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Thursday - Third Week of Lent

Heroes and heroines of the faith - 19

From book "Spiritual Readings for all days of the year from texts of Saint Alphonsus of Liguori"... ST. APIAN AND ST. AEDESIUS, BROTHERS (April 2 an...

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Spiritual Readings

Saint Alphonsus


(April 2 and 8)

St. Apian was born in Lycia, of rich and noble parents who sent him to Berytus, to study the humanities; and, notwithstanding that the youths of that city were exceedingly corrupt, Apian preserved himself from contamination. At the age of eighteen years, he returned to his father's house; but finding that the family had continued idolaters, he retired to Caesarea, in Palestine, where he was most hospitably received into the house of the celebrated Eusebius, who afterwards became bishop of that city. Under this great master he studied the Sacred Scriptures, and practised those austerities that prepared him for the glorious end which he made.

At this time, in the year 306, the Emperor Galerius Maximian was not only persecuting the Christians, but searching for them with the closest scrutiny. He caused the families to be enrolled, and each individual to be summoned, that he might either sacrifice or be put to death. Apian prepared himself for this trial, and having understood that the governor was about to offer a solemn sacrifice to the gods, he went, on the appointed day, to the temple. Finding himself influenced by a special inspiration from Heaven, he passed the guards, approached the impious altar, and, while the governor was raising his hand to pour out a libation of wine before the idol, he seized his arm, and earnestly exhorted him to desist from the impiety of offending the true God by sacrificing to demons and images.

The soldiers rushed upon Apian, as though they would tear him to pieces; and, having beaten him most cruelly, brought him to prison, where they put him to the torture of the stocks for twenty-four hours. Upon the following day he was brought before the governor, who, having in vain sought to gain him over by promises and threats, ordered that his sides should be torn with iron hooks, until the bones and bowels should be laid bare. He was then buffeted upon the face until he became so deformed that he could not be recognised by those who had formerly known him. The tyrant, perceiving that these torments made no impression upon the Saint, caused linen, steeped in oil, to be rolled round his legs, and then to be set on fire. It is easy to conceive that the Saint suffered most excruciating torture from the new infliction, yet he endured it with undiminished fortitude. The governor, after three days, finding him armed with the same constancy, ordered him to be thrown into the sea.

Eusebius, an eye-witness, relates that upon the execution of this sentence the city was shaken with an earthquake, and the sea became violently agitated, and cast the body back upon the shore before the gates of Caesarea. St. Apian was not quite twenty-nine years of age at the time of his Martyrdom, which took place in the year 306.

St. Aedesius, who was the brother of St. Apian, not only according to the flesh, but equally so in Faith and Piety, also applied himself to the study of philosophy, which served to separate him still more from the world, and unite him to Jesus Christ. In this same persecution he frequently confessed His Adorable Name, and suffered long imprisonment and various punishments, which he endured with Christian fortitude. He was sent to labour in the mines of Palestine, from which he was subsequently released; but finally, one day, in Alexandria, perceiving a judge pronouncing cruel sentences against the Christians, and delivering over holy virgins to the lusts of abandoned young men, he went forward and spoke with such force against these acts of injustice, that, as Eusebius says, he covered the persecutors with confusion, and received from them the crown of Martyrdom. Like his brother, he was horribly tortured and afterwards cast into the sea.

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Heroes and heroines of the faith - 18

Wednesday - Third Sunday after Lent