ST. VICTORINUS, AND SIX COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
From their genuine acts published from the
Chaldaic by Monsignor Steph. Assemani. Act. Mart. Occid. t. 2. p. 60.
See also Henschenius on this day.
A. D. 284.
THESE seven martyrs were citizens of Corinth, and
confessed their faith before Tertius the proconsul, in their own
country, in 249, in the beginning of the reign of Decius. After their
torments they passed into Egypt, whether by compulsion or by
voluntary banishment is not known, and there finished their martyrdom
at Diospolis, capital of Thebais, in the reign of Numerian, in 284,
under the governor Sabinus. After the governor had tried the
constancy of the martyrs by racks, scourges, and various inventions
of cruelty, he caused Victorinus to be thrown into a great mortar,
(the Greek Menology says, of marble.) The executioners began by
pounding his feet and legs, saying to him at every stroke: “Spare
yourself, wretch. It depends upon you to escape this death, if you
will only renounce your new God.” The prefect grew furious at
his constancy, and at length commanded his head to be beat to pieces.
The sight of this mortar, so far from casting a damp on his
companions, seemed to inspire them with the greater ardor to be
treated in the like manner. So that when the tyrant threatened Victor
with the same death, he only desired him to hasten the execution;
and, pointing to the mortar, said: “In that is salvation and
true felicity prepared for me!” He was immediately cast into it
and beaten to death. Nicephorus, the third martyr, was impatient of
delay, and leaped of his own accord into the bloody mortar. The
judge, enraged at his boldness, commanded not one, but many
executioners at once to pound him in the same manner. He caused
Claudian, the fourth, to be chopped in pieces, and his bleeding
joints to be thrown at the feet of those that were yet living. He
expired after his feet, hands, arms, legs, and thighs were cut off.
The tyrant, pointing to his mangled limbs and scattered bones, said
to the other three: “It concerns you to avoid this punishment;
I do not compel you to suffer.” The martyrs answered with one
voice: “On the contrary, we rather pray that if you have any
other more exquisite torment you would inflict it on us. We are
determined never to violate the fidelity which we owe to God, or to
deny Jesus Christ our Saviour, for he is our God, from whom we have
our being, and to whom alone we aspire.” The tyrant became
almost distracted with fury, and commanded Diodorus to be burned
alive, Serapion to be beheaded, and Papias to be drowned. This
happened on the 25th of February; on which day the Roman and other
western Martyrologies name them; but the Greek Menæa, and the
Menology of the emperor Basil Porphyrogenitus honor them or the 21st
of January, the day of their confession at Corinth.