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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October.
The Lives of the Saints.  1866.
 
October 11
SS. Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus, Martyrs
 
        From their original presidial Acts in Ruinart, p. 419. See Tillemont, t. 5, p. 285.

A.D. 304.


THE HOLY name of God was glorified by the triumph of these martyrs in the persecution of Dioclesian, at Anazarbus in Cilicia, probably in the year 304, when the edicts against the Christians were made general, and extended to all the laity without exception. Their acts are a precious monument of ecclesiastical antiquity. The three first parts contain the triple examination which the saints underwent at Tarsus, Mopsuestia, and Anazarbus, three cities in Cilicia; and are an authentic copy of the pro-consular register, which certain Christians purchased of the public notaries for the sum of two hundred denarii, upwards of six pounds sterling. The last part was added by Marcian, Felix and Verus, three Christians who were present at their martyrdom, and afterwards stole the bodies from the guards, and interred them, resolving to spend the remainder of their lives near the place, and after their deaths, to be buried in the same vault with them.
  1
  The three martyrs were joined in the confession of the same faith, but differed in their age and countries. Tarachus was a Roman by extraction, though born in Isauria; he had served in the army, but had procured his discharge, for fear of being compelled to do something that was contrary to the duty of a Christian; he was at that time sixty-five years old. Probus, a native of Pamphilia, had resigned a considerable fortune, that he might be more at liberty to serve Christ. Andronicus was a young nobleman of one of the principal families of the city of Ephesus. Being apprehended at Pompeiopolis in Cilicia, they were presented to Numerian Maximus, governor of the province, upon his arrival in that city, and by his order were conducted to Tarsus, the metropolis, to wait his return. Maximus being arrived there, and seated on his tribunal, Demetrius, the centurion, brought them before him, saying, they were the persons who had been presented to him at Pompeiopolis, for professing the impious religion of the Christians, and disobeying the command of the emperors. Maximus addressed himself first to Tarachus, observing that he began with him because he was advanced in years, and then asked his name. Tarachus replied: “I am a Christian.” Maximus.—“Speak not of thy impiety; but tell me thy name.” Tarachus.—“I am a Christian.” Maximus.—“Strike him upon the mouth, and bid him not answer one thing for another.” Tarachus, after receiving a buffet on his jaws, said,—“I tell you my true name. If you would know that which my parents gave me, it is Tarachus; when I bore arms I went by the name of Victor.” Maximus.—“What is thy profession, and of what country art thou?” Tarachus.—“I am of a Roman family, and was born at Claudiopolis, in Isauria. I am by profession a soldier, but quitted the service upon the account of my religion.” Maximus.—“Thy impiety rendered thee unworthy to bear arms; but how didst thou procure thy discharge?” Tarachus.—“I asked it of my captain, Publio, and he gave it me.” Maximus.—“In consideration of thy grey hairs, I will procure thee the favour and friendship of the emperors, if thou wilt obey their orders. Draw near, and sacrifice to the gods, as the emperors themselves do all the world over.” Tarachus.—“They are deceived by the devil in so doing.” Maximus.—“Break his jaws for saying that the emperors are deceived.” Tarachus.—“I repeat it, as men, they are deluded.” Maximus.—“Sacrifice to our gods, and renounce thy folly.” Tarachus.—“I cannot renounce the law of God.” Maximus.—“Is there any law, wretch, but that which we obey?” Tarachus.—“There is; and you transgress it by adoring stocks and stones, the works of men’s hands?” Maximus.—“Strike him on the face, saying, abandon thy folly.” “What you call folly is the salvation of my soul, and I will never leave it.” Maximus.—“But I will make thee leave it, and force thee to be wise.” Tarachus.—“Do with my body what you please, it is entirely in your power.” Then Maximus said.—“Strip him and beat him with rods.” Tarachus, when beaten, said,—“You have now made me truly wise. I am strengthened by your blows, and my confidence in God and in Jesus Christ is increased.” Maximus.—“Wretch, how canst thou deny a plurality of gods, when, according to thy own confession, thou servest two gods. Didst thou not give the name of God to a certain person named Christ?” Tarachus.—“Right; for this is the Son of the living God; he is the hope of the Christians, and the author of salvation to such as suffer for his sake.” Maximus.—“Forbear this idle talk; draw near and sacrifice.” Tarachus.—“I am no idle talker; I am sixty-five years old; thus have I been brought up, and I cannot forsake the truth.” Demetrius the centurion said: “Poor man, I pity thee; be advised by me, sacrifice, and save thyself.” Tarachus.—“Away, thou minister of Satan, and keep thy advice for thy own use.” Maximus.—“Let him be loaded with large chains, and carried back to prison. Bring forth the next in years.”  2
 
 
