Monday, October 02, 2006

St. Eustathius and his family

St. Eustathius Placidus, St. Theopiste, St. Agapius, and St. Theopistus Sept. 20/Oct. 3

St. Eustathius (Eustace) was a famous early Roman general. He was married and had two sons. One day he was out hunting when he saw a stag in the distance. He chased it for a long time and finally caught up with it only to see a cross glowing between the stags antlers. After this he and his family became Christians. They left Rome but along the way all three were separated. Eustathius's wife was captured by pirates and his two sons were stolen by wild animals. Eustathius mourned them as dead.

Eventually the emperor discovered him and as he was in the midst of a war called on his old general to help him. Eustathius agreed. While in his army two young men met and discovered that they were Eustathius's long lost sons although they did not know who he was or that he was their commander. Eventually they all discovered each other but Eustathius and his sons still believed his wife to be dead. One day Eustathius had occasion to go into the garden of the house next to them where he met a woman about his age. She recognized her husband by one of his scars and the family was finally reunited.

Eustathius won the victory for Rome and he and his family departed in triumph for the capital. During the victory celebrations they were required to sacrifice to the idols and refused. The emperor was very angry and ordered them to be fed to lions. These animals refused to eat the saints which only enraged the emperor further. He ordered a metal bull made and heated it until it was red hot. Then he threw the holy family into it.

Holy saints, pray to God for us!

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