Mandeville, LA – There are 4 saints on the Roman martyrology calendar today. Saint Caius and Soter, bothe Popes on the 2nd century and the inspirational story of the martyrdoms of Saint Epipodius and Alexander, martyrs of Lyons.
Caius of Dalmatia, a priest, was made Pope after the death of Pope Saint Anicetus in 173Having sat twelve years, four months, and seven days, he died on the 21st of April, 296, and was interred on the 22nd, on which day his name is honoured in the Liberian Calendar. Saint Soter’s life comes to us from the Rev. Alban Butler’s Lives.
ST. SOTER was raised to the papacy upon the death of St. Anicetus, in 173. By the sweetness of his discourses, he comforted all persons with the tenderness of a father, and assisted the indigent with liberal alms, especially those who suffered for the faith. He liberally extended his charities, according to the custom of his predecessors, to remote churches, particularly to that of Corinth, to which he addressed an excellent letter, as St. Dionysius of Corinth testifies in his letter of thanks, who adds that his letter was found worthy to be read for their edification on Sundays at their assemblies to celebrate the divine mysteries, together with the letter of St. Clement, pope. St. Soter vigorously opposed the heresy of Montanus, and governed the church to the year 177.
Epipodius and Alexander were gentlemen of Lyons and devout disciples of Christ. In the 7th year of Marcus Aurelius’s reign and the 177th of Christ, they were captured and imprisoned. Epipodius was then brought before a judge who taunted What purpose have all the preceding tortures and executions served, if there still remain any who dare profess the name of Christ?” 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 was not amused and continued his torments while the people were set into a rage and demanded his torture and death. The judge ordered that Epipodius be punched in the mouth, causing him to lose teeth and bleed profusely. When Epipodius refused to denounce Christ again he was ordered to be stretched on the rack and had iron hooks attached to his ribs that ripped his flesh from the bones. This still did not break Epipodius wh then told the judge.
“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.”
After being tortured he was beheaded. Alexander was treated the same way and after refusing to denounce Christ was tortured on the rack and scourged. When this failed to break him he was ordered to be crucified but died of his injuries while being nailed to his cross. Their relics lay deposited with that of St. Irenæus, in the church of St. John, now called of St. Irenæus in Lyon France.