mercredi 22 avril 2015

Saint ÉPIPODIUS et saint ALEXANDRE, martyrs


Saint Epipode

Martyr à Lyon ( 177)

Martyr à Lyon avec Alexandre

Deux jeunes chrétiens qui avaient échappé au carnage dont fut victime saint Pothin, leur évêque. Saint Epipode fut décapité et saint Alexandre crucifié. 

À Lyon, en 178, saint Épipode, qui, après les combats glorieux des quarante-huit martyrs, l’année précédente, fut arrêté avec son ami très cher Alexandre, torturé sur le chevalet et eut enfin la tête tranchée, terminant ainsi son martyre.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/1018/Saint-Epipode.html

Saint Alexandre

Martyr à Lyon ( 177)

Martyr à Lyon avec Epipode. 

Deux jeunes chrétiens qui avaient échappé au carnage dont fut victime saint Pothin, leur évêque. Saint Epipode fut décapité et saint Alexandre crucifié. 

À Lyon, en 178, saint Alexandre, martyr. Deux jours après la passion de son ami saint Épipode, il fut retiré de sa prison, déchiré sur tout le corps et enfin attaché en croix, où il rendit l’esprit.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/1016/Saint-Alexandre.html

Sous la persécution de Marc-Aurèle, quand les païens crurent avoir fait disparaître de Lyon tous les Chrétiens en vue après le martyre de St Pothin et de ses compagnons, Alexandre et Epipode, qui étaient liés depuis leur enfance d'une étroite amitié spirituelle, s'étaient enfuis de la ville et avaient trouvé refuge, dans un faubourg, chez une veuve chrétienne. Mais ils furent finalement découverts et jetés en prison avant d'être emmenés au tribunal. Quand ils se déclarèrent Chrétiens, la foule poussa de grands cris et le magistrat, saisi d'une violente colère en constatant que tant de sang répandu n'avait pas réussi à éliminer les disciples du Christ, ordonna de les séparer et de soumettre Epipode à la torture., puis le fit décapter. Son compagnon Alexandre fut crucifié le lendemain.

De pieux Chrétiens vinrent ensuite dérober les corps des deux Martyrs et les cachèrent dans une grotte, aux environs de Lyon, qui devint célèbre par les miracles qui s'y accomplissaient.

SOURCE : http://www.peintre-icones.fr/PAGES/CALENDRIER/Avril/22.html


LE MARTYRE DE SAINT ÉPIPODE ET DE SAINT ALEXANDRE

Lucius Verus et Marc-Aurèle régnaient depuis dix-sept ans, lorsque la fureur des gentils se répandit dans toutes les provinces, particulièrement dans la ville de Lyon, et les traces qu'elle y laissa furent d'autant plus sanglantes et plus nombreuses, que cette Cité comptait un plus grand nombre de fidèles. Les noms de quelques-uns des martyrs ont été conservés avec les circonstances de leur mort ; mais il y en a beaucoup plus qui, pour avoir fini leurs jours dans l'obscurité, ne sont écrits que dans le Livre de la vie bienheureuse. Car après cet horrible carnage des chrétiens dont le sang remplit la ville de Lyon, et fit changer de couleur les eaux du Rhône, les païens crurent avoir entièrement éteint le nom et la religion de Jésus-Christ. Ce fut alors qu'Épipode et Alexandre, qui en faisaient profession secrètement, furent dénoncés au gouverneur. Ce magistrat donna des ordres très précis pour les faire arrêter, s'imaginant pouvoir enfin achever d'abolir en leur personne une religion qui lui était si odieuse.

Mais avant d'en venir aux particularités de la mort de ces saints, il faut dire un mot de leur vie. Alexandre était Grec, mais Épipode était natif de Lyon; tous deux unis par les mêmes études, mais plus unis encore dans la suite par les liens d'une véritable charité.

Ils étaient dans la fleur de leur jeunesse et n'étaient pas mariés. Dès qu'ils virent la persécution, ils songèrent à suivre le conseil de l'Évangile; mais ne pouvant pas fuir d'une ville à une autre, ils se contentèrent de chercher une retraite où ils pussent demeurer cachés et servir Dieu en secret. Ils la trouvèrent dans un faubourg de Lyon, près de Pierre-Encise, et ce fut la maisonnette d'une veuve chrétienne qui les cacha. Ils y furent quelque temps inconnus , par la fidélité que leur garda leur sainte hôtesse, et par le peu d'apparence qu'avait leur asile, mais enfin ils furent découverts. Ils furent arrêtés au passage étroit d'une petite chambre, au moment où ils s'échappaient; ils étaient si éperdus lorsqu'ils virent les gardes, qu'Epipode oublia un de ses souliers que sa charitable hôtesse retrouva, et qu'elle conserva comme un riche trésor.

