Cyr, ou Quirice, quérant un arc; il vient aussi de chisil, courage, et cus, noir, ce qui équivaut à courageux par vertu et noir par humiliation. Quiris veut aussi dire hache; quiriles, siège; en effet Quirice fut un arc, c'est-à-dire courbé par humiliation, il fut fort dans les tourments qu'il endura; il fut noir par le mépris de lui-même; ce fut une hache dans son combat avec l’ennemi: il fut le siège de Dieu parce que Dieu habitait en lui : car la grâce suppléa en lui à ce que l’âge lui déniait. Julitte vient de juvans vita, parce qu'elle vécut d'une vie spirituelle, et qu'ainsi elle fut utile à beaucoup de monde.
Quirice était fils de Julitte, très illustre matrone d'Icone. La persécution qu'elle voulut éviter la força à venir à Tarse en Cilicie, avec son fils, Quirice, âgé de trois ans. Cependant on la fit comparaître portant son enfant dans ses bras, devant le président, Alexandre. Deux de ses femmes qui virent cela s'enfuirent aussitôt et l’abandonnèrent. Le président prit donc l’enfant dans ses bras, et fit cruellement frapper à coups de nerfs la mère qui ne voulut pas sacrifier aux idoles. Or, l’enfant, en voyant frapper sa mère, pleurait amèrement et poussait des cris lamentables. Mais le président prenait le jeune Quirice tantôt entre ses bras, tantôt sur ses genoux, le calmait par ses baisers et par ses caresses, et l’enfant, les yeux tournés sur sa mère; repoussait avec horreur les embrassements du juge, détournait la tête avec indignation et lui déchirait le visage avec ses petits ongles; il semblait parler et dire comme sa mère : « Et moi aussi, je suis chrétien. » Enfin après s'être débattu longtemps, il mordit le président à l’épaule. Celui-ci indigné et tourmenté par la douleur jeta du haut en bas l’enfant sur les degrés du tribunal qui fut couvert de sa petite cervelle ; alors Julitte, joyeuse de voir son fils la précéder dans le royaume du ciel, rendit des actions de grâces à Dieu. Elle fut ensuite condamnée à être écorchée, puis arrosée de poix bouillante et enfin à avoir la tête tranchée. On trouve cependant dans une légende que Quirice, ne se souciant pas des caresses ou des menaces du tyran, confessait qu'il était chrétien. A l’âge qu'il avait, ce petit enfant ne pouvait pas encore parler, mais c'était l’Esprit-Saint qui parlait en lui. Comme le président lui demandait qui l’avait instruit, il dit : « Président; j'admire ta sottise; tu vois combien je suis jeune, et tu demandes à un enfant de trois ans quel est celui qui lui a enseigné la sagesse divine? » Pendant qu'on le frappait, il criait : « Je suis chrétien » ; et à chaque cri, il recevait des forces pour supporter les tourments. Alors le président fit couper par morceaux la mère et l’enfant, et de peur que les chrétiens ne donnassent la sépulture à ces tronçons, il ordonna qu'on les jetât çà et là. Cependant un ange les recueillit et les chrétiens les ensevelirent pendant la nuit. Les corps de ces martyrs furent découverts, du temps de Constantin le Grand, par une des femmes de Julitte qui avait survécu à sa maîtresse ; et tout le peuple les a en grande vénération. Ils souffrirent vers l’an du Seigneur 230, sous l’empereur Alexandre.
* Philippe de Harvenq, abbé de Bonne-Espérance, a écrit la passion de ces deux saints martyrs.
Cyricus and Julitta (Giulietta) MM (RM)
(Cyricus also known as Cyr, Cyriacus, Quiriac, Quiricus)
Died 304. Although the legend of Julitta and Cyricus was proscribed by pseudo-Gelasius, it still persists in various forms. We are told that when persecution was raging against Christians under Diocletian, a wealthy and pious noblewoman named Julitta was widowed with a three-year-old son named Cyricus. As a Christian Julitta decided that life in her native Iconium in Lycaonia was too dangerous. Taking Cyricus and two maids, she fled to Seleucia and to her alarm found that the governor there, Alexander, was savagely persecuting Christians. The four fugitives journeyed on to Tarsus in Antioch. Unfortunately, Alexander was paying a visit to that city when the fugitives were recognized and arrested.
