Saturday, July 16, 2011
July 16 -- Feast of Saint Athenogenes
There actually seem to be two saints named Athenogenes, both celebrated today. The second one, mentioned by Saint Basil in "On the Holy Spirit," was martyred in a fire. He went to his death singing a hymn, which is nice, but since nothing else seems to be known about him, he often gets conflated with the other Athenogenes, which is not so nice.
The other Athenogenes had the misfortune to be a bishop during the reign of Diocletian. Philomachus, Governor of Cappadocia, threw a big old sacrifice to his idols. Not so many folks showed up, which tipped him off to the spread of Christianity in his district. He ordered the soldiers to bust some folks, but Athenogenes didn't happen to be in when they came calling. When he got back, he hurried to the prison to protest their innocence on the charge of spreading the Faith, explaining that he, the Bishop, was responsible. No one was released, but his surrender was accepted.
Toture and beheadings of the others followed while Athenogenes was forced to watch. When his turn came, he apparently asked to be killed at the monastery and surprisingly, they obliged.
Posted by Tom Major at 8:24 AM