  Demetrius the centurion said: “He is here my lord.” Maximus.—“What is thy name?” Probus.—“My chief and most honourable name is Christian; but the name I go by in the world is Probus.” Maximus.—“Of what country art thou, and of what family?” Probus.—“My father was of Thrace: I am a plebeian, born at Sida in Pamphilia, and profess Christianity.” Maximus.—“That will do thee no service. Be advised by me, sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest be honoured by the emperors, and enjoy my friendship.” Probus.—“I want nothing of that kind. Formerly I was possessed of a considerable estate; but I relinquished it to serve the living God through Jesus Christ.” Maximus.—“Take off his garments, gird him, 1 lay him at his full length, and lash him with ox’s sinews.” Demetrius the centurion said to him, whilst they were beating him: “Spare thyself, my friend; see how thy blood runs in streams on the ground.” Probus: “Do what you will with my body; your torments are sweet perfumes to me.” Maximus.—“Is this thy obstinate folly incurable? What canst thou hope for?” Probus.—“I am wiser than you are, because I do not worship devils.” Maximus.—“Turn him, and strike him on the belly.” Probus.—“Lord, assist thy servant.” Maximus.—“Ask him, at every stripe, where is thy helper?” Probus.—“He helps me, and will help me; for I take so little notice of your torments, that I do not obey you.” Maximus.—“Look, wretch, upon thy mangled body; the ground is covered with thy blood.” Probus.—“The more my body suffers for Jesus Christ, the more is my soul refreshed.” Maximus.—“Put fetters on his hands and feet, with his legs distended in the stocks to the fourth hole, and let nobody come to dress his wounds. Bring the third to the bar.”  3
  Demetrius the centurion said: “Here he stands, my lord.” Maximus.—“What is thy name?” Andronicus.—“My true name is Christian, and the name by which I am commonly known among men, is Andronicus.” Maximus.—“What is your family?” Andronicus.—“My father is one of the first rank in Ephesus.” Maximus.—“Adore the gods, and obey the emperors, who are our fathers and masters.” Andronicus.—“The devil is your father whilst you do his works.” Maximus.—“Youth makes you insolent; I have torments ready.” Andronicus.—“I am prepared for whatever may happen.” Maximus.—“Strip him naked, gird him, and stretch him on the rack.” Demetrius the centurion said to the martyr: “Obey, my friend, before thy body is torn and mangled.” Andronicus.—“It is better for me to have my body tormented, than to lose my soul.” Maximus.—“Sacrifice before I put thee to the most cruel death.” Andronicus.—“I have never sacrificed to demons from my infancy, and I will not now begin.” Athanasius, the cornicularius, or clerk to the army, said to him: “I am old enough to be thy father, and therefore take the liberty to advise thee: obey the governor.” Andronicus.—“You give me admirable advice, indeed, to sacrifice to devils.” Maximus.—“Wretch, art thou insensible to torments? Thou dost not yet know what it is to suffer fire and razors. When thou hast felt them, thou wilt, perhaps, give over thy folly.” Andronicus.—“This folly is expedient for us who hope in Jesus Christ. Earthly wisdom leads to eternal death.” Maximus.—“Tear his limbs with the utmost violence.” Andronicus.—“I have done no evil; yet you torment me like a murderer. I contend for that piety which is due to the true God.” Maximus—“If thou hadst but the least sense of piety, thou wouldst adore the gods whom the emperors so religiously worship.” Andronicus.—“It is not piety, but impiety to abandon the true God, and to adore brass and marble.” Maximus.—“Execrable villain, are then the emperors guilty of impieties? Hoist him again, and gore his sides.” Andronicus.—“I am in your hands; do with my body what you please.” Maximus.—“Lay salt upon his wounds, and rub his sides with broken tiles.” Andronicus.—“Your torments have refreshed my body.” Maximus.—“I will cause thee to die gradually.” Andronicus.—“Your menaces do not terrify me; my courage is above all that your malice can invent.” Maximus.—“Put a heavy chain about his neck, and another upon his legs, and keep him in close prison.” Thus ended the first examination; the second was held at Mopsuestia.  4
