Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Cæsarius, Martyr
AT Terracina in Italy it was an impious and barbarous custom, on certain very solemn occasions, for a young man to make himself a voluntary sacrifice to Apollo, the tutelar deity of the city. After having been long caressed and pampered by the citizens, apparelled in rich gaudy ornaments, he offered sacrifice to Apollo, and running full speed from this ceremony, threw himself headlong from a precipice into the sea, and was swallowed up by the waves. Cæsarius, a holy deacon from Africa, happened once to be present at this tragical scene, and not being able to contain his zeal, spoke openly against so abominable a superstition. The priest of the idol caused him to be apprehended, and accused him before the governor, by whose sentence the holy deacon, together with a Christian priest named Lucian, was put into a sack, and cast into the sea, in 300, the persecution of Dioclesian then raging. St. Gregory the Great mentions an ancient church of St. Cæsarius in Rome.1 It had lain long in ruins, when it was magnificently rebuilt by Clement VIII. who created his little nephew Sylvester Aldobrandini cardinal deacon of this church. St. Cæsarius is mentioned with distinction in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, in the Martyrology of the seventh age, published by the learned Jesuit Fronto le Duc, and in those of Bede, Usuard, &c. His modern acts in Surius are of small authority.