St Pantaleon the Healer
Celebrated on July 28th
A physician, confessor, and marty, Pantaleon was born in the city of Nicodemia, now Izmit, in northern Turkey near the Black Sea. His mother, Eubula, was a devout Christian while his father, Eustorgius, did not convert until much later. Sadly, Eubula died while Pantaleon was still quite young. While he had been exposed to Christianity, Pantaleon did not practice his faith. His father Eustorgus, sent him to study under a famous physician, and eventually he was appointed royal physician to the court of Emperor Maximian.
In the court he met a Christian named Hermolaus, who became his advisor and friend. Hermolaus told him that although the famous physicians of ancient times knew how to cure bodies, Jesus Christ was a far more excellent physician, able to cure not only bodies, but souls, by His divine doctrine.
In the course of his work, Pantaleon then experienced a miraculous healing, saving a child from certain death after being bitten by a viper. Needing no further proof of the power of the Lord, he was baptized, and undertook a rigorous course of study of his new faith. He subsequently cured a man of blindness. When his father, heard of his son’s healings, he also became a Christian.
When his father, died, Saint Pantaleon liberated all his slaves on the family estate, sold most of his possessions, and gave the money to the freed slaves and the poor.
He cured other illnesses and soon became renowned in Nicodemia, attracting the attention of competing physicians who reported him to the Emperor.
Pantaleon was asked to make sacrifice to the pagan Roman gods but refused. He was then sentenced to be tortured and killed. Saint Pantaleon was beheaded in 303.
His body was anointed with myrrh and buried outside the city. His remains, were later translated to Constantinople, where they are venerated today. It is said that his blood, conserved in a small vial, liquefies on his feast day, becoming oxygenated. Some of his relics, including his head, were later again translated to France by Charlemagne, and reside in the abbey of Saint Denys near Paris and in Lyons.
Saint Pantaleon, whose name means the ‘all-compassionate one’ - is one of the patron saints of physicians.