Archive for the ‘Shapur II’ Tag

Feast of St. Barbasymas, St. Sadoth of Seleucia, and Their Companions, Martyrs (February 18)   Leave a comment

shapur-ii-and-iii

Above:  Shapur II and Shapur III

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BARBASYMAS (DIED IN 342)

Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon

His feast transferred from January 14

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SAINT SADOTH OF SELEUCIA (DIED IN 342)

Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon

His feast = February 18

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Shapur II the Great (reigned 309-379) of the Sassanid Empire persecuted Christians.  By 342 his forces captured St. Barbasymas, the Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and 16 priests.  Authorities offered the bishop of a cup filled with gold coins in exchange for committing idolatry; he rejected the offer.  He and his 16 companions died (via beheading) for their faith.  The next Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was St. Sadoth of Seleucia.  He, previously a bishop serving under St. Barbasymas, had attended the Council of Nicaea (325).  The new bishop, his priests, deacons, and nuns went into hiding.  Imperial authorities arrested St. Sadoth and 128 priests, deacons, and nuns then executed most of them immediately.  Those authorities kept St. Sadoth and some of his companions alive, however.  These agents incarcerated and tortured them and offered to spare them in exchange for idolatry.  Nobody accepted the offer.  These Christians became martyrs outside the walls of Seleucia in 342.

The Church in the region survived, of course.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF DAMASCUS AND COSMAS OF MAIUMA, THEOLOGIANS AND HYMNODISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CALABRIA, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE POOR SERVANTS AND THE POOR WOMEN SERVANTS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH MOHR, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS COTTERILL, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

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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 St. Barbasymas, St. Sadoth of Seleucia, and their companions,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lies 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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of St. Simeon Barsabae and His Companions (April 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Exaltation of the Cross

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SAINT SIMEON BARSABAE (DIED 341)

Bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon

The account of the martyrdom of St. Simeon Barsabae and his companions requires contextualization.  Relations between the Roman Empire and the revived Persian Empire under the Sasanid Dynasty were difficult, punctuated by wars.   The Sasanids governed from 226 to 651, thus the beginning of their tenure coincided with a difficult century for the Roman Empire.  Rome stabilized somewhat in the late 200s yet experienced civil war in the early 300s.  Constantine I “the Great” (reigned jointly from 306 to 323 and alone from 323 to 337) legalized Christianity.  This was a political move, an attempt to stabilize the empire and extend its lifespan by grafting onto it the hierarchy and organization of the Church.

Meanwhile, in Persia, King Shapur/Sapor II (reigned 310-379) perceived his Christian population as disloyal.  Persian policy had been to persecute heterodox populations, but religious toleration had taken its place.  Then Constantine I legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire.  Acting on the premise of guilt by association, Shapur II resumed persecution of Christians and other non-Zoroastrians.  Attempting to use Zoroastrianism to unify his realm by force if deemed necessary, Shapur II declared heresy (as he defined it) a death penalty offense.

St. Simeon Barsabae (died 341), Bishop in Ctesiphon, capital city of Persia, refused to betray his faith.  And many of his fellow Christians likewise refused.  The persecution during which these valiant people died was notoriously harsh and violent.  St. Simeon had to witness the beheading of about a hundred of his fellow Christians.  Among them were the following:

  1. Usthazanes, the royal tutor, whom the saint had led back to Christ after apostasy;
  2. Abdechalas and Ananias, two priests;
  3. and Pusicius, a layman who had encouraged Ananias.

Finally, on Good Friday, St. Simeon and his daughter, Askitrea, went to Jesus.

The persecution of Persian Christians persisted after Shapur II’s death.  I refer you, O reader, to the case of St. James Intercisus.  Yet, as the 1968 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica tells me,

Nonetheless, substantial Christian communities survived in parts of Iran long after the close of the Sasanian dynasty.–Volume 17, page 672

Persecutors, I suppose, think that they are doing what is necessary for the greater good.  Yet they are mistaken, of course.  An immoral or amoral monster probably does not look at his reflection and recognize evil, or at least bad behavior.  He probably justifies his actions to himself.  I find it ironic that one would commit murder in the name of Zoroastrianism, a faith tradition which affirms life.  Yet people have killed in the name of Christ, love incarnate.  God, save us from your alleged followers!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 21, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF STEVE DE GRUCHY, SOUTH AFRICAN CONGREGATIONALIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ARNULF OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, AND SAINT GERMANUS OF GRANFEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ETHELBERT OF KENT, KING

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Everloving God,

by your grace and power

your holy martyrs Saint Simeon Barsabae and his companions triumphed over suffering

and were faithful even to death;

strengthen us with your grace

that we may faithfully witness

to Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 24:17-21

Psalm 3 or 116

Hebrews 11:32-40

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 680-681

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A Related Post:

The Church’s One Foundation:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/the-churchs-one-foundation/

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