Martyr St. Victor at Damascus

Site page

11/24 November

A Christian of Italian ancestry, Victor served as a soldier in the city of Damascus, Syria, during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (of the Antoninus Dynasty, 161–180 AD). When the Emperor decreed that Christians be persecuted, his military commander Sebastian demanded that Victor renounce Christ and offer a sacrifice to the idols. Sebastian said, “You are a soldier of our king, and you must follow his orders.” “No,” said Victor. “I am now a soldier of the Heavenly King. I now serve him alone, and I scorn the abominable idols!” Then Sebastian submitted Victor to various tortures. The executioners broke Victor’s fingers and toes and pulled them out of their sockets. During these trials, St. Victor prayed to God and bravely endured the torture.

Then the executioners began to force Victor to swallow meat which had been poisoned by a sorcerer. After praying and making the sign of the Cross over the meat, Martyr Victor swallowed it. Everyone witnessed a miracle. Victor remained unharmed. What occurred was that which the Lord had promised his disciples: “And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” (Mark 16:18) The sorcerer, seeing that Victor was not in the least harmed by his poison, believed in Christ. He knew better than anyone else that no power on earth could have rendered his deadly poison harmless.

Then St. Victor was subjected to even more difficult trials. Stephanida, the wife of one of the soldiers torturing Victor, could no longer stand to see the Martyr of Christ being subjected to awful and entirely undeserved suffering, and she spoke out in his behalf. Instead of stopping, the blood-crazed executioners became infuriated by Stephanida and saw her as their next victim. One tied her between two palm trees which had been bent to the ground and thus tore her apart. Thus, the young Stephanida, only 15 years of age, died. Having killed Stephanida, the torturers returned to further trying Victor, and finally they beheaded him. Holy Martyrs St. Victor and Stephanida suffered for Christ in the year 175. Before dying, Martyr Victor prophesied to the executioners that they would die in 12 days, and that their commander would be imprisoned in 24 days. These events came to pass.

Address of our Cathedral

  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




Go to top