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St. Eutychius (Eustathius) and Companions

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Death: ~741

During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Leo III (717-741), faithful eastern Catholics were subjected to a double threat. The emperor, an adherent of the Iconoclastic heresy that condemned the use of religious images, persecuted those who continued to uphold the Church's teaching regarding these holy objects. At the same time, Moslem forces under the khalif Isam were pressing into the Byzantine territories of the eastern Mediterranean, persecuting all the Christians they encountered. The nobleman Eutychius was one of many prisoners captured by the invaders and imprisoned. Thereafter, a series of battlefield losses enraged the khalif, prompting him to order mass executions of Christian prisoners. In city after city, every Christian was slaughtered. Even after much torture, Eutychius refused to deny his faith, and was martyred at Carrhae, Mesopotamia (Harran, Turkey). Those venerating Eutychius' relics obtained "healing of every kind," according to the chronicler of his martyrdom, Saint Theophanes (+817). Theophanes himself suffered torture, imprisionment, and exile for opposing the Iconoclastic heresy.


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