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ST. PROCOPIUS, M.

HE was a native of Jerusalem, but lived at Bethsan, otherwise called Scythopohs, where he was reader in the church, and also performed the function of exorcist, and dispossessing demoniacs, and that of interpreter of the Greek tongue into the Syro-Chaldaic.* He was a divine man, say his acts, and had always lived in the practice of great austerity and patience, and in perpetual chastity. He took no other sustenance than bread and water, and usually abstained from all food for two or three days together. He was well skilled in the science of the Greeks, but much more in that of the holy scriptures; the assiduous meditation on which nourished his soul, and seemed also to give vigor and strength to his emaciated body. He was admirable in all virtues, particularly in a heavenly meekness and humility. Dioclesian’s bloody edicts against the Christians reached Palestine in April, 303, and Procopius was the first person who received the crown of martyrdom in that country, in the aforesaid persecution. He was apprehended at Bethsan and led, with several others, bound to Cæsarea, our city, say the acts. and was hurried straight before Paulinus, prefect of the province.* The judge commanded the martyr to sacrifice to the gods. The servant of Christ answered he never could do it; and this he declared with a firmness and resolution that seemed to wound the heart of the prefect as if it had been pierced with a dagger. The martyr added, there is no God but one, who is the author and preserver of the world. The prefect then bade him sacrifice to the four emperors, namely Dioclesian, Herculius, Galerius, and Constantius. This the saint again refused to do, and had scarce returned his answer but the judge passed sentence upon him, and he was immediately led to execution and beheaded. He is honored by the Greeks with the title of The Great Martyr. See his original Chaldaic Acts, published by Steph. Assemani, t. 2, p. 166, and a less accurate old Latin translation, given by Ruinart, and by Henry Valois, Not. in Euseb.1. 8. The author of these acts was Eusebius of Cæsarea, an eye-witness.








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