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THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS, which I have begun, is an undertaking, of whose difficulty few can have any idea. Let it be remembered, that there were Saints in every century, for eighteen hundred years; that their Acts are interwoven with the profane history of their times, and that the history, not of one nation only, but of almost every nation under the sun; that the records of these lives are sometimes fragmentary, sometimes mere hints to be culled out of secular history; that authentic records have sometimes suffered interpolation, and that some records are forgeries; that the profane history with which the lives of the Saints is mixed up is often dark and hard to be read; and then some idea may be formed of the difficulty of this undertaking.

After having had to free the Acts of a martyr from a late accretion of fable, and to decide whether the passion took place under—say Decius or Diocletian, Claudius the Elder, or Claudius the younger,—the writer of a hagiology is hurried into Byzantine politics, and has to collect the thread of a saintly confessor's life from the tangle of political and ecclesiastical intrigue, in that chaotic period when emperors rose and fell, and patriarchs succeeded each other with bewildering rapidity. And thence he is, by a step, landed in the romance world of Irish hagiology, where the footing is as insecure as on the dark bogs of the Emerald Isle. Thence he strides into the midst of the wreck of Charlemagne’s empire, to gather among the splinters of history a few poor mean notices of those holy ones living then, whose names have survived, but whose acts are all but lost. And then the scene changes, and he treads the cool cloister of a mediaeval abbey, to glean materials for a memoir of some peaceful recluse, which may reflect the crystalline purity of the life without being wholly colourless of incident.

And then, maybe, he has to stand in the glare of the great conflagration of the sixteenth century, and mark some pure soul passing unscathed through the fire, like the lamp in Abraham’s vision.

That one man can do justice to this task is not to be expected. When Bellarmine heard of the undertaking of Rosweydus, he asked: “What is this man's age? does he expect to live two hundred years?” But for the work of the Bollandists, it would have been an impossibility for me to undertake this task. But even with this great store-house open, the work to be got through is enormous. Bollandus began January with two folios in double columns, close print, of 1200 pages each. As he and his coadjutors proceeded, fresh materials came in, and February occupies three volumes. May swelled into seven folios, September into eight, and October into ten. It was begun in 1643, and the fifty-seventh volume appeared in 1861. The labor of reading, digesting, and selecting from this library is enormous. With so much material it is hard to decide what to omit, but such a decision must be made, for the two volumes of January have to be crushed into one, not a tenth of the size of one of Bollandus, and the ten volumes for October must suffer compression to an hundredth degree, so as to occupy the same dimensions. I had two courses open to me. One to give a brief outline, bare of incident, of the life of every Saint; the other to diminish the number of lives, and present them to the reader in greater fullness, and with some colour. I have adopted this latter course, but I have omitted no Saint of great historical interest. I have been compelled to put aside a great number of lesser known saintly religious, whose eventless lives flowed uniformly in prayer, vigil, and mortification.

In writing the lives of the Saints, I have used my discretion, also, in relating only those miracles which are most remarkable, either for being fairly well authenticated, or for their intrinsic beauty or quaintness, or because they are often represented in art, and are therefore of interest to the archaeologist. That errors in judgment, and historical inaccuracies, have crept into this volume, and may find their way into those that succeed, is, I fear, inevitable. All I can promise is, that I have used my best endeavours to be accurate, having had recourse to all such modern critical works as have been accessible to me, for the determining of dates, and the estimation of authorities.

Believing that in some three thousand and six hundred memoirs of men, many of whose lives closely resembled each other, it would be impossible for me to avoid a monotony of style which would become as tedious to the reader as vexatious to myself, I have occasionally admitted the lives of certain Saints by other writers, thereby giving a little freshness to the book, where there could not fail otherwise to have been aridity; but I have, I believe, in no case, inserted a life by another pen, without verifying the authorities.

At the head of every article the authority for the life is stated, to which the reader is referred for fuller details. The editions of these authorities are not given, as it would have greatly extended the notices, and such information can readily be obtained from that invaluable guide to the historian of the Middle Ages, Potthast: Bibliotheca Historica Medii Aevi Berlin, 1862 ; the second part of which is devoted to the Saints.

I have no wish that my work should be regarded as intended to supplant that of Alban Butler. My line is somewhat different from his. He confined his attention to the historical outlines of the saintly lives, and he rarely filled them in with anecdote. Yet it is the little details of a man's life that give it character, and impress themselves on the memory. People forget the age and parentage of S. Gertrude, but they remember the mouse running up her staff.

A priest of the Anglican Church, I have undertaken to write a book which I hope and trust will be welcome to Roman and Anglican Catholics, alike. It would have been unseemly to have carried prejudice, impertinent to have obtruded sectarianism, into a work like this. I have been called to tread holy ground, and kneel in the midst of the great company of the blessed; and the only fitting attitude of the mind for such a place, and such society, is reverence. In reading the miracles recorded of the Saints, of which the number is infinite, the proper spirit to observe is, no doubt, but discrimination. Because much is certainly apocryphal in these accounts, we must not therefore reject what may be true. The present age, in its vehement naturalism, places itself, as it were, outside of the circle of spiritual phenomena, and is as likely to deny the supernatural agency in a marvel, as a mediaeval was liable to attribute a natural phenomenon to spiritual causes. In such cases we must consider the evidence and its worth or worthlessness. It may be that, in God's dealings with men, at a time when natural means of cure were unattainable, the supernatural should abound, but that when the science of medicine became perfected, and the natural was rendered available to all, the supernatural should, to some extent, at least, be withdrawn.

Of the Martyrologies referred to, it may be as well to mention the dates of the most important. That of Ado is of the ninth century, Bede's of the eighth; there are several bearing the name of S. Jerome, which differ from one another, they are forms of the ancient Roman Martyrology. The Martyrology of Notker (D. 912), of Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), of Usuardus (875), of Wandalbert (circ. 881). The general catalogue of the Saints by Ferrarius was published in 1625, the Martyrology of Maurolycus was composed in 145o, and published 1568. The modern Roman Martyrology is based on that of Usuardus. It is impossible, in the limited space available for a preface, to say all that is necessary on the various Kalendars, and Martyrologies, that exist, also on the mode in which some of the Saints have received apotheosis. Comparatively few Saints have received formal canonization at Rome; popular veneration was regarded as sufficient in the mediaeval period, before order and system were introduced; thus there are many obscure Saints, famous in their own localities, and perhaps entered in the kalendar of the diocese, whose claims to their title have never been authoritatively inquired into, and decided upon. There is also great confusion in the monastic kalendars in appropriating titles to those commemorated; here a holy one is called The Venerable, there the Blessed, and in another Saint. With regard also to the estimation of authorities, the notes of genuineness of the Acts of the martyrs, the tests whereby apocryphal lives and interpolations may be detected, I should have been glad to have been able to make observations. But this is a matter which there is not space to enter upon here.

The author cannot dismiss the work without expressing a hope that it may be found to meet a want which he believes has long been felt; for English literature is sadly deficient in the department of hagiology.



(ABOUT 175.)

[S. Concord is mentioned in all the Latin Martyrologies. His festival is celebrated at Bispal, in the diocese of Gerona, in Spain, where his body is said to be preserved, on the 2nd Jan. His translation is commemorated on the 4th July. The following is an abridgment of his genuine Acts.]


IN the reign of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, there raged a violent persecution in the city of Rome. At that time there dwelt in Rome a sub-deacon, named Concordius, whose father was priest of S. Pastor’s, Cordianus by name. Concord was brought up by his father in the fear of God, and in the study of Holy Scripture, and he was consecrated sub-deacon by S. Pius, Bishop of Rome. Concord and his father fasted and prayed, and served the Lord instantly in the person of His poor. When the persecution waxed sore, said Concord to his father: “My lord, send me away, I pray thee, to S. Eutyches, that I may dwell with him a few days, until this tyranny be overpast.” His father answered: “My son, it is better to stay here that we may be crowned.” But Concord said: “Let me go, that I may be crowned where Christ shall bid me be crowned.” Then his father sent him away, and Eutyches received him with great joy. With him Concord dwelt for a season, fervent in prayer. And many sick came to them, and were healed in the name of Jesus Christ.

Then, hearing the fame of them, Torquatus, governor of Umbria, residing at Spoleto, sent and had Concord brought before him. To him he said: “What is thy name?”

He answered: “I am a Christian.”

Then, said the Governor: “I asked concerning thee, and not about thy Christ.”

S. Concord replied: “I have said that I am a Christian, and Christ I confess.”

The Governor ordered: “Sacrifice to the immortal gods, and I will be to thee a father, and will obtain for thee favour at the hands of the Emperor, and he will exalt thee to be priest of the gods.”

S. Concord said: “Harken unto me, and sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt escape eternal misery.”

Then the governor ordered him to be beaten with clubs, and to be cast into prison.

Then, at night, there came to him the blessed Eutyches, with S. Anthymius, the bishop; for Anthymius was a friend of the governor; and he obtained permission of Torquatus to take Concord home with him for a few days. And during these days he ordained him priest, and they watched together in prayer.

And after a time, the governor sent and brought him before him once more and said to him: “What hast thou decided on for thy salvation?”

Then Concord said: “Christ is my salvation, to whom daily I offer the sacrifice of praise.”

Then he was condemned to be hung upon the little horse; and, with a glad countenance, he cried: “Glory be to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ!”

After this torment he was cast into prison, with irons on his hands and neck. And blessed Concord began to sing praise to God in his dungeon, and he said: “Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace to men of good will.” Then, that same night, the angel of the Lord stood by him, and said: “Fear not to play the man, I shall be with thee.”

And when three days had passed, the governor sent two of his officers, at night, to him with a small image of Jupiter. And they said: “Hear what the governor has ordered; sacrifice to Jupiter or lose thy head.” Then the blessed Concord spat in the face of the idol, and said: “Glory be to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then one of the officers smote off his head in the prison. Afterwards, two clerks and certain religious men carried away his body, and buried it not far from the city of Spoleto, where many waters flow forth.



(about 198.)


[Mentioned in English Martyrologies, and by Ferrarius in his General Catalogue of the Saints. The evidence for these Saints is purely traditional; the first written record of them was by Gildas, AD 560, but his account is lost. It is referred to by Matthew of Westminster.]


Saint Elvan of Avalon, or Glastonbury, was brought up in that school erroneously said to have been founded by S. Joseph of Arimathea. He vehemently preached the truth before Lucius, a British king, and was mightily assisted by S. Mydwyn of Wales (Meduinus), a man of great learning. Lucius despatched Elvan and Mydwyn to Rome, on an embassy to Pope Eleutherius, in 179, who consecrated Elvan bishop, and appointed Mydwyn teacher. He gave them, as companions, two Roman clerks, Faganus and Deruvianus; or, according to some, Fugatius and Damianus. They returned with these to King Lucius, who was obedient to the word of God, and received baptism along with many of his princes and nobles. Elvan became the second archbishop of London. He and Mydwyn were buried at Avalon.

S. Patrick is said to have found there an ancient account of the acts of the Apostles, and of Fugatius and Damianus, written by the hand of S. Mydwyn.

Matthew of Westminster gives the following account of the conversion of Lucius, under the year 185: “About the same time, Lucius, king of the Britons, directed letters to Eleutherius, entreating him that he would make him a Christian. And the blessed pontiff, having ascertained the devotion of the king, sent to him some religious teachers; namely, Faganus and Deruvianus, to convert the king to Christ, and wash him in the holy font. And when that had been done, then the different nations ran to baptism, following the example of the king, so that in a short time there were no infidels found in the island.”

There is a considerable amount of exaggeration in this account of Matthew of Westminster, which must not be passed over. Lucius is known in the Welsh triads by the name of Lleurwg, or Lleufer Mawr, which means “The great Luminary”, and this has been Latinized into Lucius, from Lux, light. He was king of a portion of South Wales only. The Welsh authorities make no mention of the alleged mission to Rome, though, that such a mission should have been sent, is extremely probable. Some accounts say that Medwy and Elfan were Britons, and that Dyfan and Ffagan (Deruvianus and Faganus) were Roman priests. But both these names are British, consequently we may conjecture that they were of British origin, but resided then at Rome.

Four churches near Llandaf bore the names of Lleurwg (Lucius), Dyfan, Ffagan, and Medwy, which confirms the belief in the existence of these Saints, and indicates the scene of their labours. Matthew of Westminster adds: “A.D. 185. The blessed priests, Faganus and Deruvianus, returned to Rome, and easily prevailed on the most blessed Pope that all that they had done should be confirmed. And when it had been, then the before-mentioned teachers returned to Britain, with a great many more, by whose teaching the nation of the Britons was soon founded in the faith of Christ, and became eminent as a Christian people. And their names and actions are found in the book that Gildas the historian wrote, concerning the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius.”

