St. Nestor the Martyr (1)

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Orthodox icon of Saint Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki (1). Copy of a contemporary icon.

Commemorated Octomber 27.

The holy Martyr Nestor was very young in age, handsome in appearance, and he was known to the holy Great Martyr Demetrios (October 26), for he had instructed Nestor in the faith.

The Emperor was visiting Thessaloniki, and he built a high platform in the midst of the city so that a gigantic barbarian named Lyaios could wrestle there and be seen by everyone. Beneath the platform many spears and other sharp weapons were placed pointing upward. When Lyaios defeated his opponents, he threw them down onto the spears and they died. Many Christians were forced to fight Lyaios, and were killed. When Nestor saw how Emperor Maximian rejoiced over the victories of his champion, he disdained his pride. Seeing the miracles of Saint Demetrios, however, he took courage and went to the prison where the holy Martyr was confined, and fell at his feet.

“Pray for me, O Servant of God Demetrios,” he said, “that by your prayers, God may help me to beat Lyaios, and put an end to him who brings reproach upon the Christians.”

The Saint, after sealing Nestor with the Sign of the Cross, told him that he would prevail over Lyaios, and then suffer for Christ. Nestor mounted the platform without fear and exclaimed: “Help me, O God of Demetrios.” After he defeated Lyaios, he hurled him down onto the spears, where he gave up his wretched soul.

Maximian became enraged and ordered that both Nestor and Demetrios should be put to death. Saint Demetrios was stabbed with spears, and Saint Nestor was beheaded. Thus, by his example Saint Nestor teaches us that in every human challenge we must say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.” (Psalm 117/118:6, Hebrews 13:6).