March 26, 2017

Holy Martyr Eutychios the Subdeacon of Alexandria (+ 356)

St. Eutychios the Subdeacon (Feast Day - March 26);
picture shows ancient Alexandria

By St. Athanasius of Alexandria

(History of the Arians, 7.59 & 60)

For [the Arians] made themselves formidable to all men, and treated all with great arrogance, using the name of the Emperor [Constantius], and threatening [the Christians] with his displeasure. They had to assist them in their wickedness the Duke Sebastianus, a Manichee, and a profligate young man; the Prefect, the Count, and the Receiver-General as a dissembler. Many Virgins who condemned their impiety, and professed the truth, they brought out from the houses; others they insulted as they walked along the streets, and caused their heads to be uncovered by their young men. They also gave permission to the females of their party to insult whom they chose; and although the holy and faithful women withdrew on one side, and gave them the way, yet they gathered round them like Bacchanals and Furies , and esteemed it a misfortune if they found no means to injure them, and spent that day sorrowfully on which they were unable to do them some mischief. In a word, so cruel and bitter were they against all, that all men called them hangmen, murderers, lawless, intruders, evil-doers, and by any other name rather than that of Christians.

Moreover, imitating the savage practices of Scythians, [the Arians] seized upon Eutychios, a Subdeacon, a man who had served the Church honorably, and causing him to be scourged on the back with a leather whip, till he was at the point of death, they demanded that he should be sent away to the mines; and not simply to any mine, but to that of Phaeno, where even a condemned murderer is hardly able to live a few days. And what was most unreasonable in their conduct, they would not permit him even a few hours to have his wounds dressed, but caused him to be sent off immediately, saying, 'If this is done, all men will be afraid, and henceforward will be on our side.'

After a short interval, however, being unable to accomplish his journey to the mine on account of the pain of his stripes, he died on the way. He perished rejoicing, having obtained the glory of martyrdom. But the miscreants were not even yet ashamed, but in the words of Scripture, 'having bowels without mercy' (Prov. 12:10), they acted accordingly, and now again perpetrated a satanic deed. When the people prayed them to spare Eutychios and besought them for him, they caused four honorable and free citizens to be seized, one of whom was Hermias who washed the beggars' feet; and after scourging them very severely, the Duke cast them into the prison. But the Arians, who are more cruel even than Scythians, when they had seen that they did not die from the stripes they had received, complained of the Duke and threatened, saying, 'We will write and tell the eunuchs, that he does not flog as we wish.' Hearing this he was afraid, and was obliged to beat the men a second time; and they being beaten, and knowing for what cause they suffered and by whom they had been accused, said only, 'We are beaten for the sake of the truth, but we will not hold communion with the heretics. Beat us now as you will; God will judge you for this.' The impious men wished to expose them to danger in the prison, that they might die there; but the people of God observing their time, besought him for them, and after seven days or more they were set at liberty.