home and went through the cities, preaching the Word of God to pagans, amazing his audience with the persuasiveness and beauty of his speech, and his profound knowledge of Greek learning.
Because of his preaching he was arrested and brought for trial to the temple of Zeus before the governor Agrippinus. At first, the judge attempted to persuade the saint to turn away from Christ by flattery. He assured the youth that he might be on a par of intellect with the greatest of the philosophers Plato, if only he worshipped also the pagan gods. To this St Platon answered, that the wisdom of the philosopher, although great, was but ephemeral and limited, whereas the true, eternal and unbounded wisdom comprised the Gospel teachings. Then the judge promised to give him his beautiful niece for his wife if he would deny Christ. He also threatened him with torture and death if he refused. St Platon replied that he chose a temporal death for the sake of eternal life. The patience of the governor was exhausted, and he gave orders to mercilessly beat the martyr, and then send him off to prison.
When they led St Platon off to prison, he turned to the people gathered about the temple, and he called on them not to forsake the Christian Faith. Seven days later they again led the Martyr Platon for trial before Agrippinus in the temple of Zeus, where they had the implements of torture already prepared: boiling cauldrons, red-hot iron and sharp hooks. The judge offered the martyr a choice: either to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, or to feel the effects of these implements of torture on his body. Again the saint steadfastly refused to worship idols, and after his tortures they threw him in prison for eighteen more days without bread or water. But seeing that this did not shake the martyr, they offered him his life and freedom if he would only say, "Great is the god Apollo." The martyr refused to deny Chirst or to sacrifice to the idols. Therefore, Agrippinus ordered the holy Martyr Platon to be beheaded.
Martyr Romanos the Deacon of Caesarea (November 18 )
The Holy Martyr Romanos was deacon at a church in Palestinian Caesarea. During one of the persecutions against Christians he moved to Antioch, where he encouraged Christians in the faith by his example and fervent preaching.
When the Antiochian governor Asklepiades was considering the destruction of the Christian temple, St Roman called on the believers to stand up for their sanctuary. He persuaded them that if they managed to protect the church, then there would be rejoicing on earth in the Church Militant, and if they should perish in defense of the church, there would still be rejoicing in the heavenly Church Triumphant. Seeing such a firm resolve among the people, the governor did not dare to carry out his plans.
Some time afterwards, there was a pagan celebration in the city and many people came to Antioch from the surrounding area. St Roman began denouncing the idol-worship and called on all to follow Christ. They arrested him and subjected him to torture. During his torments the martyr saw a boy, a Christian named Barulas in the crowd. He directed the governor's attention to him saying, "This young man is wiser than you, though you are older than he, because he knows the True God. You, however, worship lifeless idols."
The governor Asklepiades gave orders to bring the boy to him. To all the questions of the governor, Barulas firmly and without fear confessed his faith in Christ, the True God. Asklepiades in a rage gave orders to whip Barulas, and then behead him. Before his death the holy child asked his mother, who was present at the execution, to give him something to drink. The mother called out to him to endure bravely to the end. She herself carried her son to the place of execution, and later buried him.
St Roman was sentenced to burned alive, but a heavy rain extinguished the fire. The saint began glorifying Christ and insulting the pagan gods. The governor commanded that his tongue be cut out, but even deprived of his tongue, St Roman loudly continued to glorify the Lord. Then the torturers placed a noose around his neck and choked him to death.