Phanourios the Great Martyr is commemorated on August 27.
Fanourios was a Roman soldier and was martyred during one of the persecutions of the pagan era. Various forms of the legend have him as a devout man in constant prayer for his mother, a notorious sinner.
Angelos Akotantos from Crete has written a number of the Saint's icons many times depicting him killing a dragon; this tradition is found mainly in Crete especially in icons of the 15th century when the Saint is said to have saved many Cretans from certain death from the hands of the invading Ottomans. The original icon is quite large. In the center is a portrait of the saint holding a candle in his right hand and around this are 12 smaller images showing the each stage of his martyrdom.
The portrayal of each illustration is as follows:
1. The saint is standing in front of a Roman magistrate and defending his Christian faith.
2. Soldiers beat the saint on the head and mouth with rocks to force him to deny his faith.
3. The saint remains patient which angers the soldiers. They are shown in this illustration, throwing him to the ground and beating him with sticks and clubs in a further attempt to force him to deny his faith.
4. The saint is now in prison. He is illustrated completely naked with the soldiers ripping his flesh apart with some sort of iron implement.
5. The saint is still in prison. In this station, he is shown praying to God, perhaps to give him strength to endure his tortures.
6. Next, the saint is standing in front of the Roman magistrate again defending his position. The expression on the face of the saint is calm.
7. In this image, it is obvious that the Roman magistrate has sentenced the saint to the executioners for remaining unmoved in Station 6. The saint is again shown naked with executioners torching (burning) his body.
8. At this station, the executioners are now using mechanical means to torture the saint. He appears tied to an apparatus that rotates to crush his bones. Though his body is truly suffering intensely for God, the look on his face is peaceful and patient.
9. His executioners watch as the Saint is thrown into a pit with wild beasts. The wild beasts circle around him as if they are lambs and share companionship with him.
10. The saint is removed from the pit to be crushed under the weight of a huge boulder.
11. Unsuccessful, the executioners now place hot coals into his palms to force the saint to sacrifice at their pagan alter. In this image, their is an image of a dragon, representing the devil, flying away and crying at the saints victory even over this torture.
12. The final scene shows his martyrdom. He is in a large kiln, standing on a stool with flames and smoke all around him. The Saint is shown in prayer.
Propers for Fanourios - Martyr
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Fanourios with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.
The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.
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