Ils furent mis en prison préventive, le nom seul de chrétien portant avec soi la conviction manifeste des plus grands crimes. Trois jours après, ils furent conduits, ayant les mains attachées derrière le dos, au pied du tribunal du gouverneur, qui leur demanda leur nom et leur profession. Une multitude innombrable de peuple remplissait l'audience, et l'on voyait sur le visage de chacun l'expression d'une haine farouche. Les accusés dirent leur nom, et se confessèrent chrétiens. A cet aveu, le juge et l'assemblée se récrient, s'emportent, frémissent. « Quoi! deux téméraires oseront braver les immortels 1 les saintes ordonnances de nos princes seront foulées aux pieds ! Mais de crainte qu'ils ne s'encouragent l'un l'autre, et qu'ils ne s'animent à souffrir par paroles ou par signes, qu'on les sépare; qu'on fasse retirer Alexandre, qui paraît le plus vigoureux, et qu'on torture Epipode. »
Suivant les traces de l'ancien serpent, le gouverneur commença par employer la persuasion. « Tu es jeune, et il est fâcheux que tu périsses pour la défense d'une mauvaise cause. Nous avons une religion et des dieux à qui nous et nos augustes princes sommes les premiers à rendre hommage. »

Épipode répondit : « La grâce de Jésus-Christ mon maître, et la foi catholique que je professe, ne me laisseront jamais prendre à la douceur empoisonnée de tes paroles. Tu feins d'être sensible aux maux que je me prépare; mais sache-le bien, je ne regarde cette fausse compassion que comme une véritable cruauté. La vie que tu me proposes est pour moi une éternelle mort ; et la mort dont tu me menaces n'est qu'un passage à une vie qui ne finira jamais. »

Le gouverneur commanda qu'on frappât à coups de poing la bouche d'Épipode. La douleur du saint martyr ne fit qu'affermir sa constance; et malgré le sang qui sortait de sa bouche avec ses dents, il ne laissa pas de proférer ces paroles : « Je confesse que Jésus-Christ est un seul Dieu avec le Père et le Saint-Esprit, et il est juste que je lui rende mon âme, à lui, Mon Créateur et mon Rédempteur. Ainsi la vie ne m'est point ôtée, elle n'est que changée en une plus heureuse ; et il m'importe peu de quelle manière mon corps cesse de vivre, pourvu que l'esprit qui l'anime retourne à Celui qui lui a donné l'être. » A peine le bienheureux Épipode eut-il fini ces derniers mots, que le juge le fit élever sur le chevalet, et placer des bourreaux à droite et à gauche, qui lui déchirèrent les côtes avec des ongles de fer. Mais tout à coup on entend un bruit formidable : tout le peuple demande le martyr; il veut qu'on le lui abandonne. Les uns ramassent des pierres pour l'en accabler; les autres, plus furieux, s'offrent à le mettre en pièces, tous enfin trouvent la cruauté du gouverneur trop lente à leur gré; il n'est plus lui-même en sûreté. Surpris de cette violence inopinée, et craignant qu'on ne viole le respect dû à son caractère, il supprime l'objet de l'émeute; il fait enlever le martyr et le fait tuer d'un coup d'épée.

Le gouverneur était impatient de tremper dans le sang d'Alexandre ses mains encore fumantes de celui d'Épipode. Il l'avait laissé un jour en prison, et remettant son interrogatoire au jour suivant, il se le fit amener.

