Nicasius became the twelfth archbishop of Rheims in AD 400. Barucius became the thirteenth archbishop seven years later, but this is not his story. It is about Nicasius, his virgin sister Eutropia, and a couple of other guys.
|At left: The beheaded bishop sings; At right, his sister exocularizes Nicasius' killer.|
He was joined in this by his winsome sister Eutropia, Florentius the Deacon, and Blessed Jocundus the Lector. [Spoiler alert: All four are killed.] Nicasius was singing Psalm 119 verse 25 when the Vandals cut off his head: "I am laid low in the dust." The head, as it fell to the ground, sang the second part of the verse, "preserve my life according to your word."
The Vandals thought they would let Eutropia live -- they deemed her worth quarreling over when the divided up the booty. She, however, had another idea. She walloped the guy who killed her brother -- five-starred him so hard that his eyes popped right out.
Side-note: This is the second day in a row that the feast celebrated the extraction of someone's eyeballs. Kind of weird.
Her throat was promptly cut, as were the throats of Florentius and Jocundus, who had probably stopped singing and were staring, slack-jawed and amazed.
The Vandals, however, began to rethink their actions. In fear of divine retribution, they released the comely maidens and other booty and fled the city. Eventually, the good citizens of Rheims returned, reclaimed their stuff, and buried their archbishop and the other martyrs. Their graves were the site of many miracles.