On this day (Epep 15; July 22) of the year 21 of the martyrs (305 AD), the two great saints, Cyriacus and Julietta, his mother, were martyred.
The Martyr Cyriacus is considered the youngest martyr to confess the Lord Christ, after the children of Bethlehem.
St. Cyriacus was born in the city of Iconium in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in the year 302 AD
to wealthy Christian parents who were among the nobles of the city.
His father departed, leaving the child Cyriacus (who was a very handsome child) in the care of his mother, St. Julietta.
She took care to raise him up on the principles of the Christian faith.
The first words that she taught him to say were, “I am Christian.”
When Emperor Diocletian denied the faith, he ordered to persecute Christians everywhere.
St. Julietta was worried that she may be harmed, leaving her young child to an unknown future.
She took Cyriacus, who was 3 years old at the time, and left Iconium, traveling to a few cities until she arrived in Tarsus.
The governor there was informed that she was Christian, so he seized her while she was carrying her child in her arms.
The governor asked her about her name, nationality, and her religion.
She courageously replied, “I am Christian.” She was proud to declare her faith in the Lord Christ.
The governor was exasperated by her and told her,
“Do you not know that the emperor has brought out all the instruments of torture and death for the Christians?
I feel pity for you and your little child, and it seems like you are from a noble family.”
The saint replied, “Yes, do you not also know that the Christians are ready for torture and death, and your torment only increases our faith and courage?”
The governor became very angry and ordered to snatch her child away from her arms, but Cyriacus clung to his mother, as any child would.
They cruelly pulled him away from her arms, and he continued to cry intensely while throwing his body toward his mother and looking at her.
They began to torture St. Julietta, in front of her son.
The governor then tried to befriend her and stir up her motherly emotions in order to get her to forsake her conviction
and serve the idols to save herself and be able to raise her child.
She utterly refused and told him, “What you are saying cannot be accepted by a three-year-old child.”
The governor said, “We can ask your child.”
God made the child Cyriacus talk, and he cried out saying,
“Your gods are made of stone and wood by the hands of men, and there is no God except my Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those who heard the child were amazed, and the lies of the governor were exposed,
which caused him to increase his persecution of St. Julietta.
While they were touring the saint, the governor tried to treat the child kindly and play with him,
expressing signs of love and gentleness. Then he embraced the child and tried to kiss him.
However, Cyriacus did not pay any attention to him, fixing his eyes on his mother.
He was able with his little hands to push away the unclean mouth of the governor from coming near his pure face.
He hit the governor with his hands and feet, scratching his face with his nails.
Instead of crying as children do, he called out with clear words heard by everyone:
“I am Christian… I am Christian.”
Full of rage, the governor held the child by his feet and violently threw him on the ground from his elevated chair.
Cyriacus’ head hit one of the steps and thus he delivered up his spirit and received the crown of martyrdom.
He was no more than three years old.
When his mother St. Julietta saw that her son had received the crown of martyrdom,
she rejoiced and thanked the Lord, and her endurance in the face of her torture increased.
After much persecution, they beheaded her and she received the crown of martyrdom.
May the blessing of their prayers be with us all, and glory be to our God forever. Amen.