« Tu es encore, lui dit-il, maître de ta destinée, profite du délai qu'on te donne, et de l'exemple de ceux qu'un fol entêtement a fait périr. Nous axons fait une si bonne guerre aux sectateurs du Christ, que tu es presque le seul qui soit resté de ces misérables ; car ton compagnon d'impiété ne vit plus. Ainsi réfléchis et sacrifie. »

« — C'est à mon Dieu que je dois toute ma reconnaissance, que son nom adorable soit béni à jamais. »

Ces paroles irritèrent le gouverneur, qui fit étendre le saint martyr les jambes écartées, et trois bourreaux le frappaient sans relâche. Mais ce tourment ne l'ébranla pas, il ne s'adressa jamais qu'à Dieu pour implorer le secours. Comme son courage ne se démentait pas, et qu'il commençait à lasser les bourreaux qui s'étaient déjà relayés plusieurs fois, le gouverneur lui demanda s'il persistait dans sa première confession :

« — Oui, car tes dieux ne sont que de mauvais démons ; Dieu tout-puissant, éternel et invisible me gardera dans ma foi. » Le gouverneur dit alors : « La fureur des chrétiens est montée à un tel point, qu'ils mettent toute leur gloire dans la durée de leurs souffrances ; et ils croient par là avoir remporté une victoire signalée .sur ceux qu'ils nomment leurs persécuteurs. » Puis il prononça cette sentence : « Cet entétement étant d'un fâcheux exemple, Alexandre sera mis en croix jus-qu'à ce que mort s'ensuive. » Les bourreaux prirent aussitôt le saint, et le lièrent à ce bois qui est devenu le signe de notre salut. Il n'y demeura pas longtemps sans expirer ; car son corps avait été si fort déchiré dans cette cruelle flagellation, que les côtes décharnées laissaient voir à découvert les entrailles. Ayant donc son âme unie au Christ, il la lui rendit en invoquant son saint nom.

LES MARTYRS. Recueil de pièces authentiques sur les martyrs depuis les origines du Christianisme jusqu'au XXe siècle, traduites et publiées Par le R. P. Dom H. LECLERCQ, Moine bénédictin de Saint-Michel de Farnborough. TOME I Les Temps Néroniens et Le Deuxième Siècle. Précédé d'une introduction. Quatrième édition. Imprimi potest. FR. Ferdinandus Cabrol, Prior Sancti Michaelis Farnborough. Die 4 Maii 1903. Imprimatur. Turonibus, die 18 Octobris 1920. P. Bataille, vic. gén. ANIMULAE NECTAREAE EORGINAE FRANCISCAE STUART

SOURCE : http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/martyrs/martyrs0001.htm

April 22

SS. Epipodius and Alexander, Martyrs at Lyons

THEY were two gentlemen of that city, though the latter a Grecian by birth, both in the flower of their age, and from the time of their first studies together in the same school, linked by the bands of the strictest friendship, which grew up with them, and was strengthened and spiritualized by their mutual profession of Christianity. This happy union occasioned a mutual assistance and encouragement of each other in piety and all Christian virtues; especially purity, sobriety, and the love of God and their neighbour, by which they prepared themselves for martyrdom. They were both in their prime, but neither of them married when the persecution begun, in the seventeenth year of Marcus Aurelius, and 177th of Jesus Christ, which, raging at Lyons, had already swept off St. Pothinus and his companions. Pursuant to our Saviour’s advice, they endeavoured to hide themselves. They accordingly went secretly out of the city by themselves, to a neighbouring town, where they lay concealed for some time in the house of a poor Christian widow. The woman’s fidelity and the meanness of the place secured them for a while; but at length they were so diligently sought after, that they were discovered, and, in endeavouring to escape once more, Epipodius lost one of his shoes, which was found by a Christian woman, who, as the acts say, kept it as a treasure. They were no sooner apprehended, than, contrary to the custom of the Romans, they were, without any previous examination, sent to prison. Three days after, they were brought, with their hands tied behind them, before the governor’s tribunal; where having owned themselves Christians, the people made a great outcry, and the judge in a passion said: “What purpose have all the preceding tortures and executions served, if there still remain any who dare profess the name of Christ?” To prevent their mutual encouragement of each other by signs, he caused them to be separated. And calling first for Epipodius, the younger of the two, whom he had looked upon as the weaker on this account, he endeavoured to conquer his resolution by caresses, promises, and motives of pleasure. Epipodius replied: “I shall not suffer myself to be prevailed upon by this pretended and cruel compassion. Are you so ignorant as not to know that man is composed of two substances, a soul and a body? With us the soul commands, and the body obeys. The abominations you are guilty of in honour of your pretended deities, afford pleasure to the body, but kill the soul. We are engaged in a war against the body for the advantage of the soul. You, after having defiled yourselves with pleasures like brute beasts, find nothing at last but a sorrowful death; whereas we, when you destroy us, enter into eternal life.” The judge, being exasperated at this modest reply, caused him to be struck on the mouth. The martyr, though his teeth were all over blood, continued to proclaim his faith, saying: “I confess that Jesus Christ is God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is but reasonable that I should resign my soul to him who has created me and redeemed me. This is not losing my life, but changing it into a better.” Whilst he spake thus, the governor ordered him to be stretched on the rack, and his sides to be torn with iron hooks. The people were so enraged to see the courage and tranquillity with which he suffered all these torments, that they required to have him given up to them to be crushed to death or torn in pieces: for the judge seemed not to proceed fast enough for them. Afraid, therefore, lest they should come to any open sedition, he gave orders that his head should be immediately struck off, which was accordingly done.

