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ST. PANTELEYMON, the All-Merciful

Name day of everyone named Panteley, Dobra, Dobrin, Dobrina.

The feast is also popular under the name Panteleimon the Traveler, or Water Panteleimon – it is a traditional feast connected to the belief that evil could happen that day unless women do house jobs, and that way no one in the house would get sick. That day, the fly-away birds gather getting ready for the long flight south, which gives the name of Traveler to the Panteleimon’s Day. The saint is also believed to be the lord of the heavy rains and floods. He is also honored as a great healer.

The traditional belief is that migrating birds start gathering at large groups and prepare for the long way. The Water Panteleymon is connected to the belief that the Saint is the master of strong rain and floods. In some parts of Bulgaria, he is also honored as a healer.

St Panteleimon was born about 284 AD in the city of Nicodemia. His real name was Pantoleonta. His mother raised him in the Christian way of life. His father sent him to study under the famous physician, Evfrosinos. Quickly he surpassed the other students. Because of these virtues, he became well known in Nicodemia.  St Panteleimon distributed his wealth among the poor and then proceeded to cure all who came to him. The only payment he would ask was that the healed person believe that Jesus Christ was their true healer. His jealous fellow-doctors betrayed Panteleimon to the Emperor Maximian, who sentences Pantoleonta to awful tortures but miraculously he suffered no harm.

The defeated Emperor passed final sentence on the Saint - he was to he beheaded and his body was to he cremated. The Saint was taken and tied to an olive tree. As the soldier raised his sword to behead the Saint, the sword melted as if it were made of wax. The soldiers fell to their knees and admitted their beliefs in Christ. The Saint prayed for them and forgave them for their sins. A voice came from heaven, saying to Pantoleonta that all he had asked for had been granted and that from this time on he would he known not as Pantoleonta, but as Panteleimon (All-merciful). He forced the soldiers to behead him so that he could receive the crown of martyrdom. After kissing the Saint, the soldiers beheaded him.

St Panteleimon gave his life for Christ on 27 July 304 AD. It is said that the olive tree to which he was tied, immediately bloomed and brought forth fruit. St Panteleimon is often asked by faithful Christians to aid them in times of sickness. He is believed to take special interest in those who are crippled. He is considered equal to the Benevolent Saints Cosmas and Damianos.