Codex Guide : chapter VIII.St Eutrope  

 

                                                                              

 

  Chapter VIII. Saints' Tombs to be visited. VIII St Eutrope

 

  The beginning of the Passion of St Eutropius, most holy bishop and martyr

 

  Eutropius, most glorious martyr of Christ, charming bishop of Saintes, born to a pagan house of Persia, stepped forth from the most distinguished family in the whole world: the ruler of Babylon, named Xerxes, beget him of Queen Guiva, as men do. No man could be of more noble birth than he, nor, after his conversion, more humble in faith and works.

  In his boyhood he was taught Chaldean and Greek letters, and he equalled the greatest heroes in the whole realm in intelligence and curiosity. Either wanting to find out if perhaps in his court there were people more inquisitive than he, or else to explore something foreign, he went to King Herod in Galilee.

  When he had stayed some days in Herod's court, he heard the news around the city of the miracles of the Saviour, and searched for him in the country, following He whom had gone away across the sea of Galilee, which is Tiberius, with a great crowd of people who were following Him seeing the miracles that He was doing.

 

  By divine grace, he arrived the day the Saviour with His boundless generosity fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes.

  Seeing this miracle, and hearing stories of other miracles, young Eutropius believed a little in him, and wanted to talk to him, but didn’t dare, because he dreaded the different opinion of Nicanoris, his tutor, into whose care his respected father had handed him.

  Satisfied, however, by the bread of divine grace, he continued to Jerusalem, and when he had worshipped the Creator in the temple according to the custom of the gentiles, returned to the house of his father.

  And Eutropius began to tell him about everything he had seen. ‘I saw’, he said, ‘A man called Christ, like whom nothing else in the world can be found. He gives life to the dead, cleansing to lepers, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, restoration to the lame, and health to all kinds of sicknesses.

  'What more? He satisfied 5000 men with five loaves and two fish, with me watching. His followers filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. The famines, storms and deaths typical in such places have no place there. If now the creator of heaven and earth considered it worthy to send Him to our country, how I wish your grace would give Him honour!'

 

  And the Emir, hearing this and more from the boy, quietly and carefully thought how he might see Him.

  After a short time, having just got permission from the king, the boy went back to Jerusalem wanting to see the Lord again, and to worship in the Temple. With him went Warradac, the army commander, and Nicanor, the king’s servant and the tutor of the boy, and many other nobles whom the duke had trusted to guard them.   One day when he was returning from the Temple, and the Lord was coming back from Bethany where he had raised Lazasus, Eutropius met a huge crowd flocking together from all directions between the gates of Jerusalem. Seeing the Hebrew boys and other phalanxes of people meeting Him, laying out branches of olives and palms and other trees and flowers on the His road, and singing ‘Hosanna to the son of David’, he rejoiced more than it is possible to say, and eagerly spread flowers before Him.

 

  Then he learned from people that He had raised Lazarus, who had been dead four days, and rejoiced more.  

  But then as he could not see the Saviour fully because of the surrounding crowds, he began to feel sad.

  Indeed he was of those about whom John testified in his Gospel, saying:

  And there were certain gentiles among them that came up to worship at the feast day. These came to Philip, who was in the city Bethsaida of Galilee, and said to him, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip, the companion of Andrew, told the Lord.

  And at once, St Eutropius with his companions saw Him openly, and secretly began to believe in Him. In time he developed a deep companionship with Him, but dreaded the opinion of his escorts, whom his father had ordered to care for him strictly and to being him back home. Then he learned from people that the Jews were about to kill the Saviour, and refusing to watch the death of so great a man, the following day he left Jerusalem.

  And so Eutropius returned to his father, and related to everyone in his own country what he had seen of the Saviour in Jerusalem. Then after staying a while in Babylon, and wanting to adhere utterly to the Saviour, and believing Him still physically alive, unknown to his father he returned again forty-five days later to Jerusalem with a squire. Soon he heard the Lord whom he had secretly held dear had been crucified and killed by the Jews, and grieved greatly.

 

  When Eutropius learned He had risen from the dead, and appeared to his Disciples, and ascended into heaven in triumph, he rejoiced greatly. At last, on the day of Pentecost, he joined with the disciples of the Lord, and eagerly learned from them how the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire had descended upon them, filled their hearts and taught them every kind of language.

  Filled with the Holy Spirit Eutropius returned to Babylon, found the Jews in that land and, burning with zeal for the love of Christ, killed them with a sword because of those who had condemned the Lord in Jerusalem.     Then after time had passed, and the Disciples of the Lord had gone to different parts of the world, two golden candlesticks, shining with faith by divine grace, that is, Simon and Thaddeus, Apostles of the Lord, were sent to Persia.

When they entered Babylon, they ejected the mages Zaroen and Arfaxat who had been turning away the people from the faith with empty words and signs. Dispensing to everybody the seed of eternal life, the Apostles began to shake with all kinds of miracles.

 

  Then the sainted boy Eutropius, rejoicing at their arrival, persuaded the king to abandon the errors of the pagans and their idols, and to adopt the Christian faith, through which he would be worthy of reaching the kingdom of heaven.

