|Sts. Apollonius, Philemon, and Arianus|
The story begins with a Roman official in Alexandria, Arianus by name. I'll call him a praetor but I am not sure of his exact title. He seems to have been a persecutor of Christians. He also seems to have had an affliction, perhaps even full blindness, in one eye. If justice is blind, perhaps he was only half-just in his role as a judge. The particular persecution seems to have gone down in the early years of Diocletian's reign -- not the full bloom of the Great Persecution, but quite plausibly the early run-up to it.
|Heavens, they're tasty and expeditious.|
Apollonius, upon seeing Philemon get hauled off for an unhealthy dose of torture, recognized his failure to stand up for the faith. He walked up to Arianus and confessed. He too was quickly hauled off and tortured. Apollonius and Philemon were executed together, and then their bodies were burned.
Arianus was more impressed with the courage and dedication of these Christian martyrs than he wanted to show. So too was Theoticus, the praetor's senior bodyguard. When a bit of ash from Philemon's cremation got in the praetor's eye and healed it, he and Theoticus were both inspired to convert. They sought instruction, accepted baptism, and then declared their faith publicly. They too were executed, by drowning at sea. Dolphins returned their bodies to the shore for proper burial.