Procopius of Scythopolis
|Died||July 7, 303 AD
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church|
Procopius of Scythopolis (died July 7, 303 AD) is venerated as an early martyr and saint. Eusebius of Caesarea writes of his martyrdom, which occurred during the persecution of Diocletian, and states that “he was born at Jerusalem, but had gone to live in Scythopolis, where he held three ecclesiastical offices. He was reader and interpreter in the Syriac language, and cured those possessed of evil spirits.”  Eusebius writes that Procopius was sent with his companions from Scythopolis to Caesarea Maritima, where he was decapitated.
Later legends make him a soldier saint, or an ascetic, or a Persian, or a prince of Alexandria. One story has him slaying some 6,000 barbarian invaders simply by showing them the cross. One legend, similar to that told of Paul of Tarsus, makes him a persecutor of Christians named Neanias who was made duke of Alexandria by Diocletian. On the way from Antioch Neanias experienced a vision and declares himself to be a Christian.
At Scytholopis, there was a chapel dedicated to him. At Caesarea Maritima, there was a church dedicated to him built in 484 under Emperor Zeno. His relics were translated to Antioch in the church of Saint Michael. There were four churches dedicated to him in Constantinople.