Capiton of Cherson

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Hieromartyr Capiton of Cherson was one of seven bishops of the fourth century, known collectively as the Hieromartyrs of Cherson, who carried the Gospel of Christ into the northwest area of the Black Sea. Of the seven, all but one were martyred while pursuing their missionary activities. Capiton is commemorated with the other six bishops on March 7.

During the first decade of the fourth century a bishop's see was established at Cherson, a trading settlement on the Crimean peninsula. Missionary activity in the Black Sea was encouraged by Hermon, the Bishop of Jerusalem who sent many bishops to preach the Gospel in the various lands of the Black Sea area.

After the death of Bp. Aetherius, Bp. Capiton was sent by the Roman emperor Constantine to replace St. Aetherius and continue serving the Christian community of Cherson as well as continue missionary work. The Christians received St. Aetherius with joy, but the pagans demanded a sign from the new bishop, so they might believe in the God Whom he preached. Placing all his hope in the Lord, St. Capiton put on his omophorion and entered a burning furnace. He prayed in the fiery furnace for about an hour, and then emerged unharmed. St. Capiton came out carrying red-hot coals in his phelonion, yet neither his body nor his garments were scorched. His actions were a miracle that led to many unbelievers being persuaded in the power of the Christian God.

The great faith of St. Capiton and this miracle were reported to St. Constantine and the holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council who then glorified God.

Many years later St. Capiton traveled back to Constantinople, but on the way the ship encountered a storm at the mouth of the Dniepr River. The local pagans seized the ship and drowned all those on board, including St. Capiton. Although his death occurred on December 21, St. Capiton is commemorated with the other hieromartyrs of Cherson on March 7.


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