  Flavius Clemens Numerianus Maximus, governor of Cilicia, sitting on his tribunal, said to Demetrius the centurion: “Bring forth the impious wretches who follow the religion of the Christians.” Demetrius said: “Here they are, my lord.” Maximus said to Tarachus: “Old age is respected in many, on account of the good sense and prudence that generally attend it: wherefore, if you have made a proper use of the time allowed you for reflection, I presume your own discretion has wrought in you a change of sentiments; as a proof of which, it is required that you sacrifice to the gods, which cannot fail of recommending you to the esteem of your superiors.” Tarachus.—“I am a Christian, and I wish you and the emperors would leave your blindness, and embrace the truth which leads to life.” Maximus.—“Break his jaws with a stone, and bid him leave off his folly.” Tarachus.—“This folly is true wisdom.” Maximus.—“Now they have loosened all thy teeth, wretch, take pity on thyself, come to the altar, and sacrifice to the gods, to prevent severer treatment.” Tarachus.—“Though you cut my body into a thousand pieces, you will not be able to shake my resolution; because it is Christ who gives me strength to stand my ground.” Maximus.—“Wretch, accursed by the gods, I will find means to drive out thy folly. Bring in a pan of burning coals, and hold his hands in the fire till they are burned.” Tarachus.—“I fear not your temporal fire, which soon passes; but I dread eternal flames.” Maximus.—“See, thy hands are well baked; they are consumed by the fire; is it not time for thee to grow wise? Sacrifice.” Tarachus.—“If you have any other torments in store for me, employ them; I hope I shall be able to withstand all your attacks.” Maximus.—“Hang him by the feet, with his head over a great smoke.” Tarachus.—“After having proved an overmatch for your fire, I am not afraid of your smoke.” Maximus.—“Bring vinegar and salt, and force them up his nostrils.” Tarachus.—“Your vinegar is sweet to me, and your salt insipid.” Maximus.—“Put mustard into the vinegar, and thrust it up his nose.” Tarachus.—“Your ministers impose upon you: they have given me honey instead of mustard.” Maximus.—“Enough for the present; I will make it my business to invent fresh tortures to bring thee to thy senses; I will not be baffled.” Tarachus.—“You will find me prepared for the attack.” Maximus.—“Away with him to the dungeon. Bring in another.”  5
  Demetrius the centurion said: “My lord, here is Probus.” Maximus.—“Well, Probus; hast thou considered the matter, and art thou disposed to sacrifice to the gods, after the example of the emperors?” Probus.—“I appear here again with fresh vigour. The torments I have endured have hardened my body; and my soul is strengthened in her courage, and proof against all you can inflict. I have a living God in heaven: him I serve and adore; and no other.” Maximus.—“What! Villain, are not ours living gods?” Probus.—“Can stones and wood, the workmanship of a statuary, be living gods? You know not what you do when you sacrifice to them.” Maximus.—“What insolence! At least sacrifice to the great god Jupiter. I will excuse you as to the rest.” Probus.—“Do not you blush to call him god who was guilty of adulteries, incests, and other most enormous crimes?” Maximus.—“Beat his mouth with a stone, and bid him not blaspheme.” Probus.—“Why this evil treatment? I have spoken no worse of Jupiter than they do who serve him. I utter no lie: I speak the truth, as you yourself well know.” Maximus.—“Heat bars of iron, and apply them to his feet.” Probus.—“This fire is without heat; at least I feel none.” Maximus.—“Hoist him on the rack, and let him be scourged with thongs of raw leather till his shoulders are flayed.” Probus.—“All this does me no harm; invent something new, and you will see the power of God who is in me and strengthens me.” Maximus.—“Shave his head, and lay burning coals upon it.” Probus.—“You have burned my head and my feet. You see, notwithstanding, that I still continue God’s servant and disregard your torments. He will save me: your gods can only destroy.” Maximus.—“Dost thou not see all those that worship them standing about my tribunal honoured by the gods and the emperors? They look upon thee and thy companions with contempt.” Probus.—“Believe me, unless they repent and serve the living God, they will all perish, because against the voice of their own conscience they adore idols.” Maximus.—“Beat his face, that he may learn to say the gods, and not God.” Probus.—“You unjustly destroy my mouth, and disfigure my face because I speak the truth.” Maximus.—“I will also cause thy blasphemous tongue to be plucked out to make thee comply.” Probus.—“Besides the tongue which serves me for utterance, I have an internal, an immortal tongue, which is out of your reach.” Maximus.—“Take him to prison. Let the third come in.”  6
