St. Pantaleon, Physician and Martyr
from Mary, Help of Christians, 1908

Pantaleon was physician to Emperor Maximin and a Christian, but he fell through a temptation which is sometimes more dangerous than the most severe trials by the fiercest torments. This temptation was the bad example of the impious, idolatrous courtiers with whom the young physician associated. He was seduced by them and abandoned the Faith. But the grace of God called him, and he obeyed.

Hermolaus, a zealous priest, by prudent exhortation awakened Pantaleon's conscience to a sense of his guilt, and brought him back into the fold of the Church. Henceforth he devoted himself ardently to the advancement of the spiritual and temporal welfare of his fellow-citizens. First of all he sought to convert his father, who was still a heathen, and had the consolation to see him die a Christian. He divided the ample fortune which he inherited amongst the poor and the sick. As a physician, he was intent on healing his patients both by physical and by spiritual means. Christians he confirmed in the practice and confession of the Faith, and the heathens he sought to convert. Many suffering from incurable diseases were restored to health by his prayer and the invocation of the holy name of Jesus. His presence was everywhere fraught with blessings and consolation.

St. Pantaleon yearned to prove his fidelity to the Faith by shedding his blood for it, and the opportunity came to him when his heathen associates in the healing art denounced him to the emperor as a zealous propagator of Christianity. He was brought up before the emperor's tribunal and ordered to sacrifice to the idols. He replied: "The God whom I adore is Jesus Christ. He created heaven and earth, He raised the dead to life, made the blind see and healed the sick, all through the power of His word. Your idols are dead, they cannot do anything. Order a sick person to be brought here, one declared incurable. Your priests shall invoke their idols for him and I shall call on the only true God, and we shall see who is able to help him. "The proposal was accepted. A man sick with the palsy was brought, who could neither walk nor stand without help. The heathen priests prayed for him, but in vain. Then Pantaleon prayed, took the sick man by the hand, and said: "In the name of Jesus, the Son of God, I command thee to rise and be well. " And the palsied man rose, restored to perfect health.

By this miracle a great number of those present were converted. But the emperor and the idolatrous priests were all the more enraged. Maximin now attempted to gain Pantaleon by blandishments and promises to deny the Faith, but without success. Then he had recourse to threats, and as they too availed nothing, he proceeded to have them put into execution. The brave confessor of the Faith was tortured in every conceivable manner. Finally he was nailed to a tree, and then beheaded. The priest Hermolaus and the brothers Hermippos and Hermocrates suffered death with him, in the year 308.


Happy are they who, whatever may be their station or calling in life, are intent on bringing those with whom they come into contact under the influence of religion. But, alas, too many do just the reverse. They permit themselves to be led astray by bad example, and set aside the claims of the Church as too severe and exacting. How do you act in this regard? Do you shun the company of the wicked? A proverb says: "Tell me in whose company you are found, and I will tell you who you are." Bad company insensibly undermines faith and morals, overcomes the fear of evil and the aversion to it and weakens the will. "He that loveth danger shall perish in it" (Ecclus. iii. 27).

As soon as St. Pantaleon came to a sense of his apostasy, he repented and returned to the practice of the Faith. He did this despite the knowledge that he thereby incurred hatred and persecution. The true Christian will ever follow the dictates of conscience and please God, whether he thereby incur the displeasure of men or not. If, to please men, we become remiss in the service of God, we show that we fear and love Him less than men. What a lamentable folly! Of whom have we to expect greater benefits or to fear greater evils--from God or man? Do not act thus unwisely; rather imitate St. Pantaleon, and live for God and His service.

Prayer of the Church

Almighty God, grant us through the intercession of Thy blessed martyr Pantaleon to be delivered and preserved from all ills of the body, and from evil thoughts and influences in spirit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Novena to St. Pantaleon

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul.

Prayer in Honor of St. Pantaleon

O God, who didst give to St. Pantaleon the grace of exercising charity toward his fellow-men by distributing his goods to the poor, and hast made him a special patron of the sick, grant, that we, too, show our charity by works of mercy; and through the intercession of this Thy servant preserve us from sickness. But if it be Thy will that illness should afflict us, give us the grace to bear it patiently, and let it promote our soul's salvation. Amen.

Invocation of St. Pantaleon

St. Pantaleon, who during life didst have great pity for the sick and with the help of God didst often relieve and cure them; I invoke thy intercession with God, that I may obtain the grace to serve Him in good health by cheerfully fulfilling the duties of my state of life. But if it be His holy will to visit me with illness, pain, and suffering, do thou aid me with thy powerful prayer to submit humbly to His chastisements, to accept sickness in the spirit of penance and to bear it patiently according to His holy will. Amen.

