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Sts. Peter and Dionysia, martyrs

Name: Sts. Peter and Dionysia, martyrs
Date: 15 May

In the Decian persecution of the year 250 the blood of the Christians flowed atLampsacus, a city of Asia Minor. A young Christian named Peter was the first to be ledbefore the proconsul; he was told to sacrifice to the goddess Venus. His energeticcondemnation of impurity and his defense of his God, the king of all ages, caused him tobe condemned to die for the name of Christ, and he went joyfully to his torments. Hewas bound to a wheel by iron chains and his bones were broken, but he raised his eyes toheaven with a smiling countenance and said, “I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ,because Thou hast given me patience, and made me victorious over the cruel tyrant.” Theproconsul saw how little the tortures availed, and ordered the martyr to be beheaded.

About the same time, the same proconsul who condemned Peter was on his way to Troas,when three Christians were brought to him; the first two, Andrew and Paul, werescourged and imprisoned, after being condemned to be stoned to death in a short time. The third of these apostatized. But a Christian virgin named Dionysia showed a greatwillingness to suffer, and by it gained the crown which the unfortunate apostate lost. Hishistory shows us that those who abandon Christ to avoid suffering with Him, lose all. With the other spectators Dionysia saw him undergo torture, and heard him cry out, withthe strength that was left to him, “I never was a Christian! I will sacrifice to the gods!” Thereupon he was untied, and he offered sacrifice. But he immediately becamepossessed by the devil, and fell to the earth in a fit, bit out his tongue, and expired. “Wretched man!” Dionysia cried; “Why, in exchange for one hour of life, have youchosen eternal and indescribable pains?” She was seized and led away to be exposed tooutrage, but her Guardian Angel appeared by her side and protected the spouse of Christ.

While Andrew and Paul were under execution, Dionysia heard the commotion made bythe crowd of spectators and began to weep; and having escaped from those who guardedher, ran to the place where they were. Upon seeing them, she cried out, “That I may livewith you eternally in heaven, I will die with you on earth.” And Christ, who is the crownof virgins and the strength of martyrs, gave her the desire of her heart; the proconsulcommanded that she be decapitated.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral:

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