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Phocas, of Sinope

Phocas, of Sinope, a celebrated martyr, of whom very little is actually known and whose real date is uncertain. Combefis places his martyrdom in the last years of Trajan, but Tillemont considers a later persecution, either that of Decius or that of Diocletian, more probable. Our sole knowledge of Phocas is from an oration in his honour by Asterius of Amasea. He states that Phocas was an honest and industrious gardener at Sinope, a convert to Christianity, and exceedingly hospitable to strangers. Being denounced as a Christian and sentenced to death, a party of soldiers was despatched to Sinope to carry the sentence into execution. Phocas hospitably entertained them, and on discovering their mission forbore to escape, as he might easily have done, and, on their asking him where they could find Phocas, made himself known to them and was at once decapitated. His trunk was buried in a grave he had dug for himself, over which a church was subsequently built. His relics were so fruitful in miracles that he obtained the name of Thaumaturgus. His body was transferred to 844Constantinople with great magnificence in the time of Chrysostom, who delivered a homily on the occasion (Hom. 71, t. i. p. 775). A monastery was subsequently built on the spot, in which his relics were deposited, the abbats of which are often mentioned in early times (Du Cange, Constant. Christ. lib. iv. p. 133). Gregory Nazianzen mentions Phocas as a celebrated disciple of Christ (Carm. 52, t. ii. p. 122). That he was bp. of Sinope is a late invention. Some of his relics were said to be translated to the Apostles' Church at Vienne. He was the favourite saint of the Greek sailors, who were in the habit of making him a sharer at their meals, the portion set apart for him daily being purchased by some one, and the money put aside and distributed to the poor on their arrival at port. He is commemorated by the modern Greeks on two days, July 22 and Sept. 22. The former day may be that of his translation (Tillem. Mém. eccl. v. 581).


« Philoxenus, a Monophysite leader Phocas, of Sinope Photinus, a Galatian »
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