By Bishop Gregory of Mesaoria
Today, our Church commemorates Saint John the Baptist, Patriarch of Constantinople († 595) and great Martyr Mamas the Wonderworker, who was born in Paphlagonia, Asia Minor, to Christian parents Theodotus and Rufina.
For their love of Christ and the Church, they were arrested and imprisoned. Before dying from various hardships and tortures, Rufina brought to life Mamas, who grew up as an orphan.
However, one wealthy Christian woman named Ammia took the boy in her home and raised him as her own son. Because the infant used to call this woman “mama”, he was named Mamas. At the age of 15, Mamas was arrested by pagans and subjected to horrific torture because of his courageous activity in the teaching of the Holy Gospel.
He was initially struck with an iron rod on his neck and thrown into the sea. However, he was rescued and then thrown into a burning fireplace, from which he again recovered. Then they threw him into the wild beasts, who did not touch him, instead showed him love.
According to tradition, a lion received Saint Mamas on his back and carried him away from the other beasts. Eventually, they executed him with a trident, thus giving his spirit to God.
Source: Church of Cyprus