Yandex Metrika
A Bishop Who Brought Many to Christ and Died as a Martyr

Hieromartyr Eleutherius, Bishop of Illyria

Hieromartyr Eleutherius

He was an early Christian saint, but unlike them, he did not come from Greece or the Middle East. His birthplace was Rome. He grew up in a pious Christian family. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by his mother in the Christian faith. Eventually, she sent him off to study, and the Bishop of Rome became his teacher. Before too long, he found that his disciple not only had a talent for scholarship but also possessed the gift of eloquence and persuasion. At fifteen, he ordained him as deacon, and at eighteen as a priest. At twenty, he became the bishop of Illyria, in modern-day Albania.

Despite the rise of Christianity, much of the population of the Roman Empire were still Pagans, and the persecution of Christians was still common. He lived during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, hostile towards Christians. Knowing that about a large number of Pagans that he converted to Christianity, Emperor Hadrian declared him the enemy of the state and sent a detachment of soldiers commanded by an officer named Felix to capture him and take him to Rome.

Yet, when he reached the seat of the bishop and saw and heard him at the church, Felix had a change of heart. He believed in Christ and converted to Christianity. He still had orders to bring him to Rome, and Eleuthrius went with him voluntarily and with joy. He knew what expected him, but he was prepared to suffer for Christ. The emperor charged him with converting to Christ a public official and ordered him tortured with great brutality. The saint endured flogging, roasting on an iron grate and burning in a furnace. Yet, by a miracle of God, he was spared of any injury. The emperor had him pushed into a cage with wild beasts, but they did not touch him but showed him respect.

Struck by the courage of St. Eleutherius, a high-level Roman official, believed in Christ, declaring himself a Christian. He, too, suffered harsh torture and had his head cut off. The Roman commander Felix followed his fate. The executioners severed the honourable head of St. Eleutherius. His mother Anthia was also put to death, hugging her son's body. Saint Euthelerius received the grace of the Apostles of Jesus, imitating their feats and martyrdom. His mother, glorified as a saint, became an unfading example of parental love and dedication to her child.

Saint Eleutherius and Saint Anthia were laid to rest in Albania. Their relics have worked multiple that continue to this day.

December 28, 2023
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