Athanasius the Reader

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The Holy martyr Athanasius the Reader was a devout believer in Our Lord Christ who with Demetrian the deacon and the priest Aristocles of Tamasa were martyred for their faith for preaching the Gospel of Christ on the Island of Cyprus in the early fourth century. St. Athanasius is commemorated on June 20 with Ss. Demetrian and Aristocles.


Other than the record of his martyrdom along with Deacon Demetrian and the Priest Aristocles little is known of the life of the Reader Athanasius. He and Dcn. Demetrian met Father Aristocles when Fr. Aristocles returned to his native city Tamasa on Cyprus to suffer for Christ. Fr. Aristocles had become fearful of the persecutions under the emperor Maximian Galerius and left his position at the cathedral to hide in a mountain cave. During prayer a light shone upon him, and he heard a command from the Lord to return to the island of Cyprus and suffer for Christ. Obedient to Our Lord's call Fr. Aristocles returned to Cyprus, visiting along the way the church of the holy Apostle Barnabas. There, he met Athanasius and Demetrian.

Having told them about his vision, Fr. Aristocles joined Ss. Demetrian and Athanasius, and the three continued to the city of Salamis. In Salamis, the three began to preach to the people about the Lord Jesus Christ and denounced the folly of idol-worship. Soon, the pagans arrested the three saints and brought them before the governor. Seeing that they were steadfast in their faith in Christ, the governor ordered the beheading of Aristocles, and the burning of Demetrian and Athanasius. When the martyrs remained unharmed by the fire, they were beheaded by sword. St. Athanasius and his companions were martyred in the year 306.