Saint Longinus the Centurion, the Holy Martyr

Feast Day: October 16th


The Life of Saint Longinus: That Centurion was this Blessed Longinus, who with two other of his soldiers came to believe in Jesus, the Son of God. Longinus was chief of the soldiers who were present at the Crucifixion of the Lord on Golgotha, and was also the chief of the watch that guarded the Tomb…

+


Prayers

Apolytikion: Longinus, you beheld the King of Glory Who was nailed to the Cross, yet shone on those in darkness. You were enlightened by His rays and became a Martyr and save those who cry: Glory to Him Who gave you strength! Glory to Him Who granted you a Crown! Glory to Him Who through you grants healing to all!

Kontakion: With great joy the Church of Christ today rejoiceth on the festive Memory of Blest Longinus, the all-famed and Godly prizewinner. And She doth cry out: O Christ, my foundation and might art Thou.

Hymn of Praise:
Saint Longinus stood beneath the Cross when, on the Cross, Christ breathed His last. Longinus beheld the wrath of the mild sky, witnessed the Earth as it shook, and the bright sun as it lost its rays and clothed the whole world in darkness. The tombs of many were opened, and many of the dead appeared alive. Brave Longinus was filled with fear, and exclaimed with a remorseful sigh: “This Man was the Son of God! Sinful men have Crucified the Innocent One!” Next to him, two other soldiers echoed the exclamation of their Centurion. Longinus was a witness of the Resurrection, and he could attest to His humiliation as well. An eyewitness, a true witness, Longinus desired to not conceal the truth, but proclaimed it everywhere he went, and Glorified the Resurrected Christ God! To his death he remained Christ’s soldier; and for Christ, Longinus gave his head.


“So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!””

Matthew 27:54

+

Saint Longinus the Centurion was the chief of the soldiers who were present at Christ’s Crucifixion on Golgotha, and the chief guard of His Holy Tomb. Saint Longinus and his soldiers also witnessed the earthquake and everything else that happened. He and two of his soldiers came to believe Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God.


When the Jewish Elders heard about Christ’s Resurrection, they bribed the soldiers to spread the news that Christ’s disciples took His body from the Tomb. However, Saint Longinus refused to be bribed and he removed his military belt, was Baptised with his two fellow soldiers, and secretly left for Cappadocia. Here Saint Longinus lived in Prayer and fasting, spreading the most joyous news of the Resurrection of Christ, and converted many pagans to Christianity.

+


Hearing of his location, Pilate sent soldiers to behead Saint Longinus. Meeting them without revealing his identity, Saint Longinus hosted them for the evening, giving them dinner and a place to sleep. That evening Saint Longinus spent in Prayer, preparing himself for his upcoming Martyrdom, and in the morning he dressed himself in white burial clothes. He and his two companions were then beheaded.

+

The Holy head of Saint Longinus was given to Pilate, who then gave it to the Jewish people, and they threw it on a dung hill outside the City. The finding of Saint Longinus’ Holy head occurred some time later, when a blind widow was grieving the sudden death of her son. Saint Longinus appeared to her in a dream comforting her and told her she would see her son in Heavenly Glory and also receive her sight. He indicated where his head was and asked her to retrieve it. Digging through the rubbish pile, the blind woman found the head of Saint Longinus, and as soon as she touched it she received her sight. That evening she saw her son together with Saint Longinus surrounded by a bright light, and Saint Longinus said “Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honour are his now, and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His Heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son’s body, and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness.”


Icons