+ The Martyrs of Sebaste were a group of Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata (“Lighteningbearers”) who were killed for their faith near the city of Sebaste (present-day Sivas, Turkey).
+ What we know of their witness comes to us from a homily by Saint Basil the Great, preached on their feast day a few decades later.
+ According to Saint Basil, these solders had openly professed their faith in Christ during the persecution of the Emperor Licinius. They were condemned to be exposed on a frozen pond on cold night, essentially condemning the freeze to death.
+ One of the soldiers denied his faith, but his place was taken by a guard, inspired by the witness of the other martyrs.
+ Devotion to the holy martyrs spread quickly throughout the Church and many churches were built in their honor.
For prayer and reflection
“As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of judgment they shall shine
and dart about s sparks through stubble.”—Wisdom 3:6-7
On this day, we also honor Saint Marie Eugénie Milleret, the founder of the Religious of the Assumption. Saint Marie Eugénie died in 1898 and was beatified in 2007.
May the sight of the great number of your holy Martyrs gladden us, O Lord, making our faith stronger and bringing us consolation by the prayers of them all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.