Julitta was put on trial. She brought her young son with her to the courtroom. She refused to answer any questions about herself, except to say that she was a Christian. The court pronounced its sentence: Julitta was to be stretched on the rack and then beaten.
The guards, about to lead Julitta away, separated Cyricus from his mother. The child was crying, and Alexander, in a vain attempt to pacify him, took Cyricus on his knee. Terrified and longing to run back to his mother, Cyricus kicked the governor and scratched his face. Alexander stood up in a rage and flung the toddler down the steps of the tribune, fracturing the boy's skull and killing him.
Cyricus's mother did not weep. Instead she thanked God and went cheerfully to torture and death. Her son had been granted the crown of martyrdom. This made the governor even angrier. He decreed that her sides should be ripped apart with hooks, and then she was beheaded. Both she and Cyricus were flung outside the city, on the heap of bodies belonging to criminals, but the two maids rescued the corpses of the mother and child and buried them in a nearby field.
There is some evidence for an otherwise unknown child-martyr named Cyricus at Antioch, and it may have been about him that this fictitious tale was evolved in several different versions. There are places named after Cyricus all over Europe and the Middle East, but without the name Julitta attached. As early as the sixth century the acta of Cyricus and Julitta were rejected in a list of apocryphal documents (the list was formerly attributed to Pope Saint Gelasius I).
Cyricus is the Saint-Cyr found in several French place names, where his cultus is strong because some relics were brought back from Antioch by the 4th-century Bishop Saint Amator of Auxerre. A Nivernaise story that is reproduced in the Golden Legend also fuels the flames of devotion. According to this tale, Blessed Charlemagne dreamed he was saved from death by a wild boar during a hunt by the appearance of a child, who promised to save him from death if he would give him clothes to cover his nakedness. The bishop of Nevers interpreted this to mean that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of the cathedral dedicated to Saint Cyr. From this story comes the iconographic emblem of a naked child riding on a wild boar (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Julitta leads Cyricus by the hand. The pair may also be shown (1) as Cyricus is dashed to the ground by Alexander and a fountain springs from his blood; (2) as a fountain springs from Julitta's blood; (3) with Julitta burned at the stake; (4) with oxen near Julitta; (5) with Cyricus mounted on a wild boar; or (6) as Julitta holds a cross and palm (Roeder). The oldest known representations of Cyricus is a series of frescoes (8th century) at Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome. A 12-century antependium at the Museum of Barcelona depicts scenes from the legend, as do stained- glass windows at Issoudun (Farmer).
SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0616.shtml
SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/6/161.html
SS. Quiricus or Cyr, and Julitta, Martyrs
From their authentic acts in Ruinart, p. 517. See also Papebroke, Junij, vol. 3, p. 17.
