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The next day, Decius called St. Mercurius before him, and was astonished to find that the great saint, who had previously been at death’s door, stood before him with no wounds.  Decius ordered his spear-bearers to thoroughly examine the saint’s body, and questioned if any physician had been allowed to see the saint during the night.  But the guards told the emperor that no one had been allowed to see St. Mercurius, because they all thought the saint would die during the night.  The emperor said, “You see what the magic of the Christians is like!  How is it that yesterday he was fit for burial, and yet today he is standing up in perfect health?”

St. Mercurius replied, “I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ.  It is true that you have power over my body, but you have no power over my soul, and all your punishments will not make me renounce my faith, for our Lord said: ‘Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’” (Matt. 10:28)

The emperor ordered burning irons to be applied to the saint’s limbs, cheeks and sides. When this was done, instead of the expected smoke and stench of burned flesh, a strong sweet smell of spices rose from St. Mercurius’ body, so that everyone there could smell it.  And, although St. Mercurius was suffering from the tortures, he did not utter a groan or shed a tear. 

Decius said to the saint, “Where is your physician?  Let him come and heal you.  You even said that He has the power to raise you if you died.”  St. Mercurius replied, “Do whatever pleases you.  You have power over my body, but God is the Master of my soul.  Even if you destroy my body, my soul shall live, for it is incorruptible.”

The emperor ordered the saint to be hung upside down from a tree with a very large stone tied around his neck, so that the great martyr would suffocate and die.  But by the power of the Lord, the great saint was able to endure this torture for a long period of time.  Decius, growing impatient, commanded that St. Mercurius be thrown in prison for the night and bound by chains.

Despite all the deadly tortures, St. Mercurius spent the whole night in fervent prayer.  While he was praying, a great light filled the room, and immediately all of the chains fell off him.  The angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, “O beloved of Christ, have courage and win.  Do not worry about these temporary tortures.”  The angel wiped away all of St. Mercurius’ wounds, and then disappeared.  The great saint was filled with peace and continued in fervent prayer, glorifying God Who had consoled him in his hour of suffering.

The next day, Decius again became angered when his officers told him that St. Mercurius had been healed of all his wounds.  Decius pleaded with the saint to raise incense to the pagan gods, but the great saint remained firm in the faith.  The emperor ordered his soldiers to flog St. Mercurius with a leather whip with four prongs, until the ground became saturated with the saint’s blood.  During this torture, St. Mercurius prayed: “I give thanks to You, my Lord Jesus Christ, that You have held me worthy to suffer for Your holy name.”

Seeing that the prince Mercurius would not yield or waiver, and that many of the soldiers and people in the crowd became attached to the saint and publicly declared their faith in his God, Decius ordered that St. Mercurius be executed by the sword.  The soldiers tied the saint’s nearly lifeless body to a horse and took him to the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia to execute him.


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