Saint Panteleimon – or “Pantaleon” (July 27) was a doctor, martyr, and Helper in Need. He was born with the name Pantoléon towards the end of the 3rd century in Nicomédia, today’s İzmit in Turkey. As a child he recognised his healing powers when he came across a dead child on the street bitten by a snake; he called out the name Jesus over him and the child came back to life. He was trained in the art of medicine by the imperial physician Euphrosynus and was baptised by the priest Hermolaus. Emperor Diocletian chose him as his personal physician. But when the emperor found out that he was a Christian, he was sentenced to death by the sword. After he had prayed fervently for everyone, a voice rang out from heaven saying: “From now on you will be the refuge of the desperate, the support of the tried, the doctor of the sick and the terror of the demons. Therefore, your name is no longer Pantoléon, but Panteléimon!” (Greek for “Merciful”). His worship began as early as the 4th century, first documented by Theodoret of Kyrrhos around 440. In the 5th or 6th century Pantaleon’s first story of suffering originated in Greek. The Eastern Church venerated him as a Great Martyr and as one of the Holy Doctors. In 550 Emperor Justinian I “the Great” had a church built in his honour in Constantinople. Among other things, he is considered the patron saint of doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists.
On the icon, Panteleimon is shown as a doctor with a medicine box and an ointment spatula. Above left is the Mandylion: the “not human-made image” of Christ from the city of Edessa.