  Demetrius the centurion said: “He is here.” Maximus.—“Your companions, Andronicus, were at first obstinate: but gained nothing thereby but torments and disgrace: and have been at last compelled to obey. They shall receive considerable recompences. Therefore, to escape the like torments, sacrifice to the gods, and thou shalt be honoured accordingly. But if thou refusest, I swear by the immortal gods and by the invincible emperors, that thou shalt not escape out of my hands with thy life.” Andronicus.—“Why do you endeavour to deceive me with lies? They have not renounced the true God. And had that been so, you should never find me guilty of such an impiety. God, whom I adore, has clothed me with the arms of faith: and Jesus Christ, my Saviour, is my strength; so that I neither fear your power nor that of your masters, nor of your gods. For a trial, cause all your engines and instruments to be displayed before my eyes, and employed on my body.” Maximus.—“Bind him to the stakes, and scourge him with raw thongs.” Andronicus.—“There is nothing new or extraordinary in this torment.” The clerk, Athanasius, said: “Thy whole body is but one wound from head to foot, and dost thou count this nothing?” Andronicus.—“They who love the living God, make very small account of all this.” Maximus.—“Rub his back with salt.” Andronicus.—“Give orders, I pray you, that they do not spare me, that being well seasoned I may be in no danger of putrefaction, and may be the better able to withstand your torments.” Maximus.—“Turn him, and beat him upon the belly, to open afresh his first wounds.” Andronicus.—“You saw when I was brought last before your tribunal, how I was perfectly cured of the wounds I received by the first day’s tortures: he that cured me then, can cure me a second time.” Maximus addressing himself to the guards of the prison: “Villains and traitors,” said he, “did I not strictly forbid you to suffer any one to see them or dress their wounds! Yet see here!” Pegasus, the jailer, said, “I swear by your greatness that no one has applied any thing whatever to his wounds, or had admittance to him; and he has been kept in chains in the most retired part of the prison on purpose. If you catch me in a lie I’ll forfeit my head.” Maximus.—“How comes it then that there is nothing to be seen of his wounds?” The jailer: “I swear by your high birth that I know not how they have been healed.” Andronicus.—“Senseless man, the physician that has healed me is no less powerful than he is tender and charitable. You know him not. He cures not by the application of medicines, but by his word alone. Though he dwells in heaven, he is present every where, but you know him not.” Maximus.—“Thy idle prating will do thee no service; sacrifice, or thou art a lost man.” Andronicus.—“I do not change my answers. I am not a child to be wheedled or frightened.” Maximus.—“Do not flatter thyself that thou shalt get the better of me.” Andronicus.—“Nor shall you ever make us yield to your threats.” Maximus.—“My authority shall not be baffled by thee.” Andronicus.—“Nor shall it ever be said that the cause of Jesus Christ is vanquished by your authority.” Maximus.—“Let me have several kinds of tortures in readiness against my next sitting. Put this man in prison loaded with chains, and let no one be admitted to visit them in the dungeon.” The third examination was held at Anazarbus. In it Tarachus answered first with his usual constancy, saying to all threats, that a speedy death would finish his victory and complete his happiness; and that long torments would procure him the greater recompence. When Maximus had caused him to be bound and stretched on the rack, he said: “I could allege the rescript of Dioclesian, which forbids judges to put military men to the rack. But I wave my privilege, lest you should suspect me of cowardice.” Maximus said: “Thou flatterest thyself with the hopes of having thy body embalmed by Christian women, and wrapt up in perfumes after thou art dead: but I will take care to dispose of thy remains.” Tarachus replied, “Do what you please with my body, not only whilst it is living, but also after my death.” Maximus ordered his lips, cheeks, and whole face to be slashed and cut. Tarachus said: “You have disfigured my face; but have added new beauty to my soul. I fear not any of your inventions, for I am clothed with the divine armour.” The tyrant ordered spits 2 to be heated and applied red hot to his arm-pits: then his ears to be cut off. At which, the martyr said: “My heart will not be less attentive to the word of God.” Maximus said: “Tear the skin off his head: then cover it with burning coals.” Tarachus replied: “Though you should order my whole body to be flayed you will not be able to separate me from my God.” Maximus.