Feast of Sts. Chaeremon and Ischyrion (December 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Egypt in 400 C.E.  

(Nilopolis is near Memphis.)

SAINTS CHAEREMON AND ISCHYRION (DIED CIRCA 250)

Roman Catholic Martyrs

Those of us fortunate to live in a nation with a history of religious freedom might not read the notices of impending persecution and martyrdom in the New Testament the same way many of our fellow Christians living under difficult circumstances do.  But we can, through a study of history, understand somewhat what our forebears in faith have endured.  And that is sufficient reason to consider the lives and deaths of Sts. Chaeremon and Ischyrion.

Decius reigned as Roman Emperor from 249 to 251.  He ordered the persecution of Christians who refused to make even one pagan sacrifice per year.  Such sacrifices were, in the mind of the emperor and many other Romans, basic civic responsibilities; by honoring the gods, the reasoning went, citizens might convince the gods to continue to bless the empire.  And the empire was experiencing much difficulty between the 230s and the 280s.  Yet even one pagan sacrifice was one too many for a conscientious Christian, so many died.  Among them were Chaeremon (an elderly man), Bishop of Nilopolis, and Ischyrion, a city official.  Historical sources differ on the city of which he was an employee, but they agree that he also refused to make the pagan sacrifice.

In other words, Chaeremon, Ischyrion, and the many other Christians who died for their faith under Decius were scapegoats for imperial problems, which continued.  May we of today refrain from scapegoating others for our national problems.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 26, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE LAST DAY OF ORDINARY TIME 2011

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gracious God,

in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Saints Chaeremon and Ischyrion,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Posted November 26, 2011 by neatnik2009 in December, Saints of the 200s

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