January 12, 2017

Holy Martyr Peter the Absalamite


For October 14th

Peter entered the fire with divinely-inspired zeal,
Extinguishing the fire of godless error.

For January 12th

His heart was like charcoal of divine longing,
With pleasure Peter expired in the charcoals.


By Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea


In the Seventh Year of the Persecution of our Days in the City of Caesarea (310/11 A.D.).

On the tenth day of the month Canun the latter, Peter, who was called Absalom, appeared, a famous confessor of the kingdom of God; and so manfully did he behave in his struggle for the worship of God, and so victorious was he in the conflict of his martyrdom, that he even excited admiration in the judge himself, and made those who were standing by him wonder greatly.

Much, therefore, did they strive to induce him to have pity upon himself, to spare his own person, and save himself from the evils which were hanging over him; but he disregarded in his mind all that they said. And those who surrounded him -- not those only who knew him, but those also who were not acquainted with him -- urged him, and entreated him one after another, and besought the blessed man as if it were for their own lives. But some of them confirmed his good resolution; others, again, by what they said, suggested irresolution, bidding him to regard with pity his own youth and person. Those of the same mind as himself called to his remembrance that hell fire which is to come, while others tried to make him afraid of the fire which was visible before him. Some endeavored to terrify him by the mortal judge, while others reminded him of the Judge of all judges. Some called upon him to regard this transitory life, while others persuaded him to look to the kingdom of heaven. Those who belonged to the right hand invited him to turn towards them, while they who belonged to the left hand tried to persuade him to mind earthly things.

But he was a young man, handsome in person, brave in mind, and active and able in body; and being such he proved his purity like gold in the furnace and the fire, and loved his confession in our Savior better than the life of this time, which so soon passes away. And there was burned together with him in the same fire one who belonged to the heresy of Marcion, and called himself a bishop; and he gave himself up to this as in the zeal for righteousness, although he was not in true knowledge, and endured martyrdom by fire in company with this God's martyr. And this holy martyr of whom we have spoken came from Aia (Gr. Aeneas), a village which is on the confines of Beth Gobrin (Gr. Eleutheropolis); and he contended in the consummation which we have described, and obtained in the conflict the crown of the glorious victory of the martyrs of Christ.*


* This Saint is probably the same Saint Peter commemorated on October 14th. The only real difference between the two is that the one in October is given a martyrdom date of 292, while this Saint Peter is 310/11. In Greek he is either called Peter the Abesalamite or Auselamos, but this is probably from a confusion of his Syriac name which was Absalom (in English he is commonly called Absalamite or Apsalamite). Other accounts, such as in Alban Butler and Nikolai Velimirovich, state that he died by crucifixion and give more details about his trial, but this may be describing another Saint Peter who was martyred not in Caesarea but in Aulana, which the Roman Martyrology celebrates on January 3rd.