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Sts. Gordianus and Epimachus

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Martyrs, suffered under Julian the Apostate , 362, commemorated on 10 May. Gordianus was a judge but was so moved by the sanctity and sufferings of the saintly priest, Januarius, he embraced Christianity with many of his household. Being accused before his successor, or as some say before the prefect of the city, Apronianus, he was cruelly tortured and finally beheaded. His body was carried off by the Christians, and laid in a crypt on the Latin Way beside the body of St. Epimachus, who had been recently interred there. The two saints gave their name to the cemetery, and have ever since been joined together in the veneration of the Church. There is another Gordianus who suffered martyrdom (place uncertain) with two companions, and commemorated 17 September (Acta SS., XLV, 483); and a third, commemorated on 13 Sept, who with several companions was martyred in Pontus or Galatia (Acta SS XLIV, 55).

There are also several martyrs named Epimachus, and, owing to the meagreness of the information possessed concerning them less careful writers have confounded them greatly while the greater hagiologists are unable to agree as to their number or identity. The Bollandists mention five saints of this name: A martyr commemorated by the Greeks on 6 July, (Acta SS., XXIX, 280); (2) Epimachus and Azirianus martyrs venerated by the Copts and Abyssinians on on 31 Oct., (Acta SS., LXI, 684); (3) Epimachus of Pelusium in Egypt, venerated by the Greeks on 31 Oct. (Acta SS., LXI, 704); (4) Epimachus and Alexander, martyred at Alexandria in the persecution of Decius, commemorated in the Latin Church on 12 Dec.; Epimachus whose body with that of St. Gordianus, is honoured at Rome on 10 May. Most of the great writers have denied the existence of an Epimachus martyred at Rome, and account for the relics honoured there by asserting that the body of the Alexandrian Epimachus was transported thither shortly before the martyrdom of St. Gordianus Remi de Buck, the learned Bollandist, however, maintains that the evidence for the Roman Epimachus is too strong to be doubted, while he rejects the pretended translation of the relics of Epimachus of Alexandria.


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