The Holy Martyr Emelian, a Slav, suffered for Christ during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian wanted to restore in the Roman empire the cult of the pagan gods, and he circulated an edict throughout all the regions, according to which all Christians would be subject to death.
The city of Dorostolum, situated on the banks of the River Dunaj (Danube), where Saint Emelian lived, was governed by an official named Capitolinus. The imperial edict was read in the city square. The people of Dorostolum said that there were no Christians in the city.
Saint Emelian was a slave of the local city-head, and he was secretly a Christian. Emboldened by the harsh edict, Saint Emelian snuck into the pagan temple, he destroyed statues of the idols with an hammer, he overturned the altars and the candle-stands, and then emerged without notice. But soon the pagans discovered, that the pagan-temple was in ruins. An angry crowd began to beat up a certain Christian, who by chance happened by. Saint Emelian then shouted out loudly, that they should not lay hold of that innocent man, and then he said that he himself had wrecked the pagan-temple. They seized hold of him and led him for judgement to Capitolinus. By order of the official, Saint Emelian was for a long time beaten mercilessly, and then he was condemned to burning. Thrown into a bon-fire, he did not perish, but rather the flames burnt many of the pagans standing about. And when the bon-fire had gone out, Saint Emelian lay down upon the dying embers and with a prayer gave up his spirit to the Lord (+ 363). At Constantinople afterwards there was built a church in honour of the holy Martyr Emelian, wherein also they transferred his relics.