Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A Holy card depicting the martyrdom of Anastasius

Saint Anastasius of Persia

Saint & Martyr
Born 6th Century Persia
Died 22 January 628 Euphrates Valley

Feast day 22 January
Martyr, originally a Persian called Magundat. Once a magician, Anastasius was a soldier in the army of King Khusrow II, ruler of Persia, when that ruler carried the Holy Cross from Jerusalem to Persia. He was so impressed with the relic and with the demeanor of the Christians that he left the army, became a Christian, and then a monk in Jerusalem. After seven years, Anastasius went to Persia to convert his own people. He was taken prisoner and promised honors by King Khusrow if he denied Christ. Remaining constant in the faith, Anastasius was strangled and beheaded with 68 or 70 other Christians on January 22, 628. His remains were taken to Palestine, and later Rome.

Saint Anastasius of Persia (born with the name Magundat), once a member of the Zoroastrian Magi caste, became a convert of the Holy Cross and was martyred in 628.

Anastasius was a soldier in the army of Khusrau II (d. 628) when that monarch carried the True Cross from Jerusalem to Sassanid Persia. The occasion prompted him to ask for information; then he left the army, became a Christian, and afterwards a monk in Jerusalem. His Persian name, Magundat, he changed to Anastasius. After seven years of the monastic observance, he was moved, as he thought, by the Holy Ghost to go in quest of martyrdom and went to Caesarea, then subject to the Persians.

Reproaching his countrymen for their magic and fireworship, both of which he had once practised, he was taken prisoner, cruelly tortured to make him abjure, and finally carried down near the Euphrates, to a place called Barsaloe (or Bethsaloe according to the Bollandists), where his tortures were renewed while at the same time the highest honours in the service of King Chosroes were promised him if he would renou
nce Christianity.

Finally, with seventy others, he was strangled to death and decapitated, on January 22, 628. His body, which was thrown to the dogs, but was left untouched by them, was carried from there to Palestine, afterwards to Constantinople, and finally to Rome.

A Passio written in Greek was devoted to the saint. An adapted Latin translation, possibly by Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury, was available to the Anglo-Saxon church historian Bede, who criticised the result and took it upon himself to 'improve' it. There are no surviving manuscripts of Bede's revision, though one did survive as late as the 15th century.

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