Above: Roman Egypt, 150 Common Era
MARTYRS AT ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT (202)
St. Plutarch of Alexandria was the brother of Heraclas of Alexandria (circa 180-247), also a saint on the Roman Catholic calendar. Yet I refuse to admit Heraclas to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days. For my reason, keep reading, O reader. Both Heraclas and St. Plutarch came to Christ via Origen (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/feast-of-st-leonides-of-alexandria-origen-st-demetrius-of-alexandria-and-st-alexander-of-jerusalem-march-18/), who taught them at the great catechetical school of Alexandria. Heraclas became Origen’s assistant then successor as head of the school. Later,in 231, Heraclas succeeded St. Demetrius as Bishop of Alexandria. And Heraclas excommunicated Origen and forced him out of that city. The contents of the previous sentence explains why I do not call him St. Heraclas. I like Origen, who, like the rest of us, was right about a great deal and mistaken about other matters. And excommunicating him was the wrong thing to do.
St. Plutarch and Sts. Marcella and Potanominaena, mother and daughter students at the catechetical school, faced criminal charges of being Christian during the reign (193-211) of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Needless to say, all of them died. Also executed was St. Basilides, who led the daughter to her death yet, as the story goes, was converted by a vision of her. However the conversion came, it came. And he died because of it–a classic case of what the Roman Catholic catechism calls Baptism of Blood.
Sometimes I feel like a very repetitive person, but that is necessary on certain occasions. So here I go again. One cannot end a religion by martyring people. In fact, the blood of the martyrs does indeed water the church. I read about martyrs and wonder how I would have responded under their circumstances. I can speak only for myself just as only you, O reader, can speak for yourself.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 21, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JOHN ELIOT, PURITAN MISSIONARY AMONG THE ALGONQIN
THE FEAST OF FREDERICK AUGUSTUS BENNETT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF AOTEAROA
Almighty God, who gave your servants
Saints Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria
boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,
and courage to die for this faith:
Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Esdras 2:42-48
Psalm 126 or 121
1 Peter 3:14-18, 22
—Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713