Concluding Prayer

My Lord and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen

Litany of the Sick
(For Private Devotion Only.)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us. *

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, *
God the Holy Ghost, *
Holy Trinity, one God, *
Jesus, Who art near to all those who invoke Thee, *
Jesus, Who through mercy helpest all who confide in Thee, *
Jesus, Who didst go to seek and cure the sick, *
Jesus, Who didst stay up the weak and suffering, *
Jesus, Who dost refresh those who labor and are heavily burdened, *
Jesus, Who didst console the stricken hearts, *
Jesus, Who didst raise the dead unto life, *
Jesus, Who didst bear all our pains, *

Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful, hear us, O Jesus.
From all evil,
Deliver us, O Jesus. **

From all sin, **
From all diseases and infirmities, **
From impatience and despondency, **
From the snares of the devil, **
From a sudden and unprovided death, **
From eternal damnation, **
Through Thy toils and hardships, **
Through Thy affliction and tears, **
Through Thine agony and bloody sweat, **
Through Thy holy wounds, **
Through Thy precious blood, **
Through Thy Passion and cross, **
Through Thy bitter death, **
Through Thy glorious resurrection, **
Through Thy marvellous ascension, **
In the Day of Judgment, **

We, poor sinners, beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst spare us,
We beseech Thee, hear us. ***

That Thou wouldst pardon us, ***
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance, ***
That Thou wouldst give us a contrite heart, ***
That Thou wouldst strengthen us in our weakness, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us in patience, ***
That Thou wouldst relieve our pains, ***
That Thou wouldst restore us to health of body and soul, ***
That Thou wouldst grant us perseverance in good, ***
That Thou wouldst grant us a happy death, ***
That Thou wouldst receive our spirit into Thy hands, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us from the fire of purgatory, ***
That Thou wouldst bring us to the joys of heaven, ***
Son of God, ***

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Our Father (secretly).

V. And lead us not into temptation,
R. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
V. Save, O Lord, Thy servants.
R. Who hope in Thy mercy.
V. Lord, hear our prayer.
R. And let our cry come unto Thee.

Let us Pray:

O Heavenly Father, have mercy on Thy servant, who is sick. Confirm him [her] in faith, strengthen his [her] hope, fill him [her] with the fire of Thy love. Give him [her] enduring patience, that he [she] may victoriously go through the fight and suffer everything for Thy greater glory and the salvation of his [her] soul. Lessen his [her] pains, forgive him [her] his [her] sins, and bring him [her] to life everlasting. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

St. Pantaleon, Martyr
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

Nicomedia, a city in Bithynia, was the birth-place of St. Pantaleon. His mother, Eubula, was a Christian, but Eustorgius, his father, a heathen. The former died before he was baptized, and the latter reared him in the darkness of idolatry, and instructed him carefully in the same. Pantaleon, whose appearance was prepossessing, and who, besides this, was gifted with great talents, studied medicine and acquired such knowledge, that he not only gained the esteem of the lower classes, but also stood in great favor with the Emperor Galerius Maximian. At that period there lived in the same city a pious and zealous priest, named Hermolaus, who, on account of the persecutions, secretly instructed the Christians, and encouraged them to remain faithful to Christ. Having sought an opportunity to become acquainted with Pantaleon, he conversed one day with him upon the art of healing certain diseases; and on this occasion spoke of the true God, adding that by calling on Jesus Christ, as the Lord of life and death, one could heal diseases much better than by human remedies; that even the dead could be restored to life, if it so pleased the Lord, and one called upon Him with due confidence. Hermolaus confirmed his words by relating several examples of miraculous cases and restoration to life, and exhorted Pantaleon most earnestly to become one of the number of those who believed in Christ, and who worshipped no other God in heaven or on earth. Pantaleon was deeply impressed by the words of the pious priest, and promised to consider carefully all he had heard.