Geoffrey, of Monmouth, who, unsupported, is thoroughly untrustworthy, mentions the same circumstance, on the authority of the treatise of Gildas, now lost. The embassy to Rome shall be spoken of at length, under the title of S. Lucius, December 11th.


S. ARCADIUS of Mauretania

(ABOUT A.D. 260.)


DURING a severe outbreak of persecution, in the reign of Gallienus, in the north of Africa, the fury of the tyrants raged violently, and the devil had instigated his soldiers to wage like so many wolves, a bloody war against the servants of Jesus. Upon the least suspicion they broke into houses, made rigorous searches, and if they found a Christian, they treated him upon the spot with the greatest cruelty, their impatience not suffering them to wait the bringing him before a judge. Every day new sacrileges were committed; the faithful were compelled to assist at superstitious sacrifices, to lead victims crowned with flowers through the streets, to burn incense before idols, and to celebrate the enthusiastic feasts of Bacchus.

Arcadius, seeing his city in great confusion, left his estate and withdrew to a solitary place in the neighbouring country, serving Jesus Christ in watching, prayer, and other exercises of a penitential life. His flight could not be long a secret; for his not appearing at the public sacrifices made the governor send soldiers to his house, who surrounded it, forced open the doors, and finding one of his relations in it, who said all he could to justify his kinsman’s absence, they seized him, and the governor ordered him to be kept in close custody till Arcadius should be taken.

The martyr, informed of his friend's danger, and burning with a desire to suffer for Christ, went into the city, and presenting himself to the judge said: “If on my account you detain my innocent relation in chains, release him; I, Arcadius, am come in person to give an account of myself, and to declare to you, that he knew not where I was.”

“I am willing,” answered the judge, “to pardon not only him but you also, on condition that you will sacrifice to the gods."”

Arcadius replied: “How can you propose to me such a thing? Do you not know the Christians, or do you believe that the fear of death will ever make me swerve from my duty? Jesus Christ is my life, and death is my gain. Invent what torments you please; but know that nothing shall make me a traitor to my God.”

The governor, in a rage, paused to devise some unheard of torment for him. Iron hooks seemed too easy; neither plummets of lead, nor cudgels could satisfy his fury; the very rack he thought by much too gentle. At last imagining he had found a manner of death suitable to his purpose, he said to the ministers of his cruelty: “Take him, and let him see and desire death, without being able to obtain it. Cut off his limbs joint by joint, and execute this so slowly, that the wretch may know what it is to abandon the gods of his ancestors for an unknown deity.”

The executioners dragged Arcadius to the place, where many other victims of Christ had already suffered; a place dear and sweet to all who sigh after eternal life. Here the martyr lifts up his eyes to heaven, and implores strength from above; then stretches out his neck, expecting to have his head cut off; but the executioner bid him hold out his hand, and joint after joint chopped off his fingers, arms, and shoulders. Laying the saint afterward on his back, he in the same barbarous manner cut off his toes, feet, legs, and thighs. The holy martyr held out his limbs and joints, one after another, with invincible patience and courage, repeating these words: “Lord, teach me thy wisdom”, for the tyrants had forgot to cut out his tongue.

After so many martyrdoms, his body lay a mere trunk weltering in its own blood. The executioners themselves, as well as the multitude, were moved to tears and admiration at this spectacle, and at such an heroic patience. But Arcadius, with a joyful countenance, surveying his scattered limbs all around him, and offering them to God, said, “Happy members, now dear to me, as you at last truly belong to God, being all made a sacrifice to him!”. Then turning to the people, he said, “You who have been present at this bloody tragedy, learn that all torments seem as nothing to one who has an everlasting crown before his eyes Your gods are not gods; renounce their worship. He alone for whom I suffer and die, is the true God. He comforts and upholds me in the condition you see me. To die for him is to live; to suffer for him is to enjoy the greatest delights”. Discoursing in this manner to those about him, he expired on the 12th of January, the pagans being struck with astonishment at such a miracle of patience. The Christians gathered together his scattered limbs, and laid them in one tomb. The Roman and other Martyrologies make honourable mention of him on this day.



died c. 290 AD


THERE is much uncertainty about this martyr. Some writers maintain that he was a disciple of S. Peter. Others say that he was sent into Gaul by S. Clement, Bishop of Rome, at the end of the first century, and suffered death under the reign of Domitian. It is certain, however, that he came into Gaul to preach the faith to the pagan inhabitants, and that he finished his labours at Beauvais, by the death of a martyr.

There is good reason to believe that he was of noble Roman blood, and that he accompanied S. Denys of Paris, or S. Quentin of Amiens, on his mission, about the year 245. S. Lucian was accompanied by his friends, Maximian and Julian. They suffered in different places, and on different days; but they were laid by faithful disciples in one tomb, and are commemorated together.

S. Lucian is called in some calendars a priest; but in an ancient one of the ninth century, he is styled a bishop, and such has been the constant tradition at Beauvais.

In art, he is represented holding his head in his hands

Wikipedia Saint Lucian, the "Apostle of Beauvais".

He was killed in the third century during the Diocletian persecution, although later traditions make him a martyr of the first century instead. This was because the church of Beauvais attempted to claim apostolic origins for itself. Odo, bishop of Beauvais during the 9th century, was actually the first writer to designate Lucian as the first bishop of Beauvais.

Nevertheless, the foundation of the diocese of Beauvais is traditionally attributed to him. His Passio assigns him two disciples, Maximian (Maxien, Maximien) and Julian (Julien), who were decapitated with him on the hill of Montmille.


The details of his life are largely unknown; the date of his death was moved backwards in time in order to lend his see more antiquity, a common practice during the Middle Ages. As Hippolyte Delehaye writes, "To have lived amongst the Saviour's immediate following was...honourable...and accordingly old patrons of churches were identified with certain persons in the gospels or who were supposed to have had some part of Christ's life on earth. "Tradition holds he came from a noble family of Rome. He was named "Lucius" like his father, but when he was converted to Christianity by Saint Peter himself, he took the name of Lucian. As a young man, he preached in Italy and then he was ordained bishop by Pope Clement I (who actually lived in a different century), who sent him to Gaul with Saint Denis and Saint Rieul, among others (Lucian is also called an associate of Saint Quentin), to preach there. He was imprisoned in Parma, but was freed by Christians there. He converted people in Pavia before arriving in Arles, where he once again met up with Saint Rieul. Denis and Lucian continued towards Lutetia. Denis remained in Lutetia while Lucian continued onto Beauvais, at the time known as Caesaromagus.

At Beauvais, he acquired fame for his mortifications and penances. He preached against the Roman gods. He lived in a house that is considered to be the place now occupied by the collegiate church of Saint-Nicolas. Denis and Rieul visited him here. According to Rolandus, the author of the Acta Sancti Luciani, he retired to a mountain near the city, living as a hermit on grass and water. According to one account, he converted 30,000 people to Christianity, and was assisted in this task by his 2 disciples.

The assassins Latinus, Jarius and Antor were sent by the Roman Emperor (his legendary account gives the contradictory name of Diocletian, though this emperor lived during the 3rd century) to kill him. They killed his disciples first and then beat Lucian with rods, finally slicing his head off. His legend states that after Lucian was decapitated, he picked up his own head and walked towards the town of Beauvais. Having crossed the river Thérain at Miauroy (Beauvais lies at the foot of wooded hills on the left bank of the Thérain at its confluence with the Avelon), Lucian stopped within a quarter mile of Beauvais, and died there, thus indicating to his followers that he wanted to be buried on that very spot. This part of his legend thus makes Lucian one of the legendary cephalophores, whose number also include his alleged companion, Denis.

According to the legend, the angels themselves attended the funeral of the saint, and according to local tradition, vermilion-colored rosebushes blossomed on the spot where Lucian's blood had run.


Lucian’s body was buried in the cemetery of Thil. His name occurred in the calendar of the Book of Common Prayer from an early date.

At the end of the Christian persecutions, a church was built over his tomb; it was called the Church of Saints Peter and Lucian. It was destroyed in the fifth century. Around 583, at the request of Dodo, bishop of Beauvais, and Saint Evrou (Evrost), Chilperic I ordered to be built a new basilica and monastery on the same site. Dodo consecrated the church, dedicating it once again to Saints Peter and Lucian. Saint Evrou served as abbot of the monastery. The abbey was destroyed in 845 during the Norman invasions, but a new one was built in the 12th century, serving also as a burial place for the cathedral canons. During the Middle Ages, a priory was also built on the alleged site of their death, at Montmille, which became a place of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages.

In 1261, the relics of Lucian, Maximian, and Julian were placed in a new reliquary by William of Grès (Guillaume de Grès), bishop of Beauvais. The translation took place in the presence of St. Louis IX, king of France, and Theobald II, king of Navarre, and much of the French nobility. The memory of this translation was formerly celebrated in the abbey of Beauvais as the fête des Corps Saints.

January 5, 1791 the abbey was put on sale and was bought by a rich Parisian, Vicente Alterio. The liturgical objects were transported to the church of Notre-Dame du-Thil. The basilica and the monastery were demolished between 1795 and 1819. Of the monastery, only the round tower and part of the wall remain.

On November 20, 1793, Lucian's relics were tossed into a fire by Protestant extremists.



(A.D. 291.)


EUSEBIUS, in his account of the martyrs of Palestine, appended to the 8th book of his Ecclesiastical History, says: “On the eleventh of the month Audynoeus, i.e., on the third of the ides of January (11th Jan.), in the same city of Caesarea, Peter the Ascetic, also called Absolom, from the village of Anea, on the borders of Eleutheropolis, like the purest gold, with a good resolution, gave proof of his faith in the Christ of God. Disregarding both the judge and those around him, that besought him in many ways to have compassion on himself, and to spare his youth and blooming years, he preferred his hope in the Supreme God of all, and even to life itself.”

The name of this Saint seems to have been Peter Absolom; the latter appellation has been corrupted into Apselm, Anselm, and Balsam. The acts of his martyrdom are authentic. They are as follows:

At that time Peter, called Balsam, was captured at Aulane, in the time of persecution. He came from the borders of Eleutheropolis, and was brought before the governor, Severus, who said to him: “What is your name?”

Peter answered: “I am called by my paternal name of Balsam, but in baptism I received my spiritual name of Peter.”

The Governor: “To what family do you belong?”

Peter: “I am a Christian.”

The Governor: “What office do you bear?”

Peter: “What office can be more honourable than to live a Christian?”

The Governor: “Have you any parents?”

Peter: “I have none.”

The Governor: “There you lie, for I have heard that you have.”

Peter: “In the Gospel I am commanded to renounce all things when I come to confess Christ.”

The Governor: “Do you know the imperial edicts?”

Peter: “I know the laws of God, the Sovereign true and everlasting.”

The Governor: “It is commanded by the most clement emperors that all Christians shall either sacrifice, or be executed in various ways.”

Peter: “And this is the command of the everlasting King. If thou sacrifice to any demon, and not to God alone, thou shalt be plucked out of the Book of the Living. Judge thou which I shall obey.”

The Governor: “Come, listen to me, sacrifice and obey the law.”

Peter: “I will not sacrifice to gods made by men’s hands of wood and stone.”

And he poured forth a vehement invective against idolatry. The governor ordered him to the rack, and when he was slung to it, he said: “Well, Peter, what say you to this? How do you like your swing?”

Peter said: “Bring the iron hooks; I have already told thee that I will not sacrifice to devils, but to God alone, for whom I suffer.”

The governor ordered him to be tortured. And when the stress of torment was very great, the martyr uttered no cry of pain, but sang: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will require: even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord, and to visit His temple. What reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits that He hath done unto me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord”.

As he thus spoke, the governor ordered other executioners to come to the work, being much exasperated. And the crowd standing by, when they saw much blood run over the pavement, lamented, and urged him, saying, “O man, compassionate thyself, and sacrifice, that thou mayest escape these dreadful pains.”

But the holy man of God answered them: “These pains are nothing, and give me no suffering; but were I to deny the name of my God, I know that I should fall into greater torments, which would last eternally.”

The Governor said: “You had better sacrifice, or you will repent it.”

“No”, answered Peter; “I will not sacrifice, and I shall not repent it.”

The Governor said: “Well, then I shall pronounce sentence”

“That” said Peter, “is what I most ardently desire.”

