the All-Merciful was born in A.D. 275 in Nikomedia, Asia Minor, of a
pagan father and a Christian mother. From his father he derived a
profound intellect; from his mother, spiritual awareness. Together
they provided him with the skill and dedication that were to thrust
him first into prominence, then into tragedy within a relatively
short span of time. Of handsome appearance and noble bearing,
Panteleimon was an impressive figure while still a student of the
Empire's most noted physician, Euphrosinos, a teacher who took pride
in his pupil's remarkable skill and dedication.
had not been a physician long when his reputation as a healer drew
him to the attention of Emperor Maximlian, who encouraged him by his
personal sponsorship. This quickly led to Panteleimon's recognition
as the foremost physician of the entire known world. Panteleimon
became a familiar figure among the people as he went from one patient
to another while yet serving the emperor and his court. The demand
for his services kept him working at a feverish pace, an exhausting
obligation he never shirked.
the course of his rounds he had been observed by the pious Christian
Ermolaos, one who remained in constant hiding in fear of persecution
by the state for his overt promotion of Christianity. Ermolsos
managed to intercept Panteleimon, whose great skill he lauded but who
he thought needed to be reminded "from the Most High cometh
healing." After a series of meetings the physician came to know
his true Christian destiny, and thereafter his professionalism, as a
man of medicine was subordinated to his role as a healer in the name
of the Greatest Healer of them all. His power of healing was not
attributable to a physician's skill alone, but to divine intervention
reputation grew, Panteleimon came to be known more as a man of God
than of science, an acknowledgment that brought wrath and cruel
action by the emperor.
given the customary interrogation Panteleimon was offered the
ultimate choice between Christ and the idols; his response was a
reaffirmation of his Christianity. For the noble physician it was a
two-edged sword: first because he was a fallen favorite whose
betrayal was a personal rebuke to the emperor, and second because of
the steadfastness of his loyalty to the Savior.
all of the fiendish designs of Panteleimon's torture are known, but
history tells us that this honorable doctor and noble Christian was,
among other things, stretched across a rack and burned by candles.
Following this ordeal he was cast first into a fiery pit and then
into a den of beasts. When he survived, the pagans were convinced he
had the protection of some kind of sorcery.
was finally decided that since there could be no antidote for
drowning, he would be cast into a deep river with a huge stone bound
to his body. When the stone proved buoyant, the exasperated torturers
fished him out of the water and placed him on the execution block
where he was beheaded. It was said that not blood but milk flowed
from the severed head of the martyr. Panteleimon gave his life for
Christ on 27 July 304.