Two days after, he called Alexander to the bar, and laid before him the torments of Epipodius and of other Christians, hoping to terrify him into compliance. The martyr answered by thanking God for setting before his eyes such glorious examples for his encouragement, and expressing his desire of joining his dear Epipodius. The judge, no longer containing his rage, caused his legs to be extended wide, and ordered him to be beaten by three executioners, who succeeded each other by turns. This torment lasted a long time; yet the martyr never let fall the least word of complaint. At length the judge asked him if he still persisted in his profession of Christianity. “I do,” says Alexander, “for the idols of the Gentiles are devils; and the God whom I adore, and who alone is the almighty and eternal God, I trust will give me grace to confess him to my last breath, as the guardian of my faith and resolution.” The governor, finding him immoveable, and envying him the glory of a longer trial, sentenced him to be crucified. The instrument of his death was immediately made ready, and no sooner was the martyr fastened on it than he gave up his soul to Christ, whom he invoked with the last efforts of his voice. For by his torments he had been already quite exhausted; his entrails were visible through his uncovered ribs, and his bones hung as if they were all broken or dislocated. The Christians privately carried off the bodies of these two saints, and buried them on a hill near the city; which place became famous afterwards for the piety of the faithful, and venerable by a great number of miracles, which were wrought there, according to the author of their acts in Ruinart, who lived in the fourth century, and attests several of these miracles as an eye-witness. He relates, that the city of Lyons being visited by a pestilence, a young man of quality who was seized with it, recovered his health by a draught to which the devout poor widow had given a benediction with the martyr’s shoe. Upon the report of which miracle, innumerable other persons were cured by the like means, and many brought to the light of faith. At their tomb the devils were cast out and the sick restored to their health, in so evident and miraculous a manner, that incredulity itself could not refuse its assent, as the author of these acts moreover testifies. Their tomb was without the walls of the city when he wrote, but enclosed within them in the middle of the fifth century, when St. Eucherius, archbishop of Lyons, wrote the panegyric of these saints, in which he says, that the dust of their tomb was distributed over the whole country for the benefit of the sick. St. Gregory of Tours writes, 1 that this dust did many miracles. He says, that their bodies, in the sixth century, lay deposited with that of St. Irenæus, in the church of St. John, now called of St. Irenæus, under the altar, where the relics of these two holy martyrs were found, and respectfully translated in 1410. See Ruinart, p. 61

Note 1. L. de Gloriâ Mart. c. 50. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Epipodius and Alexander MM (RM)


Died 178. Epipodius and Alexander were young, unmarried men, friends of long standing. They lived at Lyons, France, as good Christians and tried to avoid capture by the pagans during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius by hiding with a widow who lived just outside the city. When they were captured, the judge mocked Epipodius, saying:


"We worship the gods with revels and jollity and festivity. You people follow a somber and sorrowful religion: you worship a man who was nailed to a cross, who could not endure that one enjoy all of life's pleasures, who condemns joy and is pleased to have worshippers exhausted by fastings. After all, what can one expect from a God who could not guarantee his own life.

"Too bad that a young man like you should perish for the defense of a bad cause. Do you take us for atheists? Do we not also have a religion and gods? Our gods love joy, banquets, the succulent pleasures of life form part of their cult."

The crowd cried out. Epipodius said nothing in reply, and the judge order him to be killed by the sword. Two days later his friend Alexander was flogged and then crucified (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia). 


