At twenty-five years old, Saint Porphyry of Gaza, originally a wealthy inhabitant of Thessalonica, embarked on a spiritual journey that led him to the desert of Sceté. For five years, he devoted himself to the monastic life within one of its esteemed religious communities. Yet, an inner calling toward a more secluded existence prompted him to move to Palestine. There, amidst rigorous self-discipline, he endured five years of stringent penance until deteriorating health necessitated a reduction in his ascetic practices. Undeterred by his physical ailments, Porphyry made Jerusalem his home, where he dutifully visited the sacred sites daily, displaying a remarkable indifference to his suffering, as if it afflicted someone else entirely.

During this period, a divine inspiration led him to divest all his possessions, distributing the proceeds among the impoverished. This act of sacrifice was met with a miraculous restoration of his health. In 393, Porphyry was ordained as a priest and entrusted with the guardianship of the relics of the true cross. Three years later, despite his attempts to decline due to his humility, he was unexpectedly consecrated as the Bishop of Gaza through the orchestration of a neighboring bishop and the local Christian community, effectively being coerced into acceptance.

Gaza, a stronghold of paganism at the time, presented Porphyry with a vast field for his evangelical endeavors. Through his efforts, complemented by miraculous occurrences, he succeeded in converting many to Christianity. His mission was further bolstered by an imperial decree, secured with the help of St. John Chrysostom, mandating the demolition of pagan temples.

Confronted with a particularly majestic temple dedicated to the principal deity, Porphyry seized the opportunity to symbolically vanquish paganism by constructing a Christian church atop its ruins. The church’s entrance was notably adorned with marble from the destroyed temple, ensuring that each Christian stepping into the church would symbolically trample over the remnants of idolatry and superstition. Porphyry witnessed the near eradication of idol worship within his diocese and passed away in 420, leaving behind a legacy of fervent faith and transformation.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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  1. Thank you,St Porphyry, for your example and love of God through suffering. Help us to suffer better here on earth. Thank you also for the great gift of trampling underfoot the relics of idolatry & superstition! It is real. But Jesus is the victor! Pray for us, St Porphyry!

  2. Thank you St Porphyry, for all the things you gave up for the church.With your labours and miracles, assist us every-day to atend masses and visit the Holy places as you did in Jerusalem. St Porphyry, please strengthen and care for us today and always…Amen.

  3. Comment: Pray for us oh holy St. Porphyrius of Gaza, so that we may attach ourself more to the service of God than to worldly things.

  4. God, help us to be generous people. Let us share whatever we have with others, confident that good will return to us. (Taken from “Good News Day by Day: Bible Reflections for Teens.”)

  5. Dear st Porphyry please pray for the suffering people of Gaza and for the people of Israel for an end to this cruel war that the peace of Christ may reign over all. St Jude pray for them.


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