Then the governor gave sentence in these words: “I command Peter, continuously despising the commands of the unconquered emperors, to suffer the death of the cross.”

Thus, the venerable athlete of Christ, fulfilling his agony, was found worthy to participate in the Passion of his Lord. And he suffered at Aulane, on the third of the nones of January (Jan. 3rd,) under Maximian, the emperor.

This account is somewhat abbreviated from the Acts. There is some little discrepancy between it and that of Eusebius. The ecclesiastical historian says he was executed at Caesarea; the Acts say at Aulane; but as this was an insignificant village in the district over which the governor of Caesarea held jurisdiction, the discrepancy is only apparent. Eusebius says he suffered on the third of the ides; the Acts, that he suffered on the third of the nones. It is probable that Eusebius is right, for the Greeks observe the martyrdom of S. Peter Balsam on the 12th Jan., and in the Martyrology, attributed to S. Jerome, the passion of this Saint is given as occurring on the third of the ides, 11th January



(about 300.)

Patroness of Tortosa, in Spain.


At the end of the 3rd century in Rusuccur, a small city in Mauretania, Algeria, there lived a young lady called Marciana, as pious as she was beautiful. While very young, she consecrated her virginity to God, and abandoned everything to live in a cave near that Roman city.

One day, certainly moved by some divine inspiration, she left her cell to walk among the agitated and restless multitude of that city, for this was the time of the bloody persecution of Christians made by Diocletian throughout the Roman Empire

Entering the city by the Tipasia door, Marciana saw a marble statue of the goddess Diana in the middle of a square. At its feet flowed clear waters in a pool also made of marble. The brave virgin could not bear the sight of that impure idol. She stepped forward and threw the idol from its base, broke its head and smashed the entire statue into pieces.

A furious mob dragged her to the Pretorium before an imperial magistrate. The Christian virgin laughed at the stone and wood gods, and glorified the true God she adored. In loud, eloquent words, she praised Him there in the Pretorium. The pagan judge handed her over to the gladiators to be infamously abused at their pleasure. Marciana remained fearless and serene. For three hours the gladiators were rendered immobile by an unknown terror, and were unable to touch the virgin. Through her prayers one of them converted and professed Jesus Christ as the true God.

Confused by this development of events, the judge remained firm in his hatred. Unable to dishonour the virgin, he condemned her to be torn to pieces by wild beasts. When the hour arrived, she entered the arena as to a joyful feast, giving praise and thanks to Jesus Christ. She was tied to a stake and a lion was set upon her. The beast, however, approached her, touched her breast with its claws, and then retired as though moved by a stronger force.

In admiration, the populace called out loudly demanding that she be set free. But a group of Jews who were part of the multitude, always thirsty for Christian blood, changed the mood of the crowd by calling for a wild bull. The beast gored the breast of Marciana opening a terrible wound. The blood poured out and St. Marciana fell to the sand in agony. Servants removed her from the arena, stopped the hemorrhaging, and nurtured what little life remained to her.

The judge, however, called for her to be tied to the stake again. She raised her eyes to Heaven, a smile illuminating her face marked by suffering, and spoke her last words:

O Christ, I adore and love You.

You were with me in the prison and kept me pure.

Now You do call me – O my Divine Master –

and I go happily to Tou. Receive my soul.

After she spoke these words, a ferocious leopard tore her apart, opening the road of Heaven to her.



(ABOUT 302.)


“ONE cannot but admire”, says Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, "those who suffered in Egypt, their native land, where thousands, both men, and women, and children, despising the present life for the sake of our Saviour's doctrine, submitted to death in various shapes. Some, after being tortured with scrapings and the rack, and the most dreadful scourgings, and other innumerable agonies, which one might shudder to hear, were finally committed to the flames; some plunged and drowned in the sea, others voluntarily offering their heads to the executioners; others dying in the midst of their torments, some wasted away by famine, and others again fixed to the cross.

“Some, indeed, were executed as malefactors usually were; others, more cruelly, were nailed head downwards, and kept alive, until they were destroyed by starving, on the cross itself. But it would exceed all power of detail to give an idea of the sufferings and tortures which the martyrs of Thebais endured. These, instead of hooks, had their bodies scraped with potsherds, and were mangled in this way until they died.

“Women, tied by one foot, and then raised on high in the air by certain machines, with their naked bodies wholly uncovered, presented this most foul, cruel, and inhuman spectacle to all beholders; others again perished, bound to trees and branches. For, drawing the stoutest of the branches together by machines for this purpose, and binding the limbs of the martyrs to each of these, they then let loose the boughs to resume their natural position, designing thus to produce a violent action, to tear asunder the limbs of those whom they thus treated.

“But all these things were doing not only for a few days, or for some time, but for a series of whole years. At one time, ten or more; at another, more than twenty; at another time, not less than thirty, and even sixty; and again, at another time, a hundred men, with their wives and little children, were slain in one day, whilst they were condemned to various and varied punishments.

“We ourselves, when on the spot, saw many crowded together in one day, some suffering decapitation, some the torments of flames; so that the murderous weapon was completely blunted, and having lost its edge, broke to pieces; and the executioners themselves, wearied with slaughter, were obliged to relieve one another.

“Then, also, we were witnesses to the most admirable ardour of mind, and the truly divine energy and alacrity of those that believed in the Christ of God. For, as soon as the sentence was pronounced against the first, others rushed forward from other parts to the tribunal before the judge, confessing they were Christians, most indifferent to the dreadful and many kinds of tortures that awaited them, but declaring themselves fully, and in the most undaunted manner, on the religion which acknowledges only one Supreme God. They received, indeed, the final sentence of death with gladness and exultation, so far as even to sing and send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, until they breathed their last.”

The names of these blessed ones, whose bones are strewn over the deserts of Egypt, are unknown to us; but they are written in the Book of Life. At the day of the general Resurrection they will rise and stand, on their feet, a great army.



(ABOUT 303.)


DURING the savage persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, emperors, one Rictiovarus was governor at Soissons, in Gaul, who laboured to put down Christianity. The virgin Macra was treated by him with inhuman barbarity; she was exposed to fire, her breasts were cut off, and she was rolled on potsherds and coals; then, spreading out her hands, she prayed, “O Lord Jesus Christ, who madest me triumph over the chains in my dungeon, and madest the fire to which I was exposed as sweet as dew, I pray Thee, receive my soul, for now is the time come for Thee to set my spirit free!”. So saying, she entered into her rest.

She is regarded as the patroness of Fismes, near Rheims.

In art, she is represented with her breasts on a book which she carries.



(ABOUT 310.)

Patron of hospitals.


S. JULIAN was born at Antinoe, in Egypt, of noble parents. The love of God, and God alone, filled his heart from earliest childhood. At the age of eighteen his parents required him to marry. This troubled him much, for he had read the saying of S. Paul, "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord : but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." 1 Cor. VII. 32-33. He besought his parents to allow him to defer giving them a final answer till he had well considered their proposal during seven days. He now fasted, and watched, and prayed, revealing to God the desire of his heart, to keep his body in virginity, and his soul devoted to God alone. At the end of the seven days he saw Christ in a vision, who said to him, "Fear not, Julian, to take thee a wife, and to fulfil the desire of thy parents. As virgins ye shall serve me, and I shall not be separated from you, and as virgins shall ye enter into my kingdom." Then Julian was filled with great joy, and he considered whom he should choose. Now there was one maiden, Basilissa by name, who was well-known to his parents, and with whom he had been acquainted from childhood, and whom he loved for her whiteness of soul. Therefore he told his father that he consented to marry Basilissa. And she, on her side, was glad to be the wife of Julian, but her timid soul shrank from the cares and responsibilities of marriage, for she was as yet young and fresh to the world.

The marriage took place with all the boisterous merriment and display, usual then as now; and evening approaching, the young bride was led by the maidens, who were her fellows, to the nuptial chamber. Now when Julian entered, there came an odour in the apartment, as of lilies and roses, though the season was mid-winter, and an awe fell on their young hearts. And they put their hands together, and promised to serve God together in purity and fervour, with singleness of heart all their days. Then they were aware of One present in the room, and kneeling down, they fell prostrate, and besought Him to accomplish the good work He had begun in them. And when they looked up, the chamber was full of light, and they saw Jesus and Mary, and an innumerable company of virgin Saints. Then the Lord said, "Thou hast conquered, O Julian, thou hast conquered!" And the Blessed Virgin said, "Blessed art thou, Basilissa, who hast thus sought with single heart the glory that is eternal."

Then said Jesus, "My soldiers, who have overcome the wiles of the old serpent, rise and behold what is prepared for you!" Thereupon came two clothed in white robes, and girded about the loins with golden zones, having crowns of flowers in their hands, and they raised them from the ground and showed them an open book seven times brighter than silver, inscribed with golden letters, and round about it stood four elders, having vials in their hands of pure gold, from which ascended diverse odours. And one, answering, said, "In these four vials your perfection is contained. For out of these daily ascends an odour of sweet fragrance before the Lord. Therefore, blessed are ye, because ye have rejected the unsatisfying pleasures of this world to strive after those which are eternal, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither bath it entered into the heart of man to conceive."

Then Julian looked, and beheld his name, and the name of his wife, Basilissa, written in the book. And the elder said, " In that book are written the chaste and the sober, the truthful and the merciful, the humble and gentle, those whose love is unfeigned, bearing adversities, patient in tribulation, and those who, for the love of Jesus Christ, have given up father and mother, and wife and children, and lands, for his sake, lest they should impede the progress of their souls to perfection, and they who have not hesitated to shed their blood for his name, in the number of whom you also have merited to be written."

Then the vision passed. But Julian and Basilissa spent the night in prayer, and singing joyful praises to the Lord.

And when his parents were dead, Julian divided his house and made it into a hospital, and all his substance he spent in relieving the necessities of the sick and suffering. He ruled over the portion devoted to the men, and Basilissa, his wife, at the head of a number of devout virgins, governed the women's department.

Many men placed themselves under the guidance of S. Julian, and assisted him in his works of charity, and laboured for the advancement of God's glory, and the salvation of their own souls. It is from the circumstance of S. Julian having been the first to establish a hospital for the sick, that he has been called by distinction Julian the Hospitaller.

After many years, Basilissa died in peace; her husband Julian survived her. In the persecution of Diocletian he was seized and subjected to cruel tortures. The governor, Marcian, ordered him to be dragged, laden with chains, and covered with wounds, about the city. As the martyr passed the school where Celsus, the son of the governor, was being instructed, the boys turned out into the street to see the soldier of Christ go by. Then suddenly the lad exclaimed, "I see angels accompanying, and extending a glorious crown to him. I believe, I believe in the God of the Christians!" And throwing away his books, he fell at the feet of Julian, and kissed his wounds. When the father heard this, he was filled with ungovernable fury, and believed that the Saint had bewitched the boy; he ordered them both to be cast into the lowest dungeon, a loathsome place, where the corrupting carcases of malefactors lay, devoured by maggots. But God filled this hideous pit with light, and transformed the stench into fragrant odours, so that the soldiers who kept the prison were filled with wonder, and believed. That same night, a priest, Antony, who lived with seven little boys, orphans committed to his care by their parents, summoned by God, came with these seven children to the prison. An angel went before them, and at his touch the gates flew open. Then Antony, the priest, baptized Celsus and the believing soldiers.

On the morrow the governor, supposing that the night in the pit had cured his son, sent him to his mother, and the boy, having related to her in order all he had seen and heard, she believed with her whole heart, and was baptized by the priest.

The governor, Marcian, ordered all these converts to death. The soldiers were executed with the sword, the seven boys were cast into the fire, the rest were tortured to death.

Relics, at Morigny, near Etampes, and in the church of S. Basilissa, at Paris.

In art, S. Julian and S. Basilissa are represented holding the same lily stalk, or looking on the Book of Life wherein their names are written.



(ABOUT 312.)


SAINT LUCIAN was born at Samosata, in Syria; his parents were Christians, and sought above all things to educate their son in the fear of God. Both died and left him an orphan at the age of twelve, and the boy, in his desolation, distributed his goods to the poor, and took refuge with Macarius at Edessa, who taught out of Holy Scripture the things concerning eternal life.

Arrived at man’s estate, he was ordained priest, and opened a school at Antioch, and diligently laboured at procuring a correct version of the Holy Scriptures, by comparing together the different Hebrew copies. His version of the sacred writings was used by S. Jerome, and proved of much assistance to him in his work of writing the Vulgate.

