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This icon is from the Church of the Panagia Eleimonitria. It shows Saint Eustathios, formerly the celebrated pagan Roman general Placidus, on his horse. One day while hunting he saw a stag with a cross of light between its antlers. Christ spoke to him from this vision to go with his wife and children to a local Christian priest to be baptized. He followed this vision and was baptized.
The family left Rome by ship secretly, but his wife was seized by the barbarian captain. Put ashore, Saint Eustathios was between ferrying his sons across a large and swift river, when one was carried off by a lion and the other by a wolf. Saint Eustathios then settled in the city of Vadis, unaware that by God’s Providence his wife had been freed, and both of his sons had been saved and later became monks. The Emperor Trajan then sought his general Placidus to fight the barbarians threatening Rome. Saint Eustathios was reunited with his wife, then children, and as general defeated the enemy. On his way back to Rome, Trajan died, and Hadrian became emperor, who martyred Saint Eustathios and his family. This blessed family then inherited the Kingdom which cannot end.
|Church Feast Day 1
St. John the Theologian Monastery, Patmos, Greece
17th c. (Early)