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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5 -- Feast of Galaction and Episteme

A Blindingly Virtuous Woman and Her Husband

Galaction's miracles begin at conception.  I suppose conception is a miracle for each of us, but his was less probable than many.  His parents, a childless Syrian couple, were advised by a monk to put their faith in the Lord.  The wife accepted baptism and conceived immediately.  If you know your Canterbury Tales, well may you smirk, but her husband recognized his good fortune and also converted.  Their son, Galaction, was raised a Christian, but his dad selected a pagan bride for him.

Galaction hesitated before assenting.  Learning of this, Episteme assented to become a Christian if it would seal the deal.  It did, but once the wedding was complete, she learned that he intended to live chastely.  Another woman might have been embittered, or sly, but another woman would not have been canonized.  Episteme moved into a community of nuns while Galaction set himself up as a hermit.

When the Emperor Decius ordered a general persecution of Christians, Galaction got gaffled up.  Learning of his arrest in a vision, Episteme went to stand by her man.  They were confined together as they waited to be tortured and executed.  Prisons being what they were, the Roman soldiers thought they'd pass the time by stripping Episteme and... they got no further.  The fifty-three soldiers present were all blinded by her exposure.  I expect that the subsequent interrogation was excessively brutal before the final beheading.  At a minimum, it included vision scourging and the removal of hands and feet before the final decapitations.  A monk named Eutolius, formerly a servant of Episteme's parents, buried the bodies and wrote about their joint martyrdom. 

November 5 is also Guy Fawkes Day, of course.  If you'd like a rant about him, you can find mine here.

No comments:

Post a Comment