DOMITIAN, the governor of Lycaonia, executing with great cruelty the edicts of Dioclesian against the Christians, Julitta, a lady of Iconium in that country, withdrew to Seleucia with her little son Cyr or Quiricus, only three years old, and two maids. Alexander, the governor of Seleucia, was not less a persecutor than the prefect of Iconium. Wherefore Julitta went on to Tarsus in Cilicia. Alexander happened to enter that city about the same time with her, and she was immediately apprehended holding her infant in her arms, and conducted to the tribunal of this governor. She was of royal blood, the granddaughter of illustrious kings, and she possessed great estates and riches; out of all which she carried nothing with her but present necessaries. Her two maids, seeing her in the hands of the persecutors, fled and hid themselves. Alexander demanded her name, quality, and country; to all which questions she answered only—“I am a Christian.” The judge, enraged, ordered her child to be taken from her, and that she should be extended and cruelly whipt with thongs; which was accordingly executed. Nothing could be more amiable than the little Cyr, a certain air of dignity spoke his illustrious birth; and this, joined to the sweetness and innocence of his tender age and looks, moved all present exceedingly. It was a difficult thing to tear him from the arms of his mother; and he continued still continually to stretch his little hands towards her. The governor held the infant on his knees, and endeavoured to kiss him to pacify him. But the innocent babe having his eyes still fixed upon his mother, and striving to get back to her, scratched the face of the inhuman judge. And when the mother, under her torments, cried out that she was a Christian, he repeated as loud as he was able—“I am a Christian.” The governor being enraged, took him by the foot, and throwing him to the ground from off his tribunal, dashed out his brains against the edge of the steps, and all the place round about was sprinkled with blood. Julitta seeing him thus expire, rejoiced at his happy martyrdom, and gave thanks to God. Her joy increased the rage of the governor, who commanded her sides to be torn with hooks, and scalding pitch to be poured on her feet, while proclamation was made by a crier—“Julitta, take pity on thyself and sacrifice to the gods, lest thou come to the like unfortunate end with thy son.” She always answered “I do not sacrifice to devils or to dumb and deaf statues; but I worship Christ, the only begotten Son of God. by whom the Father hath made all things.” Whereupon the governor commanded her head to be struck off, and the body of the child to be carried out of the city, and thrown where the carcasses of malefactors were usually cast. Remorse and confusion at his own cruelty, and disappointed malice, in the murder of the innocent babe, made him appear more raging than the most furious wild beast. Julitta being led to the place of execution, prayed aloud, thanking God for having given her son a place in his kingdom, and begging the same mercy for herself. She concluded by adding Amen: at which word her head was severed from her body. She suffered in the year 304 or 305. The two maids came privately and buried the remains of both the martyrs in a field near the city. When Constantine had given peace to the church, one of these maids discovered the place, and “the faithful of the country strove every one to procure some portion of these sacred pledges for a protection and safeguard, glorified God, and devoutly visited their tombs,” says the author of these acts. They are named in the Roman Martyrology on the 16th of June; but they seem to have received their crowns on the 15th of July, on which day their festival is kept by the Greeks, Muscovites, 1 Armenians, 2 and Nestorians. 3 The Abyssinians celebrate it two days before, on the 19th of their month of Hamle, also on the 20th of January. 4 St. Cyr is patron of Nevers, and of many churches and monasteries in France, and formerly in England. The relics of St. Cyr having been brought from Antioch by St. Amator, bishop of Auxerre, were distributed in several places at Nevers, Toulouse, St. Amand’s in Flanders, &c.
This happy victim completed early his sacrifice. Men ought properly to be said to live only for that time which they devote to the end for which they receive their being, the service of their creator. How many will a long life condemn! How much of their precious time do many throw away in sloth, empty follies, and even in sin! How many go off the stage of this world without having done anything of all those great duties for which they were born! who have lived so as to have been mere blanks in the creation, if the divine justice would allow us to give that name to what he punishes with everlasting torments! We have a great work upon our hands to form our hearts upon that of our divine original, our Blessed Redeemer: to expel the subtle poison of pride, vanity, and all inordinate self-love out of our affections, and put on the perfect heavenly spirit of meekness, patience, humility, charity, holy zeal, and devotion. Without this we can never belong to Christ, or to the company of the saints.
Note 1. See on the Muscovites, Papebroke ante Maium, t. 1, p. 36, and Jos. Assemani, Calend. Univ. t. 6. [back]
Note 2. Jos. Assemani, Bibl. Orient, t. 3, pp. 647, 652. [back]
Note 3. Ibid. t. 4, p. 366. [back]
Note 4. See the Abyssinian Calendar in Ludolf; also that in the Journal of Bern, ad ann. 1761, t. 1, p. 146. [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.