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SAINT OF THE DAY – 14 August – Saint Eusebius of Rome (Died 357) Priest, Confessor

Saint of the Day – 14 August – Saint Eusebius of Rome (Died 357) Priest, Confessor – birth date and place unknown and died in 357 of maltreatment in prison in Rome, Italy.

St Eusebius was a Roman Patrician and Priest and is mentioned with distinction in Latin Martyrologies. The ancient Martyrology of Usuard styles him Confessor at Rome under the Arian Emperor Constantius and adds, that he was buried in the cemetery of Callistus. Some later Martyrologies call him a martyr. Saint Eusebius, among the Christians of his time, distinguished himself by his spirit of prayer and his apostolic virtues. The “Acta Eusebii”, discovered in 1479 tells the history of his arrest – When Pope Liberius was permitted by Constantius II to return to Rome, supposedly at the price of his orthodoxy, by subscribing to the Arian formula of Sirmium, Eusebius, a Priest, an ardent defender of the Nicene Creed, publicly preached against both Pope and Emperor, branding them as heretics. When the orthodox party who supported the rival and orthodox Pope Felix, were excluded from all the Churches, Eusebius continued to say Mass in his own house. He was arrested and brought before Liberius and Constantius and boldly reproved Liberius for deserting the Catholic faith. In consequence he was placed in a dungeon four feet wide, where he spent his time in prayer and died after seven months.

His body was buried in the cemetery of Callistus with the simple inscription: “Eusebio homini Dei.” This act of mercy was performed by two Priests, Gregory and Orosius, friends of Eusebius. Gregory was put into the same prison and also died there. He was buried by Orosius, who professes to be the writer of the “Acta Eusebii”.

The Church of St Eusebius on the Equiline in Rome is dedicated to him and is said to have been built on the site of his house. It is mentioned in the acts of a Council held in Rome under Pope Symmachus in 498 (Manai, VIII, 236-237) and was rebuilt by Pope Zacharias. It is a titular Church of the Cardinal-priest and the Station Church for the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent. It once belonged to the Celestines (an order now extinct). Pope Leo XII gave it to the Jesuits. A masterful artwork picture representing the triumph of Eusebius, by Anton Raphael Mengs, 1759 is on the ceiling, see above.

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