Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria

The Holy Martyr Polycarp was killed after he denounced the impious Emperor Maximian (305-313) for shedding the blood of innocent Christians in the city of Alexandria. As a devout Christian who was filled with zeal for God, he could not simply stand by when every day he saw many of the faithful being tortured because they refused to deny Christ.

One day Saint Polycarp saw the ruler sitting in his chair and watching as the blood of Christians flowed like water. The Saint stood before him and questioned him saying, "Why have you so forgotten human nature, you insatiable dog, that you cut down your relatives and fellow countrymen with swords like wood, because they proclaim the one true God and refute the error of idolatry; just as I do, who am a servant of Christ?"

Because he angered the ruler by saying such things, Saint Polycarp was arrested and tortured. Finally, he was beheaded, dying with the name of Christ on his lips. By being cut down like a vine-branch, he offered much fruit to Christ, and received the crown of martyrdom.