Monday, January 28, 2013

Saint Acacius


Saint Acacius was Bishop of Amida, Mesopotamia (modern-day Turkey) in 400–425, during the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

At that time, there were seven thousand Persian prisoners who were captured by the Romans and held in Amida. Filled with the utmost compassion at the sight of these men perishing from hunger and misery, St. Acacius resolved to help them. He assembled his clergy and addressed them in this manner: "Our God, my brethren, needs neither dishes nor cups; for He neither eats nor drinks, nor is in want of anything. Since then, by the liberality of its faithful members the Church possesses many vessels both of gold and silver, it behooves us to sell them, that by the money thus raised, we may be able to redeem the prisoners and also supply them with food."

Bishop Acacius sold all the precious golden and silver sacred vessels of his church and ransomed, clothed and fed the seven thousand. He even supported them for a while and furnished them with all that they needed to return to Persia.

When the ransomed captives returned home to Persia, they told their ruler of the great deeds performed by Bishop Acacius. His actions so impressed the Sassanid Emperor Bahram V that he is reported to have ordered an end to the persecution of the Christians.

Emperor Bahram V also desired to see St. Acacius face-to-face. Permission to do just that was given to Acacius by Emperor Theodosius II. St. Acacius' kindness and charity led to the termination of hostilities between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire, and Christianity was able to flourish for a while in the areas then controlled by the Sassanid Persians.

Saint Acacius' feast day is celebrated on April 9 (Roman Martyrology).

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