Martyr (d. 202)
+ Leonides was a prominent figure within the Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt, toward the end of the second century.
+ A married man with seven sons, the eldest of whom was the writer and theologian Origen, Leonides was most likely a Roman citizen who taught philosophy and grammar, while helping to spread the Gospel among the educated classes.
+ Arrested during the persecution of the Emperor Septimus Severus, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death.
+ Origen wanted to join his father and suffer martyrdom with him, but he was prevented by his mother, who hid his clothing to prevent from leaving their home.
+ In a letter of Leonides, Origen urged his father to confess to the Faith with courage and to not change his mind for the sake of his family.
+ Saint Leonides was beheaded in the year 202.
“When Severus began to persecute the churches, glorious testimonies were given everywhere by the athletes of religion. This was especially the case in Alexandria, to which city, as to a most prominent theater, athletes of God were brought from Egypt and all Thebais according to their merit, and won crowns from God through their great patience under many tortures and every mode of death. Among these was Leonides, who was called the father of Origen, and who was beheaded while his son was still young. How remarkable the predilection of this son was for the Divine Word, in consequence of his father’s instruction.”—Saint Eusebius of Caesarea, History of the Church
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Leonides with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr During the Easter Season)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here