Sunday, June 17, 2012


St. Pionius

Feast day: February 1
Died: 250 OR 251.

Martyr with Sabinus and Asclepiades. A priest from Smyma, Pionius was put to death with a group of fifteen companions under Emperor Traj anus Decius. They were arrested during a liturgical celebration. Known for his wisdom and abilities as a preacher, Pionius and his companions were ordered to make sacrifices to the gods and, after they refused, they were put to terrible tortures before being burned at the stake.

 Saint Pionius was a priest of Smyrna who suffered under Decius together with 15 companions. They were arrested during a liturgical celebration commemorating the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp. They were burned at the stake after a long interrogation and torture, as recounted by an eye-witness

Martyred at Smyrna, 12 March, 250. Pionius, with Sabina and Asclepiades, was arrested on 23 February, the anniversary of St. Polycarp's martyrdom. They had passed the previous night in prayer and fasting. Knowing of his impending arrest, Pionius had fastened fetters round the necks of himself and his companions to signify that they were already condemned. People seeing them led off unbound might suppose that they were prepared, like so many other Christians in Smyrna, the bishop included, to sacrifice. Early in the morning, after they had partaken of the Holy Bread and of water, they were conducted to the forum. The place was thronged with Greeks and Jews, for it was a great Sabbath and therefore a general holiday in the city — an indication of the importance of the Jews in Smyrna. Pionius harangued the multitude. He begged the Greeks to remember what Homer had said about not mocking the corpse of an enemy. Let them refrain therefore from mocking those Christians who had apostatized. He then turned to the Jews and quoted Moses and Solomon to the same effect. He ended with a vehement refusal to offer sacrifice. Then followed the usual interrogatories and threats, after which Pionius and his companions were relegated to prison, to await the arrival of the proconsul. Here they found other confessors, among them a Montanist. Many pagans visited them, and Christians who had sacrificed, lamenting their fall. The latter Pionius exhorted to repentance. A further attempt before the arrival of the proconsul was made to force Pionius and his companions into an act of apostasy. They were carried off to a temple where every effort was made to compel them to participate in a sacrifice. On 12 March, Pionius was brought before the proconsul who first tried persuasion and then torture. Both having failed, Pionius was condemned to be burnt alive. He suffered in company with Metrodorus, a Marcionite priest.

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