PHOCAS, SAINT: Christian martyr. He is said to have been a gardener at Sinope in Pontus where he was famous for his lavish almsgiving and hospitality to strangers. He suffered martyrdom, as some hold, in the persecution under Trajan (98-117); according to others, under Diocletian (284-305). In the East he is the patron saint of mariners, who are accustomed to revere him with hymns, call upon him when in distress at sea, and share with him a part of their profits by giving them to the poor. A magnificent church was erected to his honor at Constantinople by the emperor of the same name shortly before 610. The Phocas revered by Roman tradition as the bishop of Sinope must be the same person. Another Phocas must be a martyr of Antioch, a touch of the door of whose tomb, according to Gregory of Tours, was a cure for serpent bites.