  What more? Immediately the Apostles preached, the king and his son with many other Babylonian citizens were reborn by baptism at the hands of those very Apostles. Finally when the whole city was converted to the Lord’s faith, the Apostles set up a church with a full hierarchy, and they ordained Abdias, a man of great faith imbued with the teaching of the gospels whom they had brought with them from Jerusalem, with Eutropius as archdeacon, and they went to other cities to preach the word of God.

  And when not many days afterwards in another place they finished their present lives through the triumph of martyrdom, St Eutropius committed their passion to writing, in Chaldean and Greek letters.

  And hearing the fame of the miracles and virtues of St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, who now discharged his duties in Rome, Eutropius renounced worldly things and with the consent of the bishop, and the ignorance of his father, he went to Rome.

  He was well received there by St Peter who imbued him with the teachings of the Lord, and having stayed some time with him, was ordered and advised by him to undertake preaching in Gaul, with other brothers

When they entered the city called Saintes, he saw that from all sides it was well surrounded with ancient walls and high towers, situated in the best place, equally broad and long, with all good things and a profusion of foods, the best meadows, clear springs, protected by a huge river, with gardens and orchards and vineyards all around the city, with healthy air, open spaces and streets, charming in many ways.

  This good disciple began to think whether God would think it worthy to convert that beautiful and distinguished city from the errors of pagans and the culture of idols, to be submitted to Christian laws.

 

  And so, going through the streets broad and narrow, he insistently preached the word of God.

  As soon as the citizens found out he was a foreigner and heard him preach the word about the Holy Trinity and baptism, which they had not heard before, they threw him out of the city, burning him with torches and beating him with great sticks.

  He bore this persecution patiently, and built a wooden shack on a mountain near the city, where he stayed for a long time. He preached by day in the city, and spent the night in the hut, in vigils, in prayer and in tears.

  When after a long time he had been able by his preaching to convert only a few to Christ, he recalled the precept of the Lord:

  ‘Whoever does not receive you, or listen to your words, leave the doors of the house or the city, and shake the dust from your feet’.

 

  At that he went to Rome again, where St Peter had by now been crucified, and was admonished by St Clement, now pope, to return to the city and to preach the doctrines of the Lord and await his martyrdom there.

  Finally ordained bishop by this Pope, along with St Denis, who had come to Rome from Greece, as well as other brothers directed by Clement to preach in Gaul, he reached as far as Auxerre. There, parting with embraces of divine goodwill and tearful good wishes, Denis with his companions went to the city of Paris, and St Eutropius went back to Saintes. Bravely spirited to endure martyrdom, and filled with the zeal of Christ, he strengthened himself, saying,

  The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man will do to me;

If persecutors kill the body, they cannot kill the soul;

Man must give all his being, hide for a hide, for his soul.

 

  Then resolutely enter the city, like a man in love, he preached the faith of the Lord, at times that were convenient, and times that were not, showing everyone the incarnation, passion, resurrection, ascension of Christ and everything else He allowed himself to suffer for the good of humanity. And he openly preached that no one could enter the kingdom of God, if not reborn from water and the Holy Spirit.

  As before, he stayed at night in the shack.

  By that preaching, with diving grace coming down from above, many gentiles in the city were baptised, among whom was a daughter of the king of the city, called Eustella, who was regenerated by the spring of baptism. When he father learned thus, he detested her and banished her from the city.

  She, seeing herself banished for the love of Christ, began to live near the hut of the holy man. However her father, stung by the love of his daughter, often sent messengers to her asking her to return home.

  She answered that she would rather live outside the city for Christ, than return to the city to be contaminated with idols.

  Then her father, moved by anger, called the murderers of the whole city to him, of which there were 150, and ordered them to kill St Eutropius and to bring back the virgin with them to her father’s house.

  On the 30th April, joined by a crown of pagans, they went to the hut and first they stoned the most holy man of God, then they beat him, naked, with sticks and leaded whips, and only then did they cut off his head with axes.

  The girl, along with other Christians, buried him by night in his hut, and as long as she lived she observed a lamplight vigil with divine deference. When her life came to its hold end, she instructed that she be buried near the tomb of the master in her own free estate.

 

  Afterwards an enormous basilica of wonderful workmanship was built by Christians above the body of St Eutropius, in the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in which time after time people with all kinds of illnesses were cured, the crippled were raised, the blind were given sight, the deaf were restored to hearing, and the possessed were liberated. To all those who ask with a sincere heart, help is given, and iron chains and manacles and other such instruments from which St Eutropius freed prisoners, are hung there.

  May he obtain for us by his merits and prayers, favour with God, wash away out sins, bring back to life virtues in us, guide our lives, snatch us in mortal danger from the jaws of hell, placate for us the anger of the eternal judge at the Last Judgement , and lead us to the lofty heights of the Kingdom, where stands Our Lord Jesus Christ who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns as God, world without end.

  Amen.

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delhommeb at wanadoo.fr - 01/01/2013