Saint Phocas, sometimes called Phocas the Gardener, is venerated as a martyr by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. His life and legend may have been a fusion of three men with the same name: a Phocas of Antioch, a Phocas the Gardener and Phocas, Bishop of Sinope.
Christian tradition states that he was a gardener who lived at Sinope, on the Black Sea, who used his crops to feed the poor and aided persecuted Christians.
During the persecutions of Diocletian, he provided hospitality to the soldiers who were sent to execute him. The soldiers, not knowing that their host was their intended victim, agreed to his hospitality. Phocas also offered to help them find the person they were seeking.
As the soldiers slept, Phocas dug his own grave and prayed. He made arrangements for all his possessions to be distributed to the poor after his death. In the morning, when the soldiers awoke, Phocas revealed his identity.
The soldiers hesitated and offered to report to their commander that their search had been fruitless. Phocas refused this offer and bared his neck. He was then decapitated and buried in the grave that he had dug for himself.