When Maximian persecuted the Church, S. Lucian concealed himself, but was betrayed by a Sabellian priest into the hands of the persecutors; he was taken to Nicomedia, and brought before Maximian. On his way he was the means of recovering forty Christian soldiers, who had lapsed. In Nicomedia he was subjected to torture. His feet were placed in the stocks, which were distended, so as to dislocate his legs. His hands were fastened to a beam, which was above his head, and he was laid on sharp potsherds, so that his back was lacerated and pierced. After this, he was allowed to lie on his cell floor, unable to rise, on account of his legs being out of joint, and was starved to death.

He lingered fourteen days. And when the feast of the Manifestation drew nigh, he desired greatly to receive the Holy Eucharist. When the fatal day had arrived, which was looked forward to, some of the disciples desired to receive from their master his last celebration of the divine mystery. But it seemed doubtful how they might bring a table into the prison, and how they might conceal it from the eyes of the impious. But when many of the disciples were assembled, and others were arriving, he said: This breast of mine shall be the table, and I reckon it will not be less esteemed of God than one of inanimate material; and ye shall be a holy temple, standing round about me. And thus it was accomplished, for because the saintly man was at the end of his life, the guards were negligent, and so God, as I think, to honour his martyr, removed all impediments to that being done which was proposed. For when all stood in close ring round the martyr, so that one standing by the other shut him completely from view, he ordered the symbols of the divine Sacrifice to be placed on his breast. After that he raised his eyes to heaven, and uttered the accustomed prayers. Then, when he had uttered many sacred prayers, and had done all the requisite acts in the sacred rite, he and the rest communicated, and he sent to those who were absent, as he himself shows in his last Epistle to them.

Next day some officers came from the Emperor to see if he were still alive. And as he saw them standing about him, he said thrice, I am a Christian, and so saying, he died.

The body was then thrown into the sea, to the great grief of his disciples, who desired to bury it. But fifteen days after it was recovered. A legend says that a dolphin brought it ashore; be that as it may, it was found and was buried.

In art, S. Lucian is sometimes represented with a chalice and Host, in allusion to his offering the holy Sacrifice in prison; sometimes with a dolphin at his side.



(A.D. 315.)


WHEN Licinius was in Mysia he sought out the Christians, to punish them with death, being moved thereto by his great hatred to the religion of Christ, which Constantine protected.

Socrates says, in his Ecclesiastical History, that Licinius hated the Christians; and that, although for a while, from dread of Constantine, he avoided open persecution, yet he managed to plot against them covertly, and at length proceeded to acts of undisguised malevolence. The persecution, however, was local, not extending beyond those districts where Licinius himself was, but these and other public outrages could not long remain concealed from Constantine. By this perfidy he drew upon himself the Emperor Constantine’s heaviest displeasure; and the pretended treaty of friendship having been so flagrantly violated, it was not long before they took up arms against each other.

When Licinius was at Sigidunum (Belgrade), on the Danube, a deacon, named Hermylus, was denounced to him as a despiser of the gods of Rome. The Emperor ordered him to be brought before him. The order was obeyed. Then the Emperor said: “Answer me, and tell me openly, dost you confess yourself to be a Christian?”

“Not only do I acknowledge myself to be a Christian, but to be consecrated a deacon to the service of God.”

“Well then, be deacon in the service of the gods,” said Licinius.

“You must be deaf, Emperor! I said that I served God the all-seeing, not these blind stocks.”

Licinius ordered the deacon to be smitten on the cheeks, and said, “Not so glib with your tongue, Hermylus. Honor the Emperor, sacrifice to the gods, and save your life.”

Then Hermylus cried out with a loud voice: “You shall endure torments without end, from the hand of God, because you do adore vain idols, and seekest to destroy those who serve the living God, as though envious of their superiority.”

Then the martyr was taken back to prison. And after three days he was again brought forth, and when Licinius had mounted the tribunal, he said: “Well now, Hermylus, are you prepared to abandon this folly and escape what is in store for you?”

But the deacon answered: “I am ready to endure. There is one God in heaven to whom I live, and to whom I am ready to die. He will succour me.”

“We shall soon see what His succour is worth,” said theEmperor; and ordered him to be beaten. Then six men cast him on the ground and stripped him, and scourged him.

But Hermylus cried, “O Lord my God, who before Pilate suffered the scourge, strengthen me suffering for You, that I may finish my course, and that, being made partaker in Your sufferings, I may be made also to partake in Your glory.”

Then there was heard a voice from heaven, saying: “Verily, verily, Hermylus, in three days shall you receive a glorious reward”

Hearing this, the martyr was filled with boldness, and a great fear fell on all around. Then Licinius hastily remitted the deacon to prison.

Now the jailor's name was Stratonicus, and he was a disciple, but secretly, like Nicodemus, not having great boldness, and he comforted Hermylus in the dungeon as well as he could, for he was also his personal friend. On the morrow, the Emperor ordered the brave soldier of Christ to be led forth again, and beaten on the stomach, as his back was one great wound, and the instrument wherewith he was to be beaten was a willow rod, twisted and knotted into a triangle, and this, say the Acts, was a most excruciating torture, for the angles and knots cut like knives into the flesh. But as he bore this with unflinching constancy, the tyrant commanded that his belly should be torn with little iron hooks. Then Stratonicus, the jailor, unable to bear the sight of his friend's sufferings, covered his face with his hands and burst into tears.

Seeing this, the soldiers who stood by jeered him, and called the attention of the Emperor to the agitation of the jailor. Then Stratonicus, mustering up all his courage, cast himself before Licinius, and cried, "Sire! I am a Christian, I believe in God, the maker of heaven and earth." Then Licinius ordered him to be scourged.

And Stratonicus, looking piteously at his friend, said, "Hermylus, pray for me to Christ, that I may be able to endure!"

And when Licinius saw that Stratonicus was covered with wounds, he bade the executioners desist, and he remitted the jailor and the prisoner to the same dungeon. But on the morrow, finding Stratonicus resolute, he ordered him and Hermylus to be drowned in the Danube. Then they were tied up in nets and cast into the river. Three days after their bodies were washed up, and were buried by the Christians.



(about 320.)


SAINT. GORDIUS was a native of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and was a centurion in the army. When Galerius issued his edicts against the Church in the East (303) Gordius laid aside his office, and retired into the desert, where he lived in fasting and prayer amongst the wild beasts. In the desert he spent many years, but his zeal for Christ gave him no rest. The churches in Caesarea had been destroyed, the clergy scattered, and many Christians had conformed, rather than lose their lives. It was a heathen city once more, and such salt as had remained had lost its savour. The spirit of the Lord stirred in the soul of Gordius, and urged him to return to his native city, and there play the man for Christ, where so many had fallen away from the faith.

"One day that the amphitheatre was crowded to see horse and chariot races in honour of Mars, the god of war, when the benches were thronged, and Jew and Gentile, and many a Christian also," says S. Basil, "was present at the spectacle, and all the slaves were free to see the sight, and the boys had been given holiday from school for the same purpose, suddenly, in the race-course, appeared a man in rags, with long beard and matted locks; his face and arms burned with exposure to the sun, and shrivelled with long fasting; and he cried aloud, "I am found of them who sought me not, and to them who asked not after me, have I manifested myself openly."

Every eye was directed upon this wild-looking man, and when it was discovered who he was, there rose a shout from Gentile and Christian; the latter cried because they rejoiced to see the faithful centurion in the midst of them again; the former, because they hated the truth, and were wrath at the disturbance of the sports.

"Then," continues S. Basil, "the clamour and tumult became more, and filled the whole amphitheatre; horses, chariots, and drivers were forgotten. In vain did the rush of wheels fill the air; none had eyes for anything but Gordius; none had ears to hear anything but the words of Gordius. The roar of the theatre, like a wind rushing through the air, drowned the noise of the racing horses. When the crier had made silence, and all the pipes and trumpets, and other musical instruments were hushed, Gordius was led before the seat of the governor, who was present, and was asked, blandly, who he was and whence he came. Then he related, in order, what was his country, and family, and the rank he had held, and why he had thrown up his office and fled away. I am returned,' said he, 'to show openly that I care naught for your edicts, but that I place my hope and confidence in Jesus Christ alone.' The governor, being exceedingly exasperated at the interruption in the sports, and the open defiance cast in his face by a deserter, before the whole city, ordered him at once to be tortured. "Then," S. Basil proceeds to relate in his graphic style, "the whole crowd poured from the theatre towards the place of judgment, and all those who had remained behind in the city ran to see the sight. The city was deserted. Like a great river, the inhabitants rolled to the place of martyrdom; mothers of families, noble and ignoble, pushed there; houses were left unprotected, shops were deserted by the customers, and in the market-place goods lay here and there neglected. Servants threw up their occupations, and ran off to see the spectacle, and all the rabble was there to see this man. Maidens forgot their bashfulness and shame of appearing before men, and sick people and old men crawled without the walls, that they, too, might share the sight." The relations of Gordius, in vain, urged him to yield and apologise for his defiance of the state religion; signing himself with the cross, he cheerfully underwent the torments of leaded scourges, of the little horse, fire, and knife, and was finally beheaded.



(ABOUT 387.)


THE family of which S. Peter was descended was very ancient and illustrious, as we are informed by S. Gregory Nazianzen. It has become famous for its saints, for three brothers were at the same time eminently holy bishops, S. Basil, S. Gregory of Nyssa, and S. Peter of Sebaste; and their elder sister, S. Macrina, was the spiritual mother of many saints. Their father and mother, S. Basil the elder, and S. Emilia, were banished for their faith in the reign of Galerius Maximian, and fled into the deserts of Pontus.

The grandmother of S. Peter was S. Macrina the elder, who had been instructed in the way of salvation by S. Gregory the Wonder-worker. S. Peter of Sebaste, was the youngest of ten children; he lost his father whilst still an infant, and was therefore brought up by his mother and sister. When the aged Emilia was dying, she drew her two children—the only two who were present—to her, and taking their hands, she looked up to heaven, and having prayed God to protect, govern, and sanctify her absent children, she said, "To Thee, 0 Lord, I dedicate the first-fruits; and the tenth of my womb. This, my first­born, Macrina, I give thee as my first-fruits; and this, my tenth child, Peter, I give thee as my tithe. They are thine by law, and thine they are by my free gift. Hallow, I pray thee, this my first-born daughter, and this my tenth child, and son." And thus blessing them, she expired, says S. Gregory Nyssen.

S. Emilia had founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women; the former she put under the direction of her son Basil, the latter under that of her daughter Macrina. Peter, whose thoughts where wholly bent on cultivating the seeds of piety sown in his heart, retired into the house governed by his brother, situated on the bank of the river Iris; and when S. Basil was obliged to quit that post in 362, he left the abbacy in the hands of S. Peter, who discharged this office for several years with great prudence and virtue.

Soon after S. Basil was made Bishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, in 370, he promoted his brother Peter to the priesthood. His brother, S. Basil, died on Jan. 1st, A.D. 379, and Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste, an Arian and a furious persecutor of S. Basil, died soon after.

S. Peter was consecrated in his room, in 380, to root out the Arian heresy in that diocese, where it had taken deep hold. In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople, and joined in the condemnation of the Macedonian heresy. His death happened in summer, about the year 387, and his brother, S. Gregory of Nyssa, mentions that his memory was honoured at Sebaste by an anniversary solemnity. " Peter," says Nicephorus, "who sprang from the same parents as Basil, was not so well-read in profane literature as his brother, but he was not his inferior in the splendour of his virtue."



(A.D. 394.)


SAINT MACARIUS the younger was born in Alexandria, of poor parents, and followed the trade of confectioner. Desirous of serving God with his whole heart, he forsook the world in the flower of his age, and spent upwards of sixty years in the deserts, in the exercise of fervent penance and prayer. He first retired into the Thebaid, or Upper Egypt, about the year 335; then, aiming at greater disengagement, he descended to Lower Egypt, in or about the year 373. Here there were three deserts almost adjoining each other; that of Scete; that of the Cells, so called because of the multitude of cells wherewith its rocks were honey-combed; and a third, which reached the western bank of the Nile, called the Nitrian desert. S. Macarius had a cell in each of these deserts. When he was in Nitria he gave advice to those who sought him. But his chief residence was in the desert of the Cells. There each hermit lived separate, assembling only on Saturday and Sunday, in the church, to celebrate the divine mysteries, and to partake of the Holy Communion. All the brothers were employed at some handicraft, generally they platted baskets or mats. All in the burning desert was still; in their cells the hermits worked, and prayed, and cooked their scanty victuals, till the red ball of the sun went down behind the sandy plain to the west; then from all that region rose a hum of voices, the rise and fall of song, as the evening psalms and hymns were being chanted by that great multitude of solitaries in dens and caves of the earth.