One day, while he was occupied with the thought whether all was true that Hermolaus had told him, he found on his way a dead child, and near it a viper, which probably had killed the child. Remembering what he had heard of the omnipotence of the God of the Christians, he was filled with trust in Him, and said to the dead child: "I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, rise! "and to the viper: "And be thou punished for having killed this poor child!" At the same moment, the dead child arose to his feet, and the viper burst before his eyes. Amazed at this evident miracle, Pantaleon went forthwith to Hermolaus, related to him what had just occurred, and humbly begged for holy baptism, which he received after having been sufficiently instructed in the faith of Christ. Not satisfied with his own conversion, he endeavored also to bring his father to the knowledge of the true God, and took every opportunity to speak to him of the falsity of those idols which were so devoutly worshipped and on account of which the Christians, who refused to sacrifice to them, were so cruelly persecuted. God so ordered, that just at a time when he was thus conversing with his father, a blind man came to him, who bitterly complained that the physicians, instead of healing his eyes, had entirely deprived him of his sight, and asked him if he could help him. "Will you promise me to embrace the Christian faith if I restore your sight?" asked Pantaleon. "I will," replied the blind man. Then Pantaleon, making the sign of the holy cross over him, said: "In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, open thine eyes!" And the man, opening his eyes, saw.

This miracle opened the inner eyes of Pantaleon's father, those eyes with which we recognize God. Seeing that the words of his son were true, he said to him: "I must believe now that the God of the Christians is the only true God." Inexpressibly happy, Pantaleon went, with his father and the man who had been blind, to the pious priest, who instructed and baptized both. Pantaleon's father, soon after, died and left his great wealth to his son, who sold the greatest part of it and divided the money among the poor, that he might have more leisure to prepare himself for the struggle which he knew was awaiting him, being convinced that he would have to suffer greatly when his conversion came to the knowledge of the Emperor. Meanwhile, he gave all his care to the sick, healing many of them by merely making the sign of the cross over them, and thus converting them to the Christian faith.

The other physicians envied the Saint, on account of his many cures, and, fearing that he would gradually draw all the sick to himself, they resolved to put him out of the way. They, therefore, denounced him to the Emperor as a Christian who cured the sick by the usual magic of his sect. They particularly related how he had, not long before, restored sight to a blind man. The Emperor called this man into his presence, and asked him how, and by whom his sight had been restored. The man told the simple truth, that Pantaleon, by calling upon Christ, had immediately given him back his sight, adding that he had recognized, by this fact, that the God of the Christians was the only true God, and hence had resolved to worship Him only. The Emperor became so incensed at these words, that he ordered this fearless confessor of Christ to be beheaded without loss of time. He then had Pantaleon brought, and asked him if it was true that he was a Christian. Pantaleon, without hesitation, confessed his faith, and represented the falsity of the heathen gods so clearly, that neither the Emperor nor any of those present could bring an argument against him. At the conclusion of his speech, he said that he was ready to prove the truth of his God, and the vanity of the heathen idols. "Let them bring," said he, "a sick person, of whose recovery there is no hope. Then call all the idolatrous priests, in order that they may pray to their gods, while I will ask the aid of my God; and then we shall see whether your gods are able to restore the sick man to health. I know that my God has the power."

They accepted this proposition, and brought an incurable paralytic man. The priests began to call on all their gods, one after another, as in ancient times the priests of Baal had done in the presence of King Achab and the holy prophet Elias. But the sick man's health did not improve. After the idolaters had for a long time vainly endeavored to receive help from their gods, the Christian physician stepped forward, and, after saying a short prayer, he made the sign of the cross over the sick man, and said with a loud voice: " In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, rise, restored to health." And at the same time the paralyzed man arose and cried: "There is no other God but the God of the Christians! " This miracle soon became known all over the city, and induced many heathens to join the faithful. The Emperor, however, provoked beyond measure by the idolatrous priests against Pantaleon, commanded that he should be first tortured and afterwards beheaded. Hermolaus, who was not less faithful to Christ than Pantaleon, was beheaded at the same time. Both received the crown of martyrdom in the 305 th year of the Christian era.


You saw in the life of St. Pantaleon how a child brought his own father to the knowledge of his error, then to the true faith and a pious life, hence to everlasting happiness. Oh! how beautiful an example! Many children are the cause of great sin, and perhaps of the damnation of their parents, because they give them, by their disobedience and bad conduct, occasion of cursing, blasphemy, anger and other sins. How great will be their responsibility when they appear before the judgment-seat of God! If you have been one of these children, or are still one of them, repent of your fault and pray earnestly for your parents, if they are dead. Should they, however, still live, treat them with due love, honor and obedience, that you may, in some measure, atone for your past omissions. Pray often to the Almighty that He may give grace to them and to you to live in such a manner, that you may all gain everlasting life. Should you have an opportunity to be useful to your parents in regard to their spiritual welfare, without trespassing on the respect due to them, omit not so to do ; they have well deserved it of you.