—“Apply the red hot spits once more to his arm-pits and sides.” Tarachus.—“O God of heaven, look down upon me, and be my judge.” The governor then sent him back to prison to be reserved for the public shows the day following, and called for the next.  7
  Probus being brought forth, Maximus again exhorted him to sacrifice; but after many words ordered him to bound and hung up by the feet: then red hot spits to be applied to his sides and back. Probus said: “My body is in your power. May the Lord of heaven and earth vouchsafe to consider my patience, and the humility of my heart.” Maximus.—“The God whom thou implorest, has delivered thee into my hands.” Probus.—“He loves men.” Maximus.—“Open his mouth and pour in some of the wine which has been offered upon the altars, and thrust some of the sanctified meat into his mouth.” Probus.—“See, O Lord, the violence they offer me, and judge my cause.” Maximus.—“Now thou seest that after suffering a thousand torments rather than to sacrifice, thou hast nevertheless, partaken of a sacrifice.” Probus.—“You have done no great feat in making me taste these abominable offerings against my will.” Maximus.—“No matter: it is now done: promise now to do it voluntarily and thou shalt be released.” Probus.—“God forbid that I should yield; but know that if you should force into me all the abominable offerings of your whole altars, I should be no ways defiled: for God sees the violence which I suffer.” Maximus.—“Heat the spits again, and burn the calves of his legs with them.” Then he said to Probus.—“There is not a sound part in thy whole body, and still thou persistest in thy folly. Wretch, what canst thou hope for?” Probus.—“I have abandoned my body over to you that my soul may remain whole and sound.” Maximus.—“Make some sharp nails red hot, and pierce his hands with them.” Probus.—“O my Saviour, I return you most hearty thanks that you have been pleased to make me share in your own sufferings.” Maximus.—“The great number of thy torments make thee more foolish.” Probus.—“Would to God your soul was not blind, and in darkness.” Maximus.—“Now thou hast lost the use of all thy members, thou complainest of me for not having deprived thee of thy sight. Prick him in the eyes, but by little and little, till you have bored out the organs of his sight.” Probus.—“Behold I am now blind. Thou hast destroyed the eyes of my body; but canst not take away those of my soul.” Maximus.—“Thou continuest still to argue, but thou art condemned to eternal darkness.” Probus.—“Did you know the darkness in which your soul is plunged, you would see yourself much more miserable that I am.” Maximus.—“Thou hast no more use of thy body than a dead man; yet thou talkest still.” Probus.—“So long as any vital heat continues to animate the remains which you have left me of this body, I will never cease to speak of my God, to praise and to thank him.” Maximus.—“What! dost thou hope to survive these torments? Canst thou flatter thyself that I shall allow thee one moment’s respite?” Probus.—“I expect nothing from you but a cruel death; and I ask of God only the grace to persevere in the confession of his holy name to the end.” Maximus.—“I will leave thee to languish, as such an impious wretch deserves. Take him hence. Let the prisoners be closely guarded that none of their friends who would congratulate with them, may find access. I design them for the shows. Let Andronicus be brought in. He is the most resolute of the three.”  8