Palladius has recorded an instance of the great self-denial observed by these hermits. A present was made to S. Macarius of a bunch of grapes, newly gathered. The holy man carried it to a neighbouring solitary who was sick; he sent it to another, and each wishing that some dear brother should enjoy the fruit rather than himself, passed it on to another; and thus the bunch of grapes made the circuit of the cells, and was brought back to Macarius.

The severity of life practised by these hermits was great. For seven years together S. Macarius lived on raw herbs and pulse, and for the three following years contented himself with four or five ounces of bread a day. His watchings were not less surprising. He told Palladius that it had been his great desire to fix his mind on God alone for five days and nights continuously. And when he supposed he was in the proper mood, he closed his cell, and stood up, and said: "Now thou hast angels and archangels, and all the heavenly host in company with thee. Be in heaven, and forget earthly things." And so he continued for two nights and days, wrapped in heavenly contemplations, but then his hut seemed to flame about him, even the mat on which he stood, and his mind was diverted to earth. "But it was as well," said he; "for I might have fallen into pride."

The reputation of the monastery of Tabenna, under S. Pachomius, drew him to it in disguise. S. Pachomius told him he seemed too far advanced in years to begin to practice the austerities undergone by himself and his monks; nevertheless, on his earnest entreaty, he admitted him. Then Lent drew on, and the aged Macarius saw the monks fasting, some two whole days, others five, some standing all night, and sitting at their work during the day. Then he, having soaked some palm leaves, as material for his work, went apart into a corner, and till Easter came, he neither ate nor drank, nor sat down, nor bowed his knee, nor lay down, and sustained life on a few raw cabbage leaves which he ate on Sundays; and when he went forth for any need he returned silently to his work, and occupied his hands in platting, and his heart in prayer. But when the others saw this, they were astonished, and remonstrated with S. Pachomius, saying: "Why hast thou brought this fleshless man here to confound us with his austerities. Send him away, or we will desert this place." Then the abbot went to Macarius, and asked him who he was, and when he told his name, Pachomius was glad, and cried: "Many years have I desired to see thee. I thank thee that thou hast humbled my sons; but now, go thy way, sufficiently hast thou edified us; go, and pray for us."

Macarius, on one occasion, to subdue his flesh, filled two great baskets with sand, and laying them on his shoulders, walked over the hot desert, bowed beneath them. A friend meeting him, offered to ease him of his burden, but "No," said the old hermit, "I have to torment my tormentor;" meaning his body.

One day, a gnat stung him in his cell, and he killed it. Then, ashamed that he had allowed himself to be irritated by the petty insect, and to have lost an opportunity of enduring mortification with equanimity, he went to the marshes of Scete, and stayed there six months, suffering greatly from the stings of the insects. When he returned, he was so disfigured by their bites, that he was only recognized by his voice.

The terrible severity with which these Egyptian hermits punished themselves is perhaps startling, but it was something needed at a time when the civilized world was sunk in luxury, profligacy, and indifference. That was a time which called for a startling and vivid contrast to lead minds into self-inspection. "Private profligacy among all ranks was such as cannot be described in any modern pages. The clergy of the cities, though not of profligate lives, and for the most part unmarried, were able to make no stand against the general corruption of the age, because—at least if we are to trust such writers as Jerome and Chrysostom­ they were giving themselves up to ambition and avarice, intrigue and party spirit. No wonder if, in such a state of things, the minds of men were stirred by a passion akin to despair. It would have ended often, but for Christianity, in such an actual despair as that which had led, in past ages, more than one noble Roman to slay himself, when he lost all hope for the Republic. Christianity taught those who despaired of society, of the world—in one word, of the Roman empire, and all that it had done for men—to hope at last for a Kingdom of God after death. It taught those, who, had they been heathens and brave enough, would have slain themselves to escape out of a world which was no place for honest men, that the body must be kept alive, at least, for the sake of the immortal soul, doomed, according to its works, to endless bliss or endless torment. But that the world—such, at least, as they saw it then—was doomed, Scripture and their own reason taught them. They did not merely believe, but see, in the misery and confusion, the desolation, and degradation around them, that all that was in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, was not of the Father, but of the world; that the world was passing away, and the lust thereof, and that only he who did the will of God could abide for ever. They did not merely believe, but saw, that the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men; and that the world in general was treasuring up to themselves wrath, tribulation, and anguish, against a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who would render to every man according to his works. That they were correct in their judgment of the world about them, contemporary history proves abundantly. That they were correct, likewise, in believing that some fearful judgment was about to fall on man, is proved by the fact that it did fall; that the first half of the fifth century saw, not only the sack of Rome, but the conquest and desolation of the greater part of the civilized world, amid bloodshed, misery, and misrule, which seemed to turn Europe into a chaos, which would have turned it into a chaos, had there not been a few men left who still felt it possible and necessary to believe in God, and to work righteousness. Under these terrible forebodings, men began to flee from a doomed world, and try to be alone with God, if by any means they might save each man his own soul in that dread day."

S. Macarius, of Alexandria, and his namesake, the Egyptian, lived much together. They were both exiled in 375, at the instigation of the Arian patriarch of Alexandria, who dreaded their influence over the people, and zeal for the orthodox faith. They crossed the Nile together in a ferryboat, when they encountered two military tribunes, accompanied by a great array of horses, with decorated bridles, of equipages, soldiers, and pages covered with ornaments. The officers looked long at the two monks in their old dresses, humbly seated in a corner of the bark. They might well look at them, for in that bark two worlds stood face to face; old Rome, degraded by the emperors, and the new Christian republic, of which the monks were the precursors. As they approached the shore, one of the tribunes said to the cenobites: "You are happy, for you despise the world."

"It is true," answered the Alexandrine, "we despise the world, and the world despises you. You have spoken more truly than you intended; we are happy in fact, and happy in name, for we are called Macarius, which means in Greek happy."

The tribune made no answer, but, returning to his house, renounced all his wealth and rank, and went to seek happiness in solitude.

In art, S. Macarius is represented with wallets of sand on his shoulders; sometimes with a hyena and its young, because the story is told that one day a hyena brought her young one and laid it at the feet of the hermit. He looked at the animal, and saw that it was blind, therefore he pitied the poor whelp, and prayed to God; then he touched the eyes of the young hyena, and it saw plain. Next day, the mother brought a sheep-skin and laid it at his feet, and this the hermit wore continually afterwards, till he gave it to S. Melania.



(4th Century)


[From the authentic life of S. Pachomius, of whom S. Palaemon was the master.]


S. Palaemon was an aged hermit in the deserts of Upper Egypt, when Pachomius, released from military service, and desiring to flee the world, came to him and desired to become his pupil. The old anchorite refused to receive him, because his manner of life was too severe for a youth. "I eat nothing but bread and salt," said he; "I never taste wine, and I watch half the night." Then, answered Pachomius, " I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, who will give me strength and patience to assist thee in thy prayers to follow thy holy conversation."

Then Palaemon, beholding him with his spiritual eye, saw that he was a chosen vessel, and admitted him to be his disciple. So they lived together, serving the Lord in fasting and tears and prayer.

When the feast of Easter came, Pachomius, to honour the day of the Resurrection, prepared a dinner of herbs and oil, and set it before the master. But Palaemon, pressing his brow with his hands, exclaimed, "My Lord suffered on the Cross, and shall I taste oil?" So he refused it, and contented himself with bread and salt.

One evening, a solitary came into their cell, and asked to join them in prayer; then, filled with a spirit of presumption, he said, "If we are the true servants of God, let us say our prayers standing on live coals." But Palaemon was wroth, and rebuked him for his pride. However, the monk persisted, and by Satan’s craft, he stood unhurt on the red-hot cinders. Then he retired to his own cell, puffed up with self-confidence. But pride goes before a fall, and shortly after he fell into fleshly lust; then, filled with shame, he crept back to the cave of Palaemon, and falling at his feet, with bitter tears, confessed his sin.

When S. Pachomius was inspired to found a monastery at Tabenna, he announced his intention to S. Palaemon. The old man accompanied his pupil, and took up his abode at Tabenna, for he loved Pachomius as his own son, and he could not bear to be separated from him. Therefore he said, "Let us make a compact together, that we part not, the one from the other, till God break our union." And to this Pachomius gladly agreed.

So they lived much together, till the old man died, and then his disciple buried him at Tabenna.



(a.d. 404.)


When S. John Chrysostom had incurred the anger of the Empress Eudoxia, by declaiming against her silver statue set up close to the church of the Eternal Wisdom at Constantinople, by her machinations he was deposed and exiled from the city, and Arsacius was ordained patriarch of Constantinople in his room. But a large company of bishops and priests, and others of the clerical order, refused to recognize the right of Arsacius, and being driven from the churches, held their divine worship in places apart. For the space of two months after his deposition, Chrysostom remained at his post, though he refrained from appearing in public; after that he was obliged to leave, being banished by the Emperor Arcadius. On the very day of his departure the church caught fire, and a strong easterly wind carried the flames to the senate house. The party opposed to S. John Chrysostom immediately spread the report that this fire was the result of a wilful act of incendiarism by the Johannites, or party of the exiled bishop. Socrates, the historian, strongly prejudiced against Chrysostom, distinctly charged them with the act. He says, "On the very day of his departure, some of John's friends set fire to the church," and then he adds, "The severities inflicted on John's friends, even to the extent of capital punishment, on account of this act of incendiarism, by Optatus, the prefect of Constantinople, who being a pagan was, as such, an enemy to the Christians, I ought, I believe, to pass by in silence."

There can be no doubt that the fire was purely accidental, and that it was used as a means of endeavouring to excite the people of Constantinople against their favourite Chrysostom, that bold champion of the truth against spiritual wickedness in high places, and the Erastianism of a large party of bishops and clergy, just as before Nero had charged the burning of old Rome on the Christians. On this false charge some of the most faithful and zealous adherents of Chrysostom suffered, amongst them were the priest Tigris, and the reader Eutropius. The rest shall be quoted from Sozomen, who, belonging to the party of Chrysostom, gives those details which Socrates found it convenient to omit:

"Both parties mutually accused each other of incendiarism; the enemies of John asserted that his partizans had been guilty of the deed from revenge; the other side, that the crime had been perpetrated by their enemies, with intention of burning them in the church. Those citizens who were suspected of attachment to John, were sought out and cast into prison, and compelled to anathematize him. Arsacius was not long after ordained over the Church of Constantinople. Nothing operated so much against him as the persecution carried on against the followers of John. As these latter refused to hold communion, or even to join in prayer with him, and met together in the further parts of the city, he complained to the Emperor of their conduct. The tribune was commanded to attack them with a body of soldiers, and by means of clubs and stones he soon dispersed their assembly. The most distinguished among them in point of rank, and those who were most zealous in their adherence to John, were cast into prison. The soldiers, as is usual on such occasions, went beyond their orders, and stripped the women of their ornaments. Although the whole city was thus filled with trouble and lamentation, the affection of the people for John remained the same. After the popular insurrection had been quelled, the prefect of the city appeared in public, as if to inquire into the cause of the conflagration, and to bring the perpetrators of the deed to punishment; but, being a pagan, he exulted in the destruction of the Church, and ridiculed the calamity.

"Eutropius, a reader, was required to name the persons who had set fire to the church; but, although he was scourged severely, although his sides and cheeks were torn with iron nails, and although lighted torches were applied to the most sensitive parts of his body, no confession could be extorted from him, notwithstanding his youth and delicacy of constitution, After having been subjected to these tortures, he was cast into a dungeon, where he soon afterwards expired.

"A dream of Sisinius concerning Eutropius seems worthy of insertion in this history. Sisinius, the Bishop of the Novatians, saw in his sleep a man, tall in stature, and handsome in person, standing near the altar in the Novatian Church of S. Stephen. This man complained of the rarity of goodness among men, and said that he had been searching throughout the city, and found but one who was good, and that one was Eutropius. Astonished at what he had seen, Sisinius made known the dream to the most faithful of his priests, and commanded him to make search for Eutropius, wherever he might be. The priest, rightly conjecturing that this Eutropius could be no other than he who had been so barbarously tortured by the prefect, went from prison to prison in quest of him. At length he found him, and made known to him the dream of the Bishop, and besought him with tears to pray for him. Such are the details we possess concerning Eutropius.

"Tigris, a priest, was about the same time stripped of his clothes, scourged on the back, bound hand and foot, and stretched on the rack. He was a foreigner, and an eunuch, but not by birth. He was originally a slave in the house of a man of rank, and on account of his faithful services had obtained his freedom. He was afterwards ordained priest, and was distinguished by his moderation and meekness of disposition, and by his charity towards strangers and the poor.

