Saints & Martyrs

Saint Anastasios the Persian

Antastasios the Persian (d. 628), also known as Anastasius of Persia, was a Persian monk and martyr. Anastasios was a military commander in Asia Minor and Syria and was tortured and executed in Caesarea. After converting to Christianity, he believed that the Holy Spirit called upon him to be martyred. According to legend, his corpse was thrown to the dogs but they miraculously refused to eat it, thus preserving the body for burial.

Excerpt from the English translation of Passio S. Anastasii by Carmela Vircillio Franklin in The Latin Dossier of Anastasius the Persian: Hagiographic Translations and Transformations (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004)

The sellarius in charge of the prison who was a Christian, as was said, wanted the body of the martyr to be placed aside so that it could be identified. But the executioners who were Jews did not allow him.

When the sons of Iesdin learned of the death of the saint—for their servants had assisted the holy martyr by holding up his hands (cf. Ex 17. 12) as he was going to his death—they secretly gave much money to the executioners and convinced them to place his body apart. And on the following night, the brother from the martyr's monastery, taking with him the servants of the sons of Iesdin and some monks of those parts, came to pick up the body of the saint. And he found dogs eating the bodies of the dead, but the body of the martyr, which was lying apart next to them, was in tact. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones" (Psalm 116.15), and "He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken" (Psalm 34.20). He thus took the body of the martyr and wrapped it in precious cloths, which the sons of Iesdin had given, and he brought it to the monastery of the holy martyr Scrgius, which is about a mile from the above-mentioned village and deposited it there.

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