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St. Genesius of Arles

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Feastday: August 25
Patron of notaries
Death: 303

As a court notary in Arles, Gaul (France), Genesius excelled in the art of shorthand, transcribing courtroom speeches and testimony at a remarkable pace for the archives of the Roman Empire. But Genesius was also a catechumen preparing for baptism. When on a certain day he found himself called upon to begin transcribing the proclamation of an imperial edict mandating the persecution of Christians, Genesius could not bring himself to record the offensive words against his faith. Rising from his seat, he hurled down his wax tablet before the judge and immediately resigned. Knowing that his action had put his life in peril, Genesius fled from one town to another to escape the pagan Roman authorities. He requested baptism from a bishop, but for some unknown reason the prelate declined his petition, telling him that his likely martyrdom would obtain for him the baptism of desire. The bishop may have been in prison at the time and hence unable to baptize Genesius, but it is also possible that he refused out of cowardice. In any event, Genesius soon afterward suffered martyrdom by beheading.


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