Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume VIII: August. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Euplius, Martyr
IN Sicily, in the year 304, under the ninth consulate of Dioclesian, and the eighth of Maximian, on the 12th of August, in the city of Catana, Euplius, a deacon, was brought to the governors audience-chamber, and attending on the outside of the curtain, cried out: I am a Christian, and shall rejoice to die for the name of Jesus Christ. The governor, Calvisianus, who was of consular dignity, heard him, and ordered that he who had made that outcry should be brought in, and presented before him. Euplius went in with the book of the gospels in his hand. One of Calvisianuss friends, named Maximus, said: You ought not to keep such writings, contrary to the edicts of the emperors. Calvisianus said to Euplius: Where had you those writings? did you bring them from your own house? Euplius replied: That he had no house, but that he was seized with the book about him. The judge bid him read something in it. The martyr opened it, and read the following verses: Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.1 And in another place: He that will come after me, let him take up his cross, and follow me.2 The judge asked him what that meant. The martyr answered: It is the law of my Lord, which hath been delivered to me. Calvisianus said: By whom? Euplius answered: By Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Calvisianus then pronounced this interlocutory order: Since his confession is evident, let him be delivered up to the executioners, and examined on the rack. This was immediately done, and the martyr was interrogated accordingly. Whilst they were tormenting him the same day, Calvisianus asked him whether he persisted in his former sentiments? Euplius, making the sign of the cross on his forehead with the hand that he had at liberty, said: What I formerly said I now declare again, that I am a Christian, and read the holy scriptures. He added, that he durst not deliver up the sacred writings, by which he should have offended God, and that death was more eligible, by which he should gain eternal life. Calvisianus ordered him to be hoisted on the rack, and more cruelly tormented. The martyr said, whilst he was tormented: I thank thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that I suffer for thy sake: save me, I beseech thee. Calvisianus said: Lay aside thy folly; adore our gods, and thou shalt be set at liberty. Euplius answered: I adore Jesus Christ; I detest the devils. Do what you please; add new torments; for I am a Christian. I have long desired to be in the condition in which I now am. After the executioners had tormented him a long time, Calvisianus bade them desist, and said: Wretch, adore the gods; worship Mars, Apollo, and Æsculapius. Euplius replied: I adore the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I worship the Holy Trinity, besides whom there is no God. Calvisianus said: Sacrifice, if you would be delivered. Euplius answered: I sacrifice myself now to Jesus Christ, my God. All your efforts to move me are to no purpose. I am a Christian. Then Calvisianus gave orders for increasing his torments.
Whilst the executioners were exerting their utmost in tormenting him, Euplius prayed thus: I thank thee, my God; Jesus Christ, succour me. It is for thy names sake that I endure these torments. This he repeated several times. When his strength failed him, his lips were seen still to move, the martyr continuing the same or the like prayer with his lips when he could no longer do it with his voice. At length Calvisianus went behind the curtain, and dictated his sentence, which a secretary wrote. Afterwards he came out with a tablet in his hand, and read the following sentence: I command that Euplius, a Christian, be put to death by the sword, for contemning the princes edicts, blaspheming the gods, and not repenting. Take him away. The executioners hung the book of the gospels, which the martyr had with him when he was seized, about his neck, and the public crier proclaimed before him: This is Euplius the Christian, an enemy to the gods and the emperors. Euplius continued very cheerful, and repeated as he went: I give thanks to Jesus Christ, my God. Confirm, O Lord, what thou hast wrought in me. When he was come to the place of execution, he prayed a long time on his knees, and once more returning thanks, presented his neck to the executioner, who cut off his head. The Christians carried off his body, embalmed and buried it. He is named in all the martyrologies of the western church. See his genuine acts in Baronius, Ruinart, Tillemont, t. 5, p. 695, Orsi. Those published by Metaphrastes are spurious.