Monday, May 2, 2011
May 2 -- Feast of Saints Exsuperius and Zoe
Zoe and Exsuperius were Christian slaves in the household of a wealthy Roman polytheist in Pamphylia (see map at right -- that's Turkey you're looking at). They were the parents of Saints Cyriacus and Theodulus, though of course none of them were saints until the very end.
Exsuperius was a field worker. As such, he saw his wife very seldom. Her job was to control the dogs, making sure they were fed and preventing them from biting visitors.
At some point, she was called upon to give consecrated meat to an idol. Being Christian, she refused. Her husband was then called forward for the same purpose. He too refused. The whole family was then martyred, which is pretty expensive if you think about it. Romans had to have been pretty dedicated to squander four good slaves on such a small point, but that's how it was in the second century AD.
Reading this entry two years later (5/2/13), I marvel suspect the story is unvarnished truth. Had I been the hagiographer, I would have been tempted to have her prove that the consecrated meat was profane by throwing it to the dogs, who would of course refuse to eat it.
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM