Saints Cyrus and John

Saints Cyrus and John are venerated as martyrs. They are especially venerated by the Coptic Church and called Wonderworking Unmercenaries because they healed the sick free of charge.

There is little information about Saints Cyrus and John who are venerated as martyrs especially in Coptic Catholic Church.  There is no surviving information about the parents, birth, or the early years of these men.  Most of the information that does still exists comes from Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, who died in 638.   Some sources indicate Cyrus and John were both Alexandrians; other sources say Cyrus was a native of Alexandria and John of Edessa.  

Cyrus practiced medicine and had a workshop which was changed into a church dedicated to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ministered to the sick without charge and also worked as a disciple of the Faith.  He converted many people from pagan superstition. He would say, “Whoever wishes to avoid being ill should refrain from sin, for sin is often the cause of bodily illness.” This took place under Emperor Diocletian. He was turned in to authorities.  He fled to Arabia where he took refuge in a town near the sea called Tzoten. While there he became a monk, gave up his practice of medicine, and began his life as a hermit.  

John belonged to the army, in which he held a high rank.  He was well known by Emperor Diocletian.  He heard about Cyrus and his work. John went to Jerusalem in fulfillment of a vow, and then to Alexandria and finally to Arabia where he became the companion of St. Cyrus as a hermit.

Martyrdom of Cyrus and John
During the persecution of Diocletian,  three holy virgins, fifteen-year-old Theoctista, Theodota, thirteen years old, and Theodossia, eleven years old, together with their mother Athanasia, were arrested at Canopus and brought to Alexandria. Cyrus and John were afraid these girls might deny their faith because of their age, innocents, and the viciousness of their torture.   Cyrus and John decided to go into the city to comfort and encourage them to remain faithful even to martyrdom.  When this became known they were also arrested, tortured and they were all beheaded on the 31st of January.