Chapter XI.—Concerning Macedonius, Theodulus, Gratian, Busiris, Basil, and Eupsychius, who suffered Martyrdom in those Times.
About the same period, Macedonius, Theodulus, and Tatian, who were Phrygians by birth, courageously endured martyrdom. 1388 A temple of Misos, a city of Phrygia, having been reopened by the governor of the province, after it had been closed many years, these martyrs entered therein by night, and destroyed the images. As other individuals were arrested, and were on the point of being punished for the deed, they avowed themselves the actors in the transaction. They might have escaped all further punishment by offering sacrifices to idols; but the governor could not persuade them to accept acquittal on these terms. His persuasions being ineffectual, he maltreated them in a variety of forms, and finally extended them on a gridiron, beneath which a fire had been lighted. While they were being consumed, they said to the governor, “Amachus (for that was his name), “if you desire cooked flesh, give orders that our bodies may be turned with the other side to the fire, in order that we may not seem, to your taste, half cooked.” Thus did these men nobly endure and lay down their life amid the punishments.
It is said that Busiris also obtained renown at Ancyra, a city of Galatia, by his brilliant and most manly confession of religion. He belonged to the heresy denominated Eucratites; the governor of the province apprehended and designed to maltreat him for ridiculing the pagans. He led him forth publicly to the torture chamber and commanded that he should be elevated. Busiris raised both hands to his head so as to leave his sides exposed, and told the governor that it would be useless for the executioners to lift him up to the instrument of torture and afterwards to lower him, as he was ready without this to yield to the tortures as much as might be desired. The governor was surprised at this proposition; but his astonishment was increased by what followed, for Busiris remained firm, holding up both hands and receiving the blows while his sides were being torn with hooks, according to the governors direction. Immediately afterwards, Busiris was consigned to prison, but was released not long subsequently, on the announcement of the death of Julian. He lived till the reign of Theodosius, renounced his former heresy, and joined the Catholic Church.
It is said that about this period, Basil, 1389 presbyter of the church of Ancyra, and Eupsychius, 1390 a noble of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who had but just taken to himself a wife and was still a bridegroom, terminated their lives by martyrdom. I believe that Eupsychius was condemned in consequence of the demolition of the temple of Fortune, which, as I have already stated, excited the anger of the emperor against all the inhabitants of Cæsarea. Indeed, all the actors in this transaction were condemned, some to death, and others to banishment. Basil had long manifested great zeal in defense of the faith, and had opposed the Arians during the reign of Constantius; hence the partisans of Eudoxius had prohibited him from holding public assemblies. On the accession of Julian, however, he traveled hither and thither, publicly and openly exhorting the Christians to cleave to their own doctrines, and to refrain from defiling themselves with pagan sacrifices and libations. He urged them to account as nothing the honors which the emperor might bestow upon them, such honors being but of short duration, and leading to eternal infamy. His zeal had already rendered him an object of suspicion and of hatred to the pagans, when one day he chanced to pass by and see them offering sacrifice. He sighed deeply, and uttered a prayer to the effect that no Christian might be suffered to fall into similar delusion. He was seized on the spot, and conveyed to the governor of the province. Many tortures were inflicted on him; and in the manly endurance of this anguish he received the crown of martyrdom.
Even if these cruelties were perpetrated contrary to the will of the emperor, yet they serve to prove that his reign was signalized by martyrs neither ignoble nor few.
For the sake of clearness, I have related all these occurrences collectively, although the martyrdoms really occurred at different periods.
For the Phrygians, Soc. iii. 15.334:1389
Independent with Soz.334:1390
Basil, M. Ep. c.; Greg. Naz. Ep. lviii.