March 22

Under Emperor Constantius, Basil endured and suffered much at the hands of the Arians. He was removed as a great zealot of Orthodoxy and a true shepherd of his entrusted flock in Ancyra. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, he began to persecute Christians. Because Basil openly condemned this new evil and strengthened his people in the Faith, he was cast into prison. When Emperor Julian came to Ancyra, Basil was brought before him. The emperor tried to persuade Basil to abandon his faith in Christ, promising him honors and riches. Basil answered the emperor: “I believe in my Christ, Whom you denied and Who gave you this earthly kingdom; but that will be taken away from you shortly. Have you no shame before the sacred altar, under which you were saved when they sought to kill you as an eight-year-old child? Therefore, this temporary kingdom will be taken from you shortly, and your body will not be buried after your soul has been violently wrested from you in bitter pains.” Julian became enraged and ordered that seven strips of skin be peeled from Basil’s body every day. The tormentors did this for several days. When Basil appeared again before the emperor, he peeled off a strip of his own skin and threw it into Julian’s face, and crying out to him, he said: “Take it, Julian, and eat, if this kind of food is sweet to you; but for me, Christ is Life.” This incident was proclaimed throughout the towns, and the emperor, out of shame, secretly departed from Ancyra to Antioch. They continued to torture Basil with red hot irons until he gave up his soul to God, for Whom he suffered, in the year 363.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.


As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Basil. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.