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St. Hipparchus and Companions

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Death: 3rd or 4th Century

During a stay at Samosata (near Samsat, Syria), the eastern Roman caesar and emperor Galerius convened a festival for which he ordered his entire army to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. But two Christian magistrates, Hipparchus and Philotheus, stayed away from the festivities, spending their time in prayer before a cross they had made for their devotions. Five young men who visited them asked about the cross, prompting a discussion that led them to request baptism. A priest then came to the house, carrying in precious vessels the Eucharist and the holy oils covered with his cloak (an action that seems a likely antecedent to the current practice of covering the Blessed Sacrament with the priest's humeral veil in the Holy Thursday Eucharistic procession). The priest baptized the five young men and gave them Holy Communion. Soon afterward, Hipparchus, Philotheus, and the five new converts were summoned before Galerius. Resisting Galerius' demand that they offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, the seven were crucified together.


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