Such were the events which took place in Constantinople. Those who were in power at court procured a law in favour of Arsacius, by which it was enacted that the orthodox were to assemble together in churches only, and that if they seceded from communion with the abovementioned Bishop, they were to be exiled."



(ABOUT 404.)


THE following account of the martyrdom of S. Telemachus is given by Theodoret, in his Ecclesiastical History, book v., chap. 26:—"Honorius, who had received the empire of Europe, abolished the ancient exhibitions of gladiators in Rome on the following occasion:—A certain man, named Telemachus, who had embraced a monastic life, came from the East to Rome at a time when these cruel spectacles were being exhibited. After gazing upon the combat from the amphitheatre, he descended into the arena, and tried to separate the gladiators. The bloodthirsty spectators, possessed by the devil, who delights in the shedding of blood, were irritated at the interruption of their savage sports, and stoned him who had occasioned the cessation. On being apprised of this circumstance, the admirable Emperor numbered him with the victorious martyrs, and abolished these iniquitous spectacles."

For centuries the wholesale murders of the gladiatorial shows had lasted through the Roman empire. Human beings, in the prime of youth and health, captives or slaves, condemned malefactors, and even free-born men, who hired themselves out to death, had been trained to destroy each other in the amphitheatre for the amusement, not merely of the Roman mob, but of the Roman ladies. Thousands, sometimes in a single day, had been

"Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

The training of gladiators had become a science. By their weapons, and their armour, and their modes of fighting, they had been distinguished into regular classes, of which the antiquaries count up full eighteen: Andabatae, who wore helmets, without any opening for the eyes, so that they were obliged to fight blindfold, and thus excited the mirth of the spectators; Hoplomachi, who fought in a complete suit of armour; Mirmillones, who had the image of a fish upon their helmets, and fought in armour, with a short sword, matched usually against the Retiarii, who fought without armour, and whose weapons were a casting-net and a trident. These, and other species of fighters, were drilled and fed in "families" by lanistae, or regular trainers, who let them out to persons wishing to exhibit a show. Women, even high-born ladies, had been seized in former times with the madness of fighting, and, as shameless as cruel, had gone down into the arena, to delight with their own wounds and their own gore, the eyes of the Roman people.

And these things were done, and done too often under the auspices of the gods, and at their most sacred festivals. So deliberate and organized a system of wholesale butchery has never perhaps existed on this earth before or since, not even in the worship of those Mexican gods, whose idols Cortez and his soldiers found fed with human hearts, and the walls of their temples crusted with human gore. Gradually the spirit of the Gospel had been triumphing over this abomination. Ever since the time of Tertullian, in the second century, Christian preachers and writers had lifted up their voice in the name of humanity. Towards the end of the third century, the Emperors themselves had so far yielded to the voice of reason, as to forbid, by edicts, the gladiatorial fights. But the public opinion of the mob, in most of the great cities, had been too strong both for Saints and for Emperors. S. Augustine himself tells us of the horrible joy which he, in his youth, had seen come over the vast ring of flushed faces at these horrid sights. The weak Emperor Honorius bethought himself of celebrating once more the heathen festival of the Secular Games, and formally to allow therein an exhibition of gladiators. But, in the midst of that show, sprang down into the arena of the Colosseum of Rome, this monk Telemachus, some said from Nitria, some from Phrygia, and with his own hands parted the combatants, in the name of Christ and God. The mob, baulked for a moment of their pleasure, sprang on him, and stoned him to death. But the crime was followed by a sudden revulsion of feeling. By an edict of the Emperor, the gladiatorial sports were forbidden for ever; and the Colosseum, thenceforth useless, crumbled slowly away into that vast ruin which remains unto this day, purified, as men well said, from the blood of tens of thousands, by the blood of this true and noble martyr.





At a time when luxury was carried to extremities, and the body was pampered, and the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, were the objects for which men and women lived, here and there the spirit of man throbbed with higher aspirations, and yearned to break away from the gilded round of wealthy frivolity, to live a truer life and breathe a purer air. Society was rotten to its core; decency was not observed in conversation; modesty was forgotten in dress, and all that could gratify the flesh, and excite passion, was studied as an art. In the midst of this hot, sickly atmosphere of evil, pure souls, like that of Syncletica, stifled. The modest mind of a young girl shrank into itself, like a delicate flower that closes at the rude touch, and died to the world. If she were a heathen, she bent her head, and sickened and faded. If she were a Christian, she found in the shadow of the Church, a fresh spot where she might bloom, fanned by the breezes of Paradise.

Syncletica was born at Alexandria, of wealthy parents, of Macedonian extraction, who had settled there. Being very beautiful and well-dowered, she was sought in marriage by many suitors; but declined all offers, for her girlish heart had awakened to a love truer and deeper than any human affection; the best of her love she gave to God, and she desired to be His, and His alone. On the death of her parents she devoted her attention to her blind sister; and together, they served God in prayer and almsgiving. In token of renunciation of the world, and to deliver herself from troublesome pursuit by fortune-hunters, she cut off her hair, and disposed of her estates, but she sought to avoid notice in all that she did, and to conceal her good deeds and self-sacrifices. Nevertheless, she became known, and young maidens and women resorted to her for advice, and to study her example. She was reluctant to be forced thus into a position which she dreaded; nevertheless, unable to refuse the girls and young women that assistance they so much needed, she gave them much instruction, which has been preserved to us in the record we have of her life, and her word, abound in practical common sense. "Listen to me," she said to the maidens; "we all know how we can be saved, but we fail through our own carelessness. The first thing to be done, is to keep the commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself; for in this consists all perfection. These are few words, but there is plenty of matter in them. Then beware of retrogression. The corn in the Gospel brought forth; some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. Beware lest, beginning at sixty, we fall back to thirty. Let those who are virgins take care of their eyes, and their tongue, and their ears, and keep them in modesty, not looking about them boldly, nor talking flippantly, nor listening to certain things that may be said. Obedience is better than asceticism, for asceticism may puff up, but obedience brings one down. There is an asceticism which is of the devil. How are we to distinguish right asceticism from that which is wrong? By its moderation. Have you begun fasting? Don't make pretexts to wriggle out of it on the score of health, for the lady who does not fast is just as much subject to maladies as she who does."

S. Syncletica died at the age of eighty, of cancer on the mouth, and consumption in the lungs, from which she suffered with great patience for three years. The cancer made horrible ravages in her face, and became so distressingly offensive, that to ward off infection from those who nursed her, she allowed it to be treated with the mixture which is used for embalming corpses.





[Her life, written by one who lived at the same time, is given by Metaphrastes. This life represents her as daughter of Anthemius, the Emperor. Metaphrastes concludes, but wrongly, that she was daughter of Anthemius, who was appointed Emperor of the West by Leo I. But it appears more probable that she was the daughter of Anthemius, consular prefect of the city, who acted as regent after the death of Arcadius, during the minority of Theodosius the younger. This Anthemius was grandfather of the Emperor Anthemius. It is quite possible that the regent may have received imperial honours.]


SAINT APOLLINARIS, called from her high rank Syncletica, was the daughter of Anthemius. She had a sister of a different spirit from herself. The parents of Apollinaris desired to unite her in marriage, at an early age, to some wealthy noble, but she manifested such a fixed resolution to remain single, that they yielded to her wish. In her heart she desired to retire completely from the world; having heard of the wondrous lives of the recluses in Egypt, she longed greatly to see and imitate them. Her parents having consented to her making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, she visited the holy places, and in Jerusalem she liberated all the slaves who had been sent to bear her company, and dismissed them with liberal gifts, retaining in her service only an eunuch and an old man to prepare her tent. In Jerusalem, she bribed an aged woman to procure for her, secretly, the habit of a recluse, and this she kept by her for a proper moment. On her way back she visited the tomb of S. Meria, on the Egyptian coast; and after prayer retired to her sleeping tent, when she assumed the monastic habit, and cast aside her worldly dress, with all its ornaments. Then, in the night, when the two men were asleep without, she stole from her tent, and fled into the desert, and took refuge in a morass. Next morning the servants were filled with consternation, and sought her everywhere in vain. Then they appeared before the governor of the city Lemna (?) where they were; and he assisted in the search, but all was in vain; so the governor sent a letter to the parents of Apollinaris, with her clothes and baggage, narrating the circumstances. Anthemius and his wife wept when they heard of the loss of then daughter, but consoled themselves with the belief that she had entered some community of religious women.

However, S. Apollinaris made her way into the desert of Scete, where lived S. Macarius of Alexandria, at the head of a large monastery of recluses in cells and caves. Apollinaris, having cut off her hair, and being much tanned by exposure to the sun, and wasted with hunger in the marsh, where she had lived on a few dates, passed as a man, and was supposed, from being beardless, to be an eunuch. She spent many years there under the name of Dorotheus. Now it fell out that her sister, being grievously tormented with a devil, Anthemius bethought himself on sending her to Macarius to be healed, for the fame of his miracles had spread far and wide. But when the young girl was brought to Macarius, the aged abbot, moved by some interior impulse, conducted her to Dorotheus, and bade him heal the possessed by prayer. Then S. Apollinaris earnestly, and with many tears, besought Macarius not to tempt her thus, for God had not given to her the gift of performing miracles. Nevertheless he persisted; then the possessed woman was shut into the cell of Dorotheus for several days, that he might, by prayer and fasting, cast the demon forth. And when, after a while, the virgin seemed to be healed, she was restored to the attendants, who conducted her to her parents with great joy.

Some months after, the maiden suffered from an attack of dropsy, and the parents, in shame and grief, supposing her to be pregnant, questioned her closely thereabout. But she could not account for her size, and when they pressed her more vehemently, moved by the evil spirit, she declared that Dorotheus, the hermit, had seduced her. On hearing this, Anthemius sent to Scete, that Dorotheus should be brought before him. The holy congregation was filled with horror and dismay on hearing the charge, and they went with one accord and cried to God to put away from them so grievous a reproach. Then said Dorotheus, "Be of good courage, my brethren, the Lord will reveal my innocence." And when she was brought before Anthemius, she said, "I am your daughter, Apollinaris." Then they fell on her neck and wept, and she prayed to God, and kissed her sister, and the Lord heard her cry, and healed the damsel of her disease. And after having tarried with them a few days, she returned to the desert once more.



(ABOUT 476. )


S. MARCIAN was born at Constantinople; he belonged to a noble Roman family, related to that of the Emperor Theodosius. From his childhood he served God in watching, fasting, and prayer. His great compassion for the necessities of the poor made it impossible for him to refuse relief, when he had anything to give away.

In the reign of the Emperor Marcian, Anatolius, the Archbishop, ordained him priest. His love for the poor manifested itself, not merely in abundant almsgiving, but also in his making their instruction in the truth his favourite pursuit. The severity of his morals was made a handle by those who feared the example of his virtue, as a tacit rebuke of their sloth and avarice, to fasten on him a suspicion of Novatianism; but his meekness and silence triumphed over this, and other slanders.

The patriarch Gennadius conferred on him the dignity of treasurer of the church of Constantinople. S. Marcian built, or repaired, in a stately manner a great number of churches. The following incident is related of the dedication of the church of S. Anastasia, for which he had obtained a site, and which he had built in spite of numerous impediments. On the day that the church was to be consecrated, he was on his way to attend the ceremony, when he was accosted in the street by a very poor man, whose rags scarce held together, and who implored him, for the love of God, to give him an alms. S. Marcian felt in his bosom, but found he had no money there. The pauper would take no refusal, and the compassionate heart of the treasurer was melted at the aspect of his tatters and emaciation. Quickly he slipped off the tunic he wore under his sacerdotal vestments, handed it to the beggar, and then hurried on to the new church, drawing his alb and chasuble about him, to conceal the deficiency of a nether garment. The church was crowded, the Emperor Leo and the Empress, the senate, and almost the whole city were present. Marcian was bidden celebrate the Holy Sacrifice before all, in the new church he had built. So, full of shame, he began, hoping that the folds of his chasuble would conceal the absence of a tunic. But all saw him as though clothed beneath his sacerdotal vestments with a garment as of pure gold, which flashed as he moved. The patriarch Gennadius was offended, and rebuked him when the liturgy was over, for having worn a private garment, more splendid than his ecclesiastical vesture, and worthy only of an emperor. Marcian fell at his feet, and denied that he had worn any such raiment. Then Gennadius, wroth at his having spoken falsely, as he thought, for he supposed his eyes could not have been deceived, caught him by the vesture, and drew it aside, and behold! Marcian was bare of all other garments save his sacerdotal apparel.

