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Gordianus and Epimachus, Saints

Martyrs, under Julian the Apostate, 362

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Gordianus and Epimachus, SAINTS, Martyrs, suffered under Julian the Apostate, 362, commemorated on May 10. Gordianus was a judge, but was so moved by the sanctity and sufferings of the saintly priest, Januarius, that he embraced Christianity with many of his household. Being accused before his successor, or as some say before the prefect of the city, Apronianus, he was cruelly tortured and finally beheaded. His body was carried off by the Christians, and laid in a crypt on the Latin Way beside the body of St. Epimachus, who had been recently interred there. The two saints gave their name to the cemetery, and have ever since been joined together in the veneration of the Church. There is another Gordianus who suffered martyrdom (place uncertain) with two companions, and is commemorated on September 17 (Acta SS., XLV, 483); and a third, commemorated on September 13, who with several companions was martyred in Pontus or Galatia (Acta SS., XLIV, 55).

There are also several martyrs named Epimachus, and, owing to the meagreness of the information possessed concerning them, less careful writers have confounded them greatly, while the greater hagiologists are unable to agree as to their number or identity. The Bollandists mention five saints of this name: (I) A martyr commemorated by the Greeks on July 6 (Acta SS., XXIX, 280); (2) Epimachus and Azirianus, martyrs venerated by the Copts and Abyssinians on October 31 (Acta SS., LXI, 684); (3) Epimachus of Pelusium in Egypt, venerated by the Greeks on October 31 (Acta SS., LXI, 704); (4) Epimachus and Alexander, martyred at Alexandria in the persecution of Decius, commemorated in the Latin Church on December 12; (5) Epimachus, whose body, with that of St. Gordianus, is honored at Rome on May 10. Most of the great writers have denied the existence of an Epimachus martyred at Rome, and account for the relics honored there by asserting that the body of the Alexandrian Epimachus was transported thither shortly before the martyrdom of St. Gordianus. Remi de Buck, the learned Bollandist, however, maintains that the evidence for the Roman Epimachus is too strong to be doubted, while he rejects the pretended translation of the relics of Epimachus of Alexandria.

JOHN F. X. MURPHY


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