St. Fructuosus of Tarragona
A bishop and martyr; died 21 January, 259. During the night of 16 January, he, together with his deacons Augurius and Eulogius, was led into prison, and on 21 January tried by the judge Aemilianus. He confessed that he was a Christian and a bishop, whereupon all three were sentenced to be burnt alive. They underwent the ordeal courageously, and, praying an
Bishop and Martyr
Feast day January 21
Saint Fructuosus of Tarragona (Catalan: Sant Fructuós (died 259) was a bishop and Christian saint and martyr, the outstanding name in the early history of Christianity in Hispania. He was bishop of Tarragona and was arrested during the persecutions of Christians under the Roman Emperor Valerian (reigned 253 - 260). Along with him were two deacons, St. Augurius and St. Eulogius. In 259, he was questioned by the praeses Aemilianus and burned at the stake in the local amphitheatre in Tarragona. The Acta of the martyrdom of the bishop Fructuosus and his deacons Augurius and Eulogius document his legend; they are the earliest Hispanic Acta, "marked by a realistic simplicity which contrasts very favourably with many of the Acta of Diocletian's persecution".
The text documents the following details. St. Fructuosus, and his deacons were just going to bed when they were arrested. They were examined, at which point they affirmed their belief in the Christian God. They were then sentenced to be burnt. Officers were posted to prevent any sort of disturbance breaking out. They were not completely successful, though, and near the gate of the amphitheatre some of the Christians were able to get close to Fructuosus, and one of them asked him for his prayers. St. Fructuosus replied, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, "I am bound to bear in mind the whole universal Church from east to west." He then added some words of consolation and encouragement to the assembled. As the flames rose and enveloped the martyrs, they stretched out their arms, praying to their God until they died.
His Acta are referred to in a hymn by Prudentius and praised and extensively quoted by Augustine of Hippo. The historical list of the bishops of Tarragona, therefore, begins with Fructuosus.
St Fructuosus' feast day is January 21.