The Holy Martyr Julian of Tarsus was born in the Asia Minor province of Cilicia. He was the son of a pagan senator, but his mother was a Christian. After the death of her husband the mother of Julian moved to Tarsus, where her son was baptized and raised in Christian piety. When Julian reached age 18, a persecution against Christians began under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Among those arrested was Julian. They brought him before the governor Marcian for trial, and for a long time they urged him to renounce Christ. Neither tortures nor threats, nor promises of gifts and honors could convince the pious youth to offer pagan sacrifice and deny Christ. The holy confessor remained steadfast in his firm faith.
For a whole year they led the martyr through the cities of Cilicia, everywhere subjecting him to interrogation and tortures, after which they threw him in prison. Julian’s mother followed after her son and prayed that the Lord would strengthen him. In the city of Aegea, she besought the governor to permit her to visit the prison, ostensibly to persuade her son to offer sacrifice to idols. She spent three days in prison with Julian, exhorting him to be strong until the end.
Julian was again brought to stand before the governor. Thinking that the mother had persuaded her son to submit to the imperial decree, the governor began to praise her prudence. But suddenly she boldly confessed Jesus Christ, and even more fearlessly and boldly denounced paganism. The governor then gave orders to cut off her feet, since she had accompanied her son from Tarsus. They tied the martyr Julian into a sack, filled with sand and poisonous snakes, and threw it into the sea. The body of the sufferer was carried by the waves to the shores of Alexandria, and with reverence was buried by a certain pious Christian. The martyr’s death occurred in about the year 305. Afterwards his relics were transferred to Antioch. Saint John Chrysostom honored the holy Martyr Julian with an encomium.
Your holy martyr Julian, O Lord,
through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through his intercessions save our souls.
Let us all worthily praise Julian today,
the unconquerable pious warrior and seeker of truth.
To him let us cry out,
"Pray to Christ God for us all."