Saints Emilian the Bishop, and with him Hilarion, Dionysius, and Hermippus were born and lived in Armenia. After the death of their parents, the hieromartyrs Emilian, Dionysius, and Hermippus (they were brothers), and their teacher Hilarion left their native land and arrived in Italy, in the city of Spoleto.
Saint Emilian began to preach the Gospel to the pagans. He won the deep respect of the Christian community because of his strict and virtuous life, and he was chosen bishop of the city of Trebium. He was consecrated by Marcellinus, the Bishop of Rome. After moving to Trebium, Saint Emilian converted many pagans to Christ, for which he was brought to trial before the emperor Mamimian (284-305).
The saint suggested that the emperor see for himself the power of prayer to Christ. A man who had been crippled for a long time was brought before him. However much the pagan priests tried to heal him by appealing to the idols, they accomplished nothing. Then Saint Emilian prayed to the Lord and commanded the crippled man, in the name of Jesus Christ, to get up. The man stood up healthy and went home rejoicing.
This miracle was so convincing that the emperor was inclined to admit the truth about Christ, but the pagan priests told him that the saint had worked magic. He was subjected to fierce tortures, in which the Lord encouraged him, saying: “Fear not, Emilian, I am with you.”
They tied him to a wheel, threw him on hot tin, dunked him in a river, and put him in the arena to be eaten by wild beasts, but he remained unharmed. In view of all these miracles the people began to shout: “Great is the Christian God! Free His servant!” On this day 1000 men believed in Christ, and all received the crown of martyrdom.
In a rage, the governor ordered that the beasts be killed since they did not attack the saint. The martyr gave thanks to the Lord because even the wild beasts accepted death for Christ. They locked Saint Emilian in prison together with his brothers and teacher, and after fierce tortures the hieromartyrs Hilarion, Dionysius, and Hermippus were beheaded with the sword.
Saint Emilian was executed outside the city. When the executioner struck the martyr on the neck with a sword, it became soft like wax, and did not wound the saint. Soldiers fell on their knees to him asking forgiveness and confessing Christ as the True God. The saint prayed on his knees for them and asked the Lord to grant him a martyr’s death. His prayer was heard, and another executioner cut off the saint’s head. Seeing a milky liquid flowing from his wounds, many of the pagans believed in Christ and they buried the martyr’s body with honor.