S. Marcian built also the church of S. Irene, another of S. Isidore, and a baptistery of magnificent appearance, surrounded with five porches, like that at Jerusalem. "But this one," says the chronicler, "was greater than that by the sheep market, for here greater miracles were wrought than there. To that, an angel descended on one day in the year, and healed but one at a rime; at this, whenever a servant of the Lord ministers, Christ himself is present. The healing, moreover, is not but once a year, but daily, and not of bodies only, but of souls as well."

S. Marcian's great compassion extended to women of bad character, and despising the slander and gossip which he might occasion, by visiting them in their houses, setting only before his eyes the blessedness of plucking these brands from the burning, he often sought them out in haunts of crime; and if they had taken up evil courses through poverty only, he found for them honest occupations, and by his exhortations and tears, and his overflowing charity, he convinced and persuaded many of these unhappy women, so that they came openly and did penance, and some he sent pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and some went into solitude, and recompensed for the past by self-mortification in the desert.



(A.D 482.)

Patron of Austria, Vienna, Bavaria.


IN the middle of the fifth century the province of Noricum (Austria, as we should now call it), was the very highway of invading barbarians, the centre of the human Maelstrom, in which Huns, Allemanni, Rugii, and a dozen wild tribes more, wrestled up and down, and round the starving and beleaguered towns of what had once been a happy and fertile province, each tribe striving to trample the other under foot, and to march southward, over their corpses, to plunder what was still left of the already plundered wealth of Italy and Rome. The difference of race, of tongue, and of manners, between the conquered and their conquerors, was made more painful by difference in creed. The conquering Germans and Huns were either Arians or heathens. The conquered race (though probably of very mixed blood), who called themselves Romans, because they spoke Latin, and lived under the Roman law, were orthodox Catholics; and the miseries of religious persecution were too often added to the usual miseries of invasion.

It was about the year 455-60. Attila, the great King of the Huns, who called himself—and who was—"the Scourge of God," was just dead. His empire had broken up. The whole centre of Europe was in a state of anarchy and war ; and the hapless Romans along the Danube were in the last extremity of terror, not knowing by what fresh invader their crops would be swept off up to the very gates of the walled towers, which were their only defence; when there appeared among them, coming out of the East, a man of God.

Who he was he would not tell. His speech showed him to be an African Roman—a fellow-countryman of S. Augustine—probably from the neighbourhood of Carthage. He had certainly at one time gone to some desert in the East, zealous to learn "the more perfect life." Severinus, he said, was his name; a name which indicated high rank, as did the manners and the scholarship of him who bore it. But more than his name he would not tell. "If you take me for a runaway slave," he said, smiling, "get ready money to redeem me with when my master demands me back." For he believed that they would have need of him; that God had sent him into that land that he might be of use to its wretched people. And certainly he could have come into the neighbourhood of Vienna, at that moment, for no other purpose than to do good, unless he came to deal in slaves.

He settled first at a town, called by his biographer Casturis; and, lodging with the warden of the church, lived quietly the hermit life. Meanwhile the German tribes were prowling round the town; and Severinus, going one day into the church, began to warn the priests and clergy, and all the people, that a destruction was coming on them which they could only avert by prayer, and fasting, and the works of mercy. They laughed him to scorn, confiding in their lofty Roman walls, which the invaders—wild horsemen, who had no military engines—were unable either to scale or batter down. Severinus left the town at once, prophesying, it was said, the very day and hour of its fall. He went on to the next town, which was then closely garrisoned by a barbarian force, and repeated his warning there: but while the people were listening to him, there came an old man to the gate, and told them how Casturis had been already sacked, as the man of God had foretold; and going into the church, threw himself at the feet of S. Severinus, and said that he had been saved by his merits from being destroyed with his fellow-townsmen.

Then the dwellers in the town hearkened to the man of God, and gave themselves up to fasting, and almsgiving, and prayer for three whole days.

And on the third day, when the solemnity of the evening sacrifice was fulfilled, a sudden earthquake happened, and the barbarians, seized with panic fear, and probably hating and dreading—like all those wild tribes—confinement between four stone walls, instead of the free open life of the tent and the stockade, forced the Romans to open their gates to them, rushed out into the night, and, in their madness, slew each other.

In those days a famine fell upon the people of Vienna; and they, as their sole remedy, thought good to send for the man of God from the neighbouring town. He went, and preached to them, too, repentance and almsgiving. The rich, it seems, had hidden up their stores of corn, and left the poor to starve. At least S. Severinus discovered (by divine revelation, it was supposed), that a widow named Procula had done as much. He called her out into the midst of the people, and asked her why she, a noble woman and free-born, had made herself a slave to avarice, which is idolatry. If she would not give her corn to Christ's poor, let her throw it into the Danube to feed the fish, for any gain from it she would not have. Procula was abashed, and served out her hoards thereupon willingly to the poor; and a little while afterwards, to the astonishment of all, vessels came down the Danube laden with every kind of merchandize. They had been frozen up for many days near Passau, in the thick ice of the river Enns: but the prayers of God's servant had opened the ice-gates, and let them down the stream before the usual time.

Then the wild German horsemen swept around the walls, and carried off human beings and cattle, as many as they could find. Severinus, like some old Hebrew prophet, did not shrink from advising hard blows, where hard blows could avail. Mamertinus, the tribune, or officer in command, told him that he had so few soldiers, and those so ill-armed, that he dare not face the enemy. Severinus answered that they should get weapons from the barbarians themselves; the Lord would fight for them, and they should hold their peace: only if they took any captives they should bring them safe to him. At the second milestone from the city they came upon the plunderers, who fled at once, leaving their arms behind. Thus was the prophecy of the man of God fulfilled. The Romans brought the captives back to him unharmed. He loosed their bonds, gave them food and drink, and let them go. But they were to tell their comrades that, if ever they came near that spot again, celestial vengeance would fall on them, for the God of the Christians fought from heaven in his servants cause.

So the barbarians trembled, and went away. And the fear of S. Severinus fell on all the Goths, heretic Arians though they were; and on the Rugii, who held the north bank of the Danube in those evil days. S. Severinus, meanwhile, went out of Vienna, and built himself a cell at a place called "At the Vineyards." But some benevolent impulse—divine revelation his biographer calls it—prompted him to return, and build himself a cell on a hill close to Vienna, round which other cells soon grew up, tenanted by his disciples. "There," says his biographer, " he longed to escape the crowds of men who were wont to come to him, and cling closer to God in continual prayer: but the more he longed to dwell in solitude, the more often he was warned by revelations not to deny his presence to the afflicted people." He fasted continually; he went barefoot even in the midst of winter, which was so severe, the story continues, in those days around Vienna, that waggons crossed the Danube on the solid ice: and yet, instead of being puffed-up by his own virtues, he set an example of humility to all, and bade them with tears to pray for him, that the Saviour's gifts to him might not heap condemnation on his head.

Over the wild Rugii S. Severinus seems to have acquired unbounded influence. Their king, Flaccitheus, used to pour out his sorrows to him, and tell him how the princes of the Goths would surely slay him; for when he had asked leave of him to pass on into Italy, he would not let him go. But S. Severinus prophesied to him that the Goths would do him no harm. Only one warning he must take: "Let it not grieve him to ask peace even for the least of men."

The friendship which had thus begun between the barbarian king and the cultivated Saint was carried on by his son Feva: but his "deadly and noxious wife," Gisa, who appears to have been a fierce Arian, always, says his biographer, kept him back from clemency. One story of Gisa's misdeeds is so characteristic both of the manners of the time and of the style in which the original biography is written, that I shall take leave to insert it at length.

"The King Feletheus (who is also Feva), the son of the afore-mentioned Flaccitheus, following his father's devotion, began, at the commencement of his reign, often to visit the holy man. His deadly and noxious wife, named Gisa, always kept him back from the remedies of clemency. For she, among the other plague-spots of her iniquity, even tried to have certain Catholics re-baptized: but when her husband did not consent, on account of his reverence for S. Severinus, she gave up immediately her sacrilegious intention, burdening the Romans, nevertheless, with hard conditions, and commanding some of them to be exiled to the Danube.

For when one day, she, having come to the village next to Vienna, had ordered some of them to be sent over the Danube, and condemned to the most menial offices of slavery, the man of God sent to her, and begged that they might be let go. But she, blazing up in a flame of fury, ordered the harshest of answers to be returned. 'I pray thee,' she said, 'servant of God, hiding there within thy cell, allow us to settle what we choose about our own slaves.' But the man of God hearing this, "trust", he said, "in my Lord Jesus Christ, that she will be forced by necessity to fulfil that which in her wicked will she has despised". And forthwith a swift rebuke followed, and brought low the soul of the arrogant woman. For she had confined in close custody certain barbarian goldsmiths, that they might make regal ornaments. To them the son of the afore­said king, Frederick by name, still a little boy, had gone in, in childish levity, on the very day on which the queen had despised the servant of God. The goldsmiths put a sword to the child's breast, saying, that if any one attempted to enter, without giving them an oath that they should be protected, he should die; and that they would slay the king's child first, and themselves afterwards, seeing that they had no hope of life left, being worn out with long prison. When she heard that, the cruel and impious queen, rending her garments for grief, cried out, "0 servant of God, Severinus, are the injuries which I did thee thus avenged? Hast thou obtained, by the earnest prayer thou hast poured out, this punishment for my contempt, that thou shouldst avenge it on my own flesh and blood?" Then, running up and down with manifold contrition and miserable lamentation, she confessed that for the act of contempt which she had committed against the servant of God she was struck by the vengeance of the present blow; and forthwith she sent knights to ask for forgiveness, and sent across the river the Romans, his prayers for whom she had despised. The gold­smiths, having received immediately a promise of safety, and giving up the child, were in like manner let go.

"The most reverend Severinus, when he heard this, gave boundless thanks to the Creator, who sometimes puts off the prayers of suppliants for this end, that as faith, hope, and charity grow, while lesser things are sought, He may concede greater things. Lastly, this did the mercy of the Omnipotent Saviour work, that while it brought to slavery a woman free, but cruel over much, she was forced to restore to liberty those who were enslaved. This having been marvellously gained, the queen hastened with her husband to the servant of God, and showed him her son, who, she confessed, had been freed from the verge of death by his prayers, and promised that she would never go against his commands."

To this period of Severinus' life belongs the famous story of his interview with Odoacer, the first barbarian king of Italy, and brother of the great Onulf or Wolf, who was the founder of the family of the Guelphs, Counts of Altorf, and the direct ancestors of Victoria, Queen of England. Their father was Edecon, secretary at one time of Attila, and chief of the little tribe of Turklings, who, though German, had clung faithfully to Attila's sons, and came to ruin at the great battle of Netad, when the empire of the Huns broke up at once and for ever. Then Odoacer and his brother started over the Alps to seek their fortunes in Italy, and take service, after the fashion of young German adventurers, with the Romans; and they came to S. Severinus' cell, and went in, heathens as they probably were, to ask a blessing of the holy man; and Odoacer had to stoop and to stand stooping, so huge he was. The Saint saw that he was no common lad, and said, "Go to Italy, clothed though thou be in ragged sheepskins : thou shalt soon give greater gifts to thy friends." So Odoacer went up into Italy, deposed the last of the Caesars, a paltry boy, Romulus Augustulus by name, and found himself, to his own astonishment, and that of all the world, the first German king of Italy; and, when he was at the height of his power, he remembered the prophecy of Severinus, and sent to him, offering him any boon he chose to ask. But all that the Saint asked was, that he should forgive some Romans whom he had banished. S. Severinus meanwhile foresaw that Odoacer’s kingdom would not last, as he seems to have foreseen many things. For when certain German knights were boasting before him of the power and glory of Odoacer, he said that it would last some thirteen, or at most fourteen years; and the prophecy (so all men said in those days) came exactly true.

There is no need to follow the details of S. Severinus's labours through some five-and-twenty years of perpetual self-sacrifice—and, as far as this world was concerned, per­petual disaster. Eugippius's chapters are little save a catalogue of towns sacked one after the other, from Passau to Vienna, till the miserable survivors of the war seemed to have concentrated themselves under S. Severinus’s guardianship in the latter city. We find, too, tales of famine, of locust-swarms, of little victories over the barbarians, which do not arrest wholesale defeat: but we find, through all, S. Severinus labouring like a true man of God, conciliating the invading chiefs, redeeming captives, procuring for the cities which were still standing supplies of clothes for the fugitives, persuading the husbandmen, seemingly through large districts, to give even in time of dearth a tithe of their produce to the poor —a tale of noble work indeed.

