Physician Wonder-Worker
(also known as Panteleemon, Panteleimon)

Feast Day: July 27

d. circa 300

Saint Pantaleon is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, known for their efficacious response to prayer, who are especially venerated in France and Germany. Pantaleon’s name in Greek, means “the all-compassionate one.” It is said that he was a doctor of such skill that Emperor Maximian, a great persecutor of Christians, employed Pantaleon as his court physician. Pantaleon had been raised as a Christian, but in the fanatically anti-Christian and dissolute court of Maximian, he lost his faith and nearly his soul with his self-indulgent lifestyle.

In time, however, a fellow-Christian restored the Saint Pantaleon to the faith he had abandoned. From that time Pantaleon’s skills were at the disposal of the poor. The wealth he had gained from his successful practice he gave away. Other physicians, jealous of his position at court, saw Pantaleon’s renewed faith as an opportunity for discrediting him. When the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian broke out in Nicomedia in 303, Pantaleon this time refused to reject the faith; instead he chose death. Vain attempts were made to put him to death in six different ways–including drowning, fire, and wild beasts–before he was successfully beheaded amidst a halo of other marvels.

A reputed relic of Pantaleon’s blood, kept at Ravello in southern Italy, displays the phenomenon of liquefaction on his feast day, similar to that of Saint Januarius. Saint Pantaleon has made the news recently, when his relics, on loan from Greece, were placed on display near what had until recently been the site of Lenin’s tomb. People were queuing up for hours, and youth, in particular, flocked to view the Saint’s relics. Russian media are calling the response phenomenal.

In art, Saint Pantaleon is a physician holding a phial of medicine. At times he may be depicted healing a sick child or bound with hands above his head to an olive tree, to which he is nailed. Together with Saint Raphael, Saints Cosmas and Damian, and Saint Luke, Pantaleon is a patron of the medical profession. He is invoked against tuberculosis and other lung diseases, and he is also patron of bachelors and of victims of torture (not that these two latter conditions are necessarily related). ,

Dr Richard Watson


Photo: Santoral-virtual