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Eparchius lived as a hermit priest in Angouleme, France, devoting himself to prayer. He became the abbot of a small circle of followers who came to live under his authority. The donations that the faithful brought him he spent on feeding the poor and ransoming prisoners. Frequently Eparchius obtained clemency for condemned criminals by his persuasive pleas for mercy before the judges. There was one case, however, when Eparchius' petitions to win pardon for a career criminal were thwarted by a mob demanding his blood. Eparchius thereupon sent one of his monks to the man's execution, telling him, "The Lord in his loving kindness will grant me this fellow creature whom man has refused to surrender. When you see him fall, pick him up and bring him back to me..." Eparchius now knelt to pray for the man. Suddenly, the condemned man fell from the gallows where he had been hung. The monk picked him up, and finding him alive and well, took him to Eparchius. Eparchius told the count who had ordered the criminal's execution, "You did not listen, but God deigned to listen. The man whom you handed over for execution he restored to life."
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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
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