Lugippius relates many wonders in his life of S. Severinus. The reader finds how the man who had secretly celebrated a heathen sacrifice was discovered by S. Severinus, while the tapers of the rest of the congregation were lighted miraculously from heaven, his taper alone would not light. He records how the Danube dared not rise above the mark of the cross which S. Severinus had cut upon the posts of a timber chapel; how a poor man, going out to drive the locusts off his little patch of corn instead of staying in the church all day to pray, found the next morning that his crop alone had been eaten, while all the fields around remained untouched. Also he records the well-known story, which has a certain awfulness about it, how S. Severinus watched all night by the bier of the dead priest Silvinus, and ere the morning dawned bade him, in the name of God, speak to his brethren; and how the dead man opened his eyes, and Severinus asked him whether he wished to return to life, and he answered complainingly, “Keep me no longer here; nor cheat me of that perpetual rest which I had already found,” and so, closing his eyes once more, was still for ever.

At last the noble life wore itself out. For two years Severinus had foretold that his end was near; and foretold, too, that the people for whom he had spent himself should go forth in safety, as Israel out of Egypt, and find a refuge in some other Roman province, leaving behind them so utter a solitude, that the barbarians, in their search for the hidden treasures of the civilization which they had extermi­nated, should dig up the very graves of the dead. Only, when the Lord willed to deliver them, they must carry away his bones with them, as the children of Israel carried the bones of Joseph.

Then Severinus sent for Feva, the Rugian king and Gisa, his cruel wife; and when he had warned them how they must render an account to God for the people committed to their charge, he stretched his hand out to the bosom of the king. “Gisa,” he asked, “dost thou love most the soul within that breast, or gold and silver?” She answered that she loved her husband above all. “Cease then,” he said, “to oppress the innocent: lest their affliction be the ruin of your power.”

Severinus' presage was strangely fulfilled. Feva had handed over the city of Vienna to his brother Frederick­ “poor and impious,” says Eugippius. Severinus, who knew him well, sent for him, and warned him that he himself was going to the Lord; and that if, after his death, Frederick dared touch aught of the substance of the poor and the captive, the wrath of God would fall on him. In vain the barbarian pretended indignant innocence; Severinus sent him away with fresh warnings.

“Then on the nones of January he was smitten slightly with a pain in the side. And when that had continued for three days, at midnight he bade the brethren come to him.” He renewed his talk about the coming emigration, and entreated again that his bones might not be left behind; and having bidden all in turn come near and kiss him, and having received the most Holy Sacrament, he forbade them to weep for him, and commanded them to sing a psalm. They hesitated, weeping. He himself gave out the psalm, “Praise the Lord in His saints, and let all that hath breath praise the Lord”; and so went to rest in the Lord.

No sooner was he dead than Frederick seized on the garments kept in the monastery for the use of the poor, and even commanded his men to carry off the vessels of the altar. Then followed a scene characteristic of the time. The steward sent to do the deed shrank from the crime of sacrilege. A knight, Anicianus by name, went in his stead, and took the vessels of the altar. But his conscience was too strong for him. Trembling and delirium fell on him, and he fled away to a lonely island, and became a hermit there. Frederick, impenitent, swept away all in the monastery, leaving nought but the bare walls, “which he could not carry over the Danube.” But on him, too, vengeance fell. Within a month he was slain by his own nephew. Then Odoacer attacked the Rugii, and carried off Feva and Gisa captive to Rome. And then the long-promised emigration came. Odoacer, whether from mere policy (for he was trying to establish a half-Roman kingdom in Italy,) or for love of S. Severinus himself, sent his brother Onulf to fetch away into Italy the miserable remnant of the Danubian provincials, to be distributed among the wasted and unpeopled farms of Italy. And with them went forth the corpse of S. Severinus, undecayed, though he had been six years dead, and giving forth exceeding fragance, though (says Eugippius) no embalmer’s hand had touched it. In a coffin, which had been long prepared for it, it was laid on a waggon, and went over the Alps into Italy, working (according to Eugippius) the usual miracles on the way, till it found a resting-place near Naples, in that very villa of Lucullus at Misenum, to which Odoacer had sent the last Emperor of Rome to dream his ignoble life away in helpless luxury.

So ends this tragic story. Of its truth there can be no doubt. M. Ozanam has well said of that death-bed scene between the saint and the barbarian king and queen—"The history of invasions has many a pathetic scene: but I know none more instructive than the dying agony of that old Roman expiring between two barbarians, and less touched with the ruin of the empire, than with the peril of their souls.” But even more instructive, and more tragic also, is the strange coincidence that the wonder-working corpse of the starved and bare-footed hermit should rest beside the last Emperor of Rome. It is the symbol of a new era. The kings of this world have been judged and cast out. The empire of the flesh is to perish, and the empire of the spirit to conquer thenceforth for evermore.



( 512.)


[Her life was written by an anonymous learned man, in the reign of Childebert, about eighteen years after her death. Three ancient lives exist, but whether one of these is that then composed, it is impossible to say.]

THE blessed Genoveva was born at Nanterre, near Mont Valerien, on the outskirts of Paris. Her father’s name was Severus; that of her mother was Gerontia. When S. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, was on his way to Britain, to oppose the heresy of Pelagius, with his companion, S. Lupus, they passed through Nanterre. The people went out to meet him, and receive the benedictions; men, and women, and children in companies. Amongst the children, S. Germanus observed Genoveva, and bade her be brought before him. The venerable bishop kissed the child, and asked her name. The surrounding people told him, and the parents coming up, S. Germanus said to them, “Is this little girl your child?” They answered in the affirmative. “Then,” said the bishop, “happy are ye in having so blessed a child. She will be great before God; and, moved by her example, many will decline from evil and incline to that which is good, and will obtain remission of their sins, and the reward of life from Christ the Lord.”

And then, after a pause, he said to Genoveva: “My daughter, Genoveva !”

She answered: “Thy little maiden listens.”

Then he said: “Do not fear to tell me whether it be not thy desire to dedicate thy body, clean and untouched, to Christ, as His bride?”

She said: “Blessed be thou, father, for thou hast spoken my desire. I pray God earnestly that He will grant it me.”

“Have confidence, my daughter” said S. Germain; “be of good courage, and what thou believest in thy heart, and confessest with thy lips, perform in work. God will add to thy comeliness virtue and fortitude.”

Then they went to the church, and sang Nones and Vespers, and throughout the office the bishop held his hand on the little maiden's head. And that evening, after supper had been eaten, and they had sung a hymn, S. Germain bade Severus retire with his daughter, but bring her to him very early in the morning again. So when the day broke, Severus came back bringing the child, and the old bishop smiled, and said: “Hail, my daughter Genoveva. Dost thou recall the promise thou didst make yesterday, about keeping thy body in integrity?”

She answered: “I remember what I promised to thee, my father, and to God, that with His help I would preserve the chastity of my mind, and the integrity of my body, unto the end.”

Then S. Germain picked up from the ground a little brass coin with the sign of the cross on it, which he had observed lying there whilst he was speaking, and gave it her, saying: “Bore a hole in this, and wear it round thy neck in remembrance of me, and let not any other metal ornament, gold or silver, or pearls, adorn thy neck or fingers.” Then he bade her farewell, commending her to the care of her father, and pursued his journey.

It has been supposed by some that the command of S. Germain not to wear gold indicates that she was of wealthy parents, and they are disposed to doubt the common tradition of the place, and the ancient Breviary, which says that she kept sheep for her father on the slopes of Valerien at Nanterre. But there need be no difficulty upon this point, for the sons and daughters of men of some position, at that period, were thus employed, and there was not supposed to be anything demeaning in the office. Thus, S. Cuthbert, though of noble race, kept sheep on the Northumbrian moors.

At the age of fifteen she was presented to the Bishop of Paris, to be consecrated to the religious life. With her were two other virgins, and though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop, moved by some interior inspiration, placed her first, saying that heaven had already sanctified her.

On the death of her parents, she moved to Paris, where she was remarked for her sanctity and miraculous powers. When S. Germain was on his way to Britain again, he passed through Paris, and asked after Genoveva, when certain envious persons tried to poison his mind against her; but he, despising their slanders, greeted her with great kindness openly, so as to testify before all the people how highly he honoured her, as he had done before at Nanterre.

The influence exerted by this holy woman must have been very great, for she persuaded the Parisians to remain in the city, instead of flying into the country, when the hosts of Attila, King of the Huns, threatened it. Then Genoveva assembled the pious matrons, and with them fasted, and prayed, asking God incessantly, with many tears, to avert the scourge of the Huns from the city.

A tumult, however, arose; many people saying that she was a false prophet, and that she would bring ruin on the citizens by dissuading them from escaping with their goods to places of greater security. The mob, headlong and cruel —as a Parisian mob has ever been—came upon her to stone her, or drown her in the Seine, and they would have carried their ferocious purpose into execution, had not her ancient friend and father in God, S. Germain, stood by her in her extremity. He was then dying at Auxerre, and his thoughts turned to the little girl he had consecrated to God in bygone years, in the humble church of Nanterre. Then, he bade the archdeacon take to her the Eulogoe, or blessed bread, in token of love and regard.

The archdeacon arrived when the feeble woman was in greatest peril. He had heard the prophecy of S. Germain of old; and, running among the people, he exhibited the Eulogies sent by the holy bishop, and told them how highly he had venerated her virtues; so he appeased the multitude and dispersed them.

The saying of the Apostle was fulfilled: “All men have not faith; but the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil”; for by the prayers of S. Genoveva the city was preserved, and the army of Alaric came not near it.

S. Genoveva lived on a little barley bread, and a few beans stewed in oil; but after she was aged fifty, at the command of the bishop, she ate also fish, and drank milk. Feeling a great reverence for S. Denis, she desired greatly to build a church in his honour, and she, one day, urged some priests to undertake the work. But they hesitated, saying that they were not able to do so; one reason being that there was no means of burning lime. Then S. Genoveva said: “Go, and cross the city bridge, and tell me what you hear.” The priests left her, and as they passed over the bridge, they heard two swineherds in conversation. One said to the other: “Whilst I was following one of my pigs the other day, it led me into the forest to a large limekiln.”

“That is no marvel,” answered the other, “for I found a sapling in the forest uprooted by the wind, and under its roots was an old kiln.” On hearing this, the priests returned and told Genoveva what the swineherds had said, and she rejoiced, and set the Priest Genes over the work; and all the citizens, at the instigation of S. Genoveva, assisted; and she encouraged the workmen, till the church of S. Denis was built and roofed in. This incident is not a little curious, as it exhibits the fall and prostration of the arts at this period, when, apparently, the science of building was forgotten, and old Roman limekilns had to be used, because the Gauls, owing to the incursions of barbarians and civil war, had lost the art of building them.

Childeric, though a heathen, had a great respect for Genoveva, and was unable to refuse her, when she requested him, to spare the lives of his prisoners. On one occasion, when he was about to execute, outside the city, a large number of captives made in war, he ordered the gates to be closed behind him, lest Genoveva should follow, and obtain pardon for them. But when the saintly woman heard that the blood of so many men was about to flow, in a paroxysm of compassion, she hurried through the streets, and reaching the gates, put her hand to them, and though locked and barred, they unclosed at the touch of charity, and she pursued the king; and, falling down before him, would not be comforted till she had obtained pardon for all those whom he had ordered to be executed. After Paris was blockaded by the Franks, the neighbourhood suffered greatly from famine, as the harvests had been destroyed and the country laid waste. Genoveva, seeing that many died of want, conducted vessels to Arcis, and procuring sufficient supplies, returned with them to Paris.

Every Saturday night, Genoveva was wont to watch in prayer, that the Lord coming in the Holy Eucharist of His day, might find his servant watching. It fell out that one stormy night, as the Sabbath drew towards Sunday morn, and the cock had crowed, she left her home to betake herself to the church of S. Denis, with the virgins who were her fellows, and the lantern that was carried before her was extinguished by a puff of wind; then the maidens were frightened at the pitch darkness, the howling of the storm, and the rain, and the road was so muddy that, without a light, they could not pick their way. Then Genoveva took the lantern in her hand, and the candle lighted of itself within; and holding it, she entered the church.

She performed several pilgrimages to the shrine of S. Martin, at Tours, in company with those holy women who lived with her, and imitated her virtues. She died at the age of eighty-nine, probably in the year 512; but the date is not to be ascertained with certainty.