Saint Porphyry

St. Porphyry (Porphyrius) of Gaza (c. 347-420 A.D.) was born in Thessalonica in present-day Greece. Although a wealthy man, at the age of 25 he went to live in Egypt as a desert hermit. He later moved to Palestine near the Jordan River, then to Jerusalem itself. He did great penances and would often visit the holy places where Jesus lived and walked, despite his poor health. He then renounced all material goods and his inheritance and became a priest in Jerusalem at the age of 40. The relics of the True Cross in Jerusalem were entrusted to his care. Despite his protests, he was ordained Bishop of Gaza, a pagan stronghold with an insignificant Christian community. Gaza's pagans were hostile, and St. Porphyry appealed to the emperor for protection and for the destruction of pagan temples, which he obtained. St. Porphyry built a Christian church on the site of the most important pagan temple dedicated to the chief god so that he could say Mass in the place where the devil was previously most honored. St. Porphyry labored for his flock and won many converts through his miracles, though pagan opposition continued throughout his life. He was successful in spreading the Christian faith across his diocese. His feast day is February 26.
 
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