  The answers and behaviour of the martyrs were usually very respectful towards their impious judges and the most unjust tyrants; and this is a duty, and the spirit of the gospel. Nevertheless, by an extraordinary impulse of the Holy Ghost, some on certain occasions, have deviated from this rule. St. Paul called his judge a whited wall, and threatened him with the anger of God. 3 In the same manner some martyrs have reproached their judges, of whom St. Austin says: 4 “They were patient in torments, faithful in their confession, constant lovers of truth in all their words. But they cast certain arrows of God against the impious, and provoked them to anger; but they wounded many to salvation.” In the answers of St. Andronicus we find many harsh expressions, injurious to the ministers of justice, which we must regard as just reproaches of their impiety, and darts employed by God to sting and awake them. The governor pressed Andronicus again to comply, adding, that his two companions had at length sacrificed to the gods, and to the emperors themselves. The martyr replied: “This is truly the part of an adorer of the god of lies: and by this imposture I know that the men are like the gods whom they serve. May God judge you, O worker of iniquity.” Maximus ordered rolls of paper to be made, and set on fire upon the belly of the martyr; then bodkins to be heated, and laid red hot between his fingers. Finding him still unshaken he said to him: “Do not expect to die at once. I will keep thee alive till the time of the shows, that thou mayest behold thy limbs devoured one after another by cruel beasts.” Andronicus answered: “You are more inhuman than the tigers, and more insatiable with blood than the most barbarous murderers.” Maximus.—“Open his mouth, and put some of the sanctified meat into it, and pour some of the wine into it which hath been offered to the gods.” Andronicus.—“Behold, O Lord, the violence which is offered me.” Maximus.—“What wilt thou do now? Thou hast tasted of the offerings taken from the altar. Thou art now initiated in the mysteries of the gods.” Andronicus.—“Know, tyrant, that the soul in not defiled when she suffers involuntarily what she condemns. God, who sees the secrets of hearts, knows that mine has not consented to this abomination.” Maximus.—“How long will this frenzy delude thy imagination? It will not deliver thee out of my hands.” Andronicus.—“God will deliver me when he pleases.” Maximus.—“This is a fresh extravagance: I will cause that tongue of thine to be cut out to put an end to thy prating.” Andronicus.—“I ask it as a favour that those lips and tongue with which you imagine I have concurred in partaking of the meats and wine offered to idols, may be cut off.” Maximus.—“Pluck out his teeth, and cut out his blasphemous tongue to the very root; burn them, and then scatter the ashes in the air, that none of his impious companions or of the women may be able to gather them up to keep as something precious or holy. 5 Let him be carried to his dungeon to serve for food to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre.”  9
  The trial of the three martyrs being thus concluded, Maximus sent for Terentianus, the chiliarch or pontiff, and first magistrate of the community in Cilicia, who had the care of the public games and spectacles, and gave him orders to exhibit a public show the next day. In the morning, a prodigious multitude of people flocked to the amphitheatre, which was a mile distant from the town of Anazarbus. The governor came hither about noon. Many gladiators and others were slain in the combats of the gladiators and by the beasts, and their bodies were devoured by them, or lay slaughtered on the ground. We, say the authors of the acts, came, but stood on an adjoining mountain behind, looking over the walls of the amphitheatre, waiting the issue in great fear and alarms. The governor at length sent some of his guards to bring the Christians whom he had sentenced to the beasts. The martyrs were in so piteous a condition by their torments that far from being able to walk, they could not so much as stir their mangled bodies. But they were carried on the backs of porters, and thrown down in the pit of the amphitheatre below the seat of the governor. We advanced, say the authors, as near as we could on an eminence, behind, and concealed ourselves by piling stones before us as high as our breasts that we might not be known or observed. The sight of our brethren in so dismal a condition made us shed abundance of tears: even many of the infidel spectators could not contain theirs. For no sooner were the martyrs laid down, but an almost universal deep silence followed at the sight of such dismal objects, and the people began openly to murmur against the governor for his barbarous cruelty. Many even left the shows, and returned to the city: which provoked the governor, and he ordered more soldiers to guard all the avenues to stop any from departing, and to take notice of all who attempted it, that they might be afterwards called to their trial by him. At the same time, he commanded a great number of beasts to be let loose out of their dens into the pit. These