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From: Trudie
To: All
Date: 2007-03-31 10:27:56
Subject: March 31st - St. Acacius Agathangelos

From: "Trudie" <trudie.Miller{at}cox.net>

March 31st - St. Acacius Agathangelos B (AC) (Also known as Achatius)
Died c. 251.

Saint Acacius, bishop of Antioch, Phrygia, led a devout life and was much
revered for his charity and zeal by his flock who nicknamed him
'Agathangelus,' which means 'good angel,' and 'Thaumaturgus,' or the
'wonder-worker.' During the persecution of Christians under the Emperor
Decius, not a single Christian in his diocese is said to have denied his faith.

Around 251, Decius's representative in Antioch, Martian, summoned the
bishop for cross-examination. Acacius appeared and began by insisting that
his flock was entirely faithful to the emperor. Martian responded that the
saint should prove this by making sacrifice to the emperor as a god. This
the bishop adamantly refused to do.

The following transcript is from the public record of this interrogation:

Martian: "As you have the happiness to live under the Roman laws, you
are bound to love and honor our princes, who are our protectors."

Acacius: "Of all the subjects of the empire, none love and honor the
emperor more than the Christians. We pray without intermission for his
person, and that it may please God to grant him long life, prosperity,
success, and all benedictions; that he may be endowed by Him with the
spirit of justice and wisdom to govern his people; that his reign be
auspicious, and prosperous, blessed with joy, peace, and plenty, throughout
all the provinces that obey him."

Martian: "All this I commend; but that the emperor may be the better
convinced of your submission and fidelity, come now and offer him a
sacrifice with me."

Acacius: "I have already told you that I pray to the great and true
God for the emperor; but he ought not to require a sacrifice from us, nor
is there any due to him or to any man whatsoever."

Martian: "Tell us what God you adore, that we may also pay Him our
offerings and homages."

Acacius: "I wish from my heart you did know Him."

Instead of instantly sentencing Acacius to death, Martian continued to
question him. They discussed the nature of angels. They spoke about the
myths of the Greeks and the Romans. They philosophized together about the
nature of God:

Martian: "Tell me His Name."

Acacius: "He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

Martian: "Are these the names of gods?"

Acacius: "By no means, but of men to whom the true God spoke; He is
the only God, and He alone is to be adored, feared, and loved."

Martian: "What is this God?"

Acacius: "He is the most high Adonai, who is seated above the cherubim
and seraphim."

Martian: "What is a seraph?"

Acacius: "A ministering spirit of the most high God, and one of the
principal lords of the heavenly court."

Martian: "What chimeras are these? Lay aside these whims of invisible
beings, and adore such gods as you can see."

Acacius: "Tell me who are those gods to whom you would have me sacrifice?"

Martian: "Apollo, the savior of men, who preserves us from pestilence
and famine, who enlightens, preserves, and governs the universe."

Acacius: "Do you mean that wretch that could not preserve his own
life: who, being in love with a young woman (Daphne), ran about distracted
in pursuit of her, not knowing that he was never to possess the object of
his desires? It is therefore evident that he could not foresee things to
come, since he was in the dark as to his own fate, and as clear that he
could be no god, who was thus cheated by a creature. All know likewise that
he had a base passion for Hyacinth, a beautiful boy, and was so awkward as
to break the head of that minion, the fond object of his criminal passion,
with a quail.

"Is not he also that god who, with Neptune, turned mason, hired
himself to a king (Laamedon of Troy), and built the walls of a city? Would
you oblige me to sacrifice to such a divinity, or to Esculapius,
thunderstruck by Jupiter? or to Venus, whose life was infamous, and to a
hundred such monsters, to whom you offer sacrifice? No, though my life
itself depended on it, ought I to pay divine honors to those whom I should
blush to imitate, and of whom I can entertain no other sentiments than
those of contempt and execration? You adore gods, the imitators of whom you
yourselves would punish."

Martian: "It is usual for you Christians to raise several calumnies
against our gods; for which reason I command you to come now with me to a
banquet in honor of Jupiter and Juno, and acknowledge and perform what is
due to their majesty."

Acacius: "How can I sacrifice to a man whose sepulcher is
unquestionably in Crete? What! Is he risen again?"

Martian: "You must either sacrifice or die."