Source : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0422.shtml

Saint Epipodius of Lyon

Memorial
Profile

Friend of and worker with Saint Alexander of Lyon. Imprisoned, tortured, and martyred during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius. Though he never joined an order, Epipodius was a confirmed celibate bachelor, devoting his time to work with and for God. Betrayed to imperial authorities by a servant. Martyr.

Born
Died
Canonized
Patronage
SOURCE : http://catholicsaints.info/saint-epipodius-of-lyon/

Saint Alexander of Lyon

Memorial
Profile

Friend and worker with Saint Epipodius of Lyon. Imprisoned, scourged until his ribs showed, and executed with 34 companions during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius.

Born
Died
Canonized
SOURCE : http://catholicsaints.info/saint-alexander-of-lyon/

Sts. Epipodius and Alexander

These two young men, living in Lyons, became friends through the love of God they shared. Alexander was Grecian by birth. Both young men studied together in the same school, and encouraged each other in their acts of spirituality. Neither married, deciding to live their lives devoted to God. It was during this time, in the prime of their lives, that the persecution of Christians began under reign of Marcus Aurelius.

They were aware of the Savior’s words that when the tribulations come to flee to the hills, so they endeavored to hide themselves. Leaving the city, they went to a neighboring town where, for a time, a Christian widow gave them shelter. However, knowing their persecutors were pursuing them, they fled from her house to seek another place to hide. While fleeing, one of the young men lost his shoe which was picked up by a Christian woman who kept it. But they were soon captured and imprisoned. Three days later they were brought before the governor’s tribunal with their hands bound behind their backs. When they professed their Christian faith, there was a great outcry from the people. The judge then announced, “What purpose have all the preceding tortures and executions served, if there still remain any who dare profess the name of Christ?” He then separated the two friends.

He called Epipodius, the younger of the two and the one he felt was the weakest, to be brought alone before him. Pretending to be compassionate and understanding, he proceeded to try to get the young man to deny his faith, but Epipodius did not waiver in his resolve. Instead he answered that he could not be fooled by the judge’s pretended and cruel compassion. “Are you so ignorant as not to know that man is composed of two substances, a soul and a body? With us the soul commands, and the body obeys. The abominations you are guilty of in honor of your pretended deities, afford pleasure to the body, but kill the soul. We are engaged in a war against the body for the advantage of the soul. You, after having defiled yourselves with pleasures like brute beasts, find nothing at last but a sorrowful death; whereas we, when you destroy us, enter into eternal life.” Upon hearing these words, the judge had Epipodius struck in the mouth causing him to lose teeth. But through bleeding lips he continued to proclaim his faith saying, “I confess that Jesus Christ is God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is but reasonable that I should resign my soul to Him who has created me and redeemed me. This is not losing my life, but changing it into a better.”

While he was still speaking, the judge ordered him to be stretched on the rack and his sides to be torn with iron hooks. The people watching were so enraged at his tranquility, that they pleaded for him to be handed over to them to crush him to death or tear him to pieces. The crowd became so frenzied, that the judge feared for his own life so he gave orders for the head of Epipodius to be immediately lopped off, which was done.

After two days, the judge had Alexander brought to the bar. He proceeded to tell him what had happened to his friend and others like him in hopes of frightening him into compliance. Instead, Alexander thanked the Lord for giving him the courageous examples of his friend and other Christians and then expressed to the judge his own desire to be put to death as well. The judge, truly enraged now, had the young man’s legs stretched as far apart as possible and then ordered him beaten by three executioners. This torture went on for quite a while but Alexander never uttered a word of complaint. He was then asked again if he still wanted to persist in his profession of Christianity to which he replied, “I do.”

The judge ordered Alexander to be crucified. He was already so horribly beaten that his entrails visible through his uncovered ribs and so as soon as he was nailed to the cross, he expired.

Lessons

Christians privately carried the bodies of Alexander and Epipodius to a hillside outside the city where they buried them. The place of their burial soon became famous and many miracles were said to have taken place there. St. Gregory of Tours later wrote that their bodies were deposited with that of St. Irenaeus in the sixth century in the Church of St. John which is now called St. Irenaeus.

Prayer

Dear Lord, may the lives of Your saints and martyrs never be forgotten by us. Strengthen us in our weaknesses, Lord, that we may not only live our lives in accordance with Your Will but be strong in the face of evil. Amen.


SOURCE : http://catholicexchange.com/sts-epipodius-and-alexander