fierce creatures rushed out, but all stopped near the doors of their lodges, and would not advance to hurt the martyrs. Maximus, in a fury, called for the keepers, and caused one hundred strokes with cudgels to be given them, making them responsible for the tameness of their lions and tigers, because they were less cruel than himself. He threatened even to crucify them unless they let out the most ravenous of their beasts. They turned out a great bear which that very day had killed three men. He walked up slowly towards the martyrs, and began to lick the wounds of Andronicus. That martyr leaned his head on the bear, and endeavoured to provoke him, but in vain. Maximus possessed himself no longer, but ordered the beast to be immediately killed. The bear received the strokes, and fell quietly before the feet of Andronicus. 6 Terentianus seeing the rage of the governor, and trembling for himself, immediately ordered a most furious lioness to be let out. At the sight of her, all the spectators turned pale, and her terrible roarings made the bravest men tremble on their safe seats. Yet when she came up to the saints, who lay stretched on the sand, she laid herself down at the feet of St. Tarachus, and licked them, quite forgetting her natural ferocity. Maximus, foaming with rage, commanded her to be pricked with goads. She then arose and raged about in a furious manner, roaring terribly, and affrighting all the spectators; who, seeing that she had broken down part of the door of her lodge, which the governor had ordered to be shut, cried out earnestly that she might be again driven into her lodge. The governor, therefore, called for the confectors or gladiators to despatch the martyrs with their swords; which they did. Maximus commanded the bodies to be intermixt with those of the gladiators who had been slain, and also to be guarded that night by six soldiers, lest the Christians should carry them off. The night was very dark, and a violent storm of thunder and rain dispersed the guards. The faithful distinguished the three bodies by a miraculous star or ray of light which streamed on each of them. They carried off the precious treasures on their backs, and hid them in a hollow cave in the neighbouring mountains, where the governor was not able, by any search he could make, to find them. He severely chastised the guards who had abandoned their station. Three fervent Christians, Marcian, Felix, and Verus, retired into this cave of the rock, being resolved to spend there all the remainder of their lives. The governor left Anazarbus three days after. The Christians of that city sent this relation to the Church of Iconium, desiring it might be communicated to the faithful of Pisidia and Pamphylia, for their edification. The three martyrs finished their glorious course on the 11th of October, on which day their names occur in the Roman and other martyrologies.  10
  The heroism of the martyrs consists not only in the constancy and invincible courage with which they chose to suffer, rather than to sin against God, all the torments which the most inhuman tyrants were able to invent and inflict upon them one after another, but also in the patience, charity, meekness, and humility, with which they were animated under their sufferings. In our daily and hourly trials we have continual opportunities of exercising these virtues. If we fail even in small things, and shew ourselves strangers to the Christian spirit, can we assume, without blushing at ourselves, the sacred name of disciples of Christ?  11
 
Note 1. This manner of girding those that were punished seems to mean a covering their waist with a tunic, or something else, that they might not be exposed naked. See Fleury. l. 9, n. 1. [back]
Note 2. [Greek] in the Acts.—[Greek] verucula, ab [Greek] veru Lexic. Hederici.—Obeliscus (ex [Greek] veru, magis nomine quam re.) A great square stone, broad beneath and growing smaller and smaller towards the top.—Ains. Those made use of on this occasion were of the like figure, and of a size suitable to the purpose of torturing. Fleury calls them spits, from their form, though of stone. [back]
Note 3. Acts xxiii. 3. [back]
Note 4. In Ps. xxxix. n. 16, p. 23. [back]
Note 5. “Dentes ejus et linguam blasphemam tollite, et comburite, et ubique spargite, ut nemo de consortibus ejus impiis, aut de mulierculis aliqua colligat ut servet quasi pretiosum aliquid aut sanctum æstimet.”—p. 444. [back]
Note 6. See Orsi, diss. de Actis SS. Perpetuæ et Felic. c. 8. How the martyrs were impatient to suffer, see St. Chrys. serm. ap. Orsi, ib. [back]
 
 
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