This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19 -- Feast of Saints Parthenius and Calocerus

Shamelessly unrelated pop reference
 CAVEAT:  When no good images of Parthenius and Calocerus could be found, ridiculous illustrations with only tangential bearing on the matter were substituted. 

These two eunuchs experienced the ancient Roman equivalent of being busted for drunk driving but then revealing a duffel bag full of heads in their trunk. 

They were slaves, somehow connected to the household of the Emperor Decius Trajanus's wife, Tryphonia.  They had previously been slaves of Aemilianus, a former Roman consul.  There were a couple of brothers named Lucius Fulvius Aemilianus who served as consul in the 240s -- it could have been either one of them.  In any event, after this consul's death, Parthenius and Calocerus were charged with administering the estate for his daughter Anatolia.  They were also charged, maybe even by her, with distributing surplus household wealth to the poor.  Perhaps once that was done they were placed in the imperial household as part of the (equivalent of the) East Wing staff. 

Participants in a eunuch beauty pageant in Koovagam, India
Distributing money to the poor was suspicious behavior for a good Roman.  After all, their master was dead and Anatolia was a woman, so whose votes were they trying to buy?  And if they weren't buying votes, why would they give money away?  Always suspicious of caritas gratia caritatis, Decius decided to call these brothers in for questioning.  The charge: embezzlement. 

Parthenius and Calocerus didn't even bother to address that charge.  I imagine the defense, if you can call it that, sounded something like this.

Emperor Trajanus Decius
Parthenius:  You want to know if we stole Anatolia's money and gave it away?  Let me tell you that every denarius were took from her was deposited in her account in Heaven.  What she has given to Lord Jesus through the poor and wretched in this City will be returned to her in the City of God. Don't gasp when I mention Jesus Christ, Lord of All the World, because this is not news to you.  You have sent hundreds of martyrs to him and hardened your heart against him.  But the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not hardened against you. Indeed it burns with love and compassion for you, vain sinner and murderer though you are.  Even today, after having killed so many followers of the one true God, you can be forgiven and ouch! What are you doing?  Ow! Wait!  I'm trying to -- OW! -- tell you -- UGH! -- the good news about -- UGH!

The two brothers were sentenced to be burned.  When the fire wouldn't burn them, Decius's soldiers grabbed the burning logs and beat them to death with them.  Butler says they were decapitated, which seems like the best way to put down those death-resistant Christians, so maybe that happened too.  Anatolia gathered their remains and buried them in the catacombs of Callixtus, suggesting their innocence on the embezzlement charge but their guilt on the subsequent capital crime of Christianity. 

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