On this day, we commemorate the departure of St. Cornelius the centurion. He was a captain over one hundred soldiers in Caesarea of Palestine and he used to worship the stars.
When he heard the Apostles preaching and saw the miracles performed at their hands, which were above and beyond any human power, he was astonished, confused and started to doubt his gods. He forsook the worship of the stars and opened his heart to God through prayer, fasting and merciful deeds. In his prayers he repeated: "O Lord, I am confused in my knowledge of You, direct and guide me". The Lord had compassion upon him, answered his prayers and accepted his deeds of mercy.
He saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, "Cornelius, your prayers and your alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodges with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell you what you must do".
Cornelius called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa to bring Peter to him.
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, "You know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come to one of another nation; but God had showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore I came without objection, as soon as I was sent for: I ask then for what reason you have sent for me?"
And Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of Simon a tanner by the sea. When he comes, he shall speak to you. So I sent to you immediately and you have done well to come. Now therefore we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God".
Peter opened his mouth, and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him, and works righteousness is accepted by Him". Then Peter preached them concerning Jesus Christ, the Lord of all and taught them the mystery of His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and workings of miracles in His name.
Then Cornelius, his household, all his men and most of those who were with him, believed and were baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Straightaway the Holy Spirit descended upon them. (Acts Chapter 10).
Afterwards, Cornelius left the military and followed the Apostles. Peter ordained him a bishop over the City of Caesarea of Palestine. He went there and proclaimed the name of Christ, showing them the flaws of worshipping idols. Their minds were illuminated with the knowledge of God and they believed in Him. He strengthened them working signs and miracles before them and he baptized them all and among them was Demetrius the Governor.
Then he departed to heaven in peace and received
the crown of the evangelical apostles.