Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Feast of St Emygdius, Bishop and Martyr

Today is the feast of St Emygdius, who by God's grace had great power over evil spirits, destroyed many idols and converted hundreds of heathen in ancient Rome. In our difficult and dark times we need the intercession and help of Saints like Emygdius, who is venerated and commemorated in the Traditional Carmelite Breviary.

Emygdius was born in Treves [Germany] of a noble Frank family. In his twenty-third year he embraced the faith of Christ in spite of opposition of his parents who were idolaters, and this faith he steadfastly professed. He lived with three disciples, Euplus, Germanus and Valentinus. He scorned human pleasures, and thus he applied himself the more entirely to divine things. Fired with a burning love of the neighbour, he journeyed to Rome in order to bring about the salvation to many souls, and he was there received as a guest, in the Island of the Tiber, where he cured, by baptism, the daughter of his host, who had been ill for five years of an incurable disease. A little later he opened the eyes of a blind man, in the presence of the people by the sign of the Cross. Thereupon the crowd, thinking that he was the son of Apollo, carried him off by force to the Temple of Aesculapius. he there declared himself the servant of Christ, and by calling upon Christ's name he restored to health a great number of sick persons, who were vainly beseeching the help of the idol. Emygdius tore down the altars, and having broken in pieces the statue of Aesculapius, he cast it into the Tiber. These acts, and the conversion of thirteen hundred of the heathen, which followed, together with that of the priests of Aesculapius, enraged Posthumius Titanus, the Prefect of City. Emygdius, by the counsel of an angel, escaped from his threats, and betook himself to the Pontiff, Saint Marcellus, by whom he was consecrated Bishop, and sent to Ascoli.
On his way thither Emygdius converted a multitude of persons to Christ by the many miracles which he wrought. The demons, whose wailing issued from the idols and filled the temples upon his arrival at Ascoli, declared a traveller to be the cause of their distress. The people were aroused, and sought to slay him, whereupon Polymius, the Governor, who was brought out by the tumult, called Emygdius to him, and in a long fruitless discourse he urged him to worship Jupiter and the goddess Angaria, the patroness of Ascoli. He even promised him as a reward the hand of his daughter Polisia, whom Emygdius converted to Christ and baptized on the spot. Her baptism was followed by that of sixteen hundred men, the Saint having drawn, by a miracle, an abundance of water from the rock. Thrown into fury by these events, Polymius cut off the head of the holy Bishop, whereupon the body, wonderful to relate, stood erect, and , bearing in its hands the head which had been cast upon the ground, carried it to the Oratory, a disctance of three hundred feet. it was removed thence to the principal church, where it is honoured by the people of Ascoli, as well as by a multitude of people from other parts of [Italy]. The blessed death of Emygdius took place during the persecution of Diocletian.

O God! who hast adorned the Blessed Emygdius, Thy Martyr and Bishop, with victory over idols, and with the splendor of miracles; mercifully grant that, through his mediation, we may deserve to conquer the deceits of evil spirits, and to shine by our virtue. Through our Lord.

Text's excerpts after 'Saints of Carmel - Proper Offices of the Saints Granted to the Barefoot Carmelites' 1896 edition