Acacius: "Finis is the custom of the Dalmatian robbers; when they have
taken a passenger in a narrow way, they leave him no other choice but to
surrender his money or his life. But, for my part, I declare to you that I
fear nothing that you can do to me. The laws punish adulterers, thieves,
and murderers. Were I guilty of any of those things, I should be the first
man to condemn myself. But if my whole crime be the adoring of the true
God, and I am on this account to be put to death, it is no longer a law but
an injustice."

Martian: "I have no order to judge but to counsel you to obey. If you
refuse, I know how to force you to a compliance."

Acacius: "I have a law which I will obey: this commands me not to
renounce my God. If you think yourself bound to execute the orders of a man
who in a little while must leave the world, and his body become the food of
worms, much more strictly am I bound to obey the omnipotent God, Who is
infinite and eternal, and Who hath declared, `Whoever shall deny Me before
men, him will I deny before My Father.'"

Martian: "You now mention the error of your sect which I have long
desired to be informed of: you say then that God hath a son?"

Acacius: "Doubtless He hath one."

Martian: "Who is this son of God?"

Acacius: "The Word of truth and grace."

Martian: "Is that His name?"

Acacius: "You did not ask me His name, but what He is."

Martian: "What then is His name?"

Acacius: "Jesus Christ."

Martian asked by what woman God had this son, he replied, that the divine
generation of the Word is of a different nature from human generation, and
proved it from the language the royal prophet uses of in Psalm 44.

Martian: "Is God then corporeal?"

Acacius: "He is known only to Himself. We cannot describe Him; He is
invisible to us in this mortal state, but we are sufficiently acquainted
with His perfections to confess and adore Him."

Martian: "If God hath no body, how can He have a heart or mind?"

Acacius: "Wisdom hath no dependence or connection with an organized
body. What does having a body have to do with understanding?"

He then pressed him to sacrifice as did some of the heretical Montanists.

Acacius: "It is not me these people obey, but God. Let them hear me
when I advise them to what is right; or let them despise me, if I offer
them the contrary and endeavor to pervert them."

Martian then asked the saint to provide him with the names of other
Christians. The bishop would give him only two names: his own, Acacius, and
his nickname, Agathangelus.

Martian: "Give me all their names."

Acacius: "They are written in heaven, in God's invisible registers."

Martian: "Where are the magicians, your companions, and the teachers
of this cunningly devised error [the priests?]?"

Acacius: "No one in the world abhors magic more than we Christians."

Martian: "Magic is the new religion which you introduce."

Acacius: "We destroy those gods whom you fear, though you made them
yourselves. We, on the contrary, fear not him whom we have made with our
hands, but Him who created us, and Who is the Lord and Master of all
nature; Who loved us as our good Father, and redeemed us from death and
hell as the careful and affectionate shepherd of our souls."

Martian: "Give the names I require, if you would avoid the torture."

Acacius: "I am before the tribunal, and do you ask me my name, and,
not satisfied with that, you must also know those of the other ministers?
Do you hope to conquer many; you, whom I alone am able thus to confound? If
you desire to know our names, mine is Acacius. If you would know more, they
call me Agathangelus, and my two companions are Piso, bishop of the
Trojans, and Menander, a priest. Do now what you please."

Martian: "You shall remain in prison till the emperor is acquainted
with what has passed on this subject, and sends his orders concerning
you."

The emperor's representative was so impressed by Acacius that he sent a
transcript of the whole interview to Decius himself. Decius smiled when he
read it, promoted Martian to a higher post, and pardoned Bishop Acacius.

The acta of Acacius seem to be genuine. He is held in great veneration in
the East (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Saint Quote:
"We venerate our God because He made us; we did not make Him. He as
our Master loves us, for He is also our Father. Of His goodness He has
rescued us from everlasting death."
-Saint Acacius.

Bible Quote:
7 Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day
of my burial. 8 For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not
always.   (John 12:7-8)


<><><><>
Invocations

Eternal Father, we offer Thee the infinite merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, in expiation for the
sins of the world and for the salvation of souls.

--- BBBS/LiI v4.01 Flag
 * Origin: Prism bbs (1:261/38)
SEEN-BY: 633/267 5030/786
@PATH: 261/38 123/500 379/1 633/267


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