Daily Saints

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) July 18th – St. Symphorosa & Seven Sons

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) July 18th – St. Symphorosa & Seven Sons

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അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) July 18th – St. Symphorosa & Seven Sons

Symphorosa (Italian: Sinforosa; died circa AD 138) is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. According to tradition, she was martyred with her seven sons at Tibur (present Tivoli, Lazio, Italy) toward the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-38).

The story of their martyrdom is told in an ancient Passio, the credibility of which is seriously questioned by many modern hagiologists. According to the Passio, Symphorosa was a Tiburtine matron and the widow of the tribune Getulius, who had previously been martyred under Emperor Hadrian at Gabii (present Torri in Sabina), a town of the Sabines, Italy.

When Emperor Hadrian had completed his costly palace at Tibur and began its dedication by offering pagan sacrifices, he received the following locution from the pagan “gods”: “The widow Symphorosa and her sons torment us daily by invoking their God. If she and her sons offer sacrifice, we promise to give you all that you ask for.” In the Catholic tradition, this locution can be attributed to demons under the guise of pagan deities, who would be tormented by Christian prayer.

When all of the Emperor’s attempts to induce Symphorosa and her sons to sacrifice to the pagan Roman gods were unsuccessful, he ordered her to be brought to the Temple of Hercules, where, after various tortures, she was thrown into the Anio River with a heavy rock fastened to her neck.

Her brother Eugenius, who was a member of the council of Tibur, buried her in the outskirts of the city.
Her seven sons
The next day, the emperor summoned Symphorosa’s seven sons, and being equally unsuccessful in his attempts to make them sacrifice to the gods, he ordered them to be tied to seven stakes erected for the purpose round the Temple of Hercules. Their members were disjointed with windlasses.

Then, each of them suffered a different kind of martyrdom. Crescens was pierced through the throat, Julian through the breast, Nemesius through the heart, Primitivus was wounded at the navel, Justinus was pierced through the back, Stracteus (Stacteus, Estacteus) was wounded at the side, and Eugenius was cleft in two parts from top to bottom.

Their bodies were thrown en masse into a deep ditch at a place the pagan priests afterwards called Ad septem Biothanatos (the Greek word biodanatos, or rather biaiodanatos, was employed for self-murderers and, by the pagans, applied to Christians who suffered martyrdom). Hereupon the persecution ceased for one year and six months, during which period the bodies of the martyrs were buried on the Via Tiburtina, eight or nine miles (14 km) from Rome.

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