September 9, 2020: ST. GORGONIUS
September 9, 2020: COMMEMORATION OF ST. GORGONIUS, MARTYR
This saint fought even unto death for the law of his God, and feared not the words of the wicked; for he was founded on a firm rock.
May the intercession, O Lord, of blessed Gorgonius thy Martyr, bring comfort to thy people, and fill them with spiritual joy on this his sacred festival. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Gorgonius, whom the Church associates in the honours paid to our Lady on the second day of her earthly life, was chamberlain of the emperor Diocletian. The ‘saints of Caesar’s household,’ whose greetings St. Paul sent to the Philippians, had, ever since then, been increasing in numbers. Eusebius shows that before the last persecution they were in great favour with the emperors; such preference was shown them, that they were exempted from all participation in public rites in order that they might accept the government of the provinces. In the palace, their wives, children, and servants, were allowed full liberty to practise and profess their faith; so much so, that the court of Nicomedia formed as it were a little church around the empress Prisca and her daughter Valeria, who were then Christians, but who, unhappily, did not persevere.
It required all the craft of Galerius to make Diocletian publish the bloody edicts of the year 303 against the religion of such devoted men, whom he loved, says Eusebius, as his own sons. But once the gate of martyrdom was opened, and Cӕsar had become Nero once more, the officers of the palace surpassed in glory all the other heroes of Christ illustrious for their courage throughout the empire, and even beyond its limits. Chief among these valiant men, the historian mentions Peter, Dorotheus, and Gorgonius. The relics of the last-named were afterwards translated to Rome; it is on this account that he has a place in the Roman calendar, where he has the honour of being in the cortège of the Mother of God.
An account of Ss. Gorgonius, Dorotheus, and Companions, Martyrs.
Dorotheus was first chamberlain to the Emperor Dioclesian; Gorgonius and Peter were under chamberlains. They were the three principal eunuchs of the palace; had sometimes borne the weight of the most difficult affairs of state, and been the support both of the emperor and of his court. When the palace of Nicomedia was set on fire, probably by the contrivance of Galerius, who unjustly charged the Christians with it, Dorotheus, with Gorgonius, and several others under his dependence, were very cruelly tortured, and at length strangled. Peter having refused to sacrifice, was hung up naked in the air, and whipped on all parts of his body. After the executioners had torn his flesh in such a manner that the bones started out, without being able to shake his constancy, they poured salt and vinegar into his wounds; then had a gridiron brought and a fire made, on which they broiled him as we do meat, telling him at the same time that he should continue in that condition if he would not obey; but he was resolute to the last, and died under the torture. The bodies of St. Dorotheus and his companions were cast into the sea by an order of Dioclesian, lest the Christians should worship them as gods, as Eusebius mentions: which mistake of the heathens, could only arise from the veneration which Christians paid to the relics of martyrs. The martyr, Gorgonius, whose name was famous at Rome, seems different from the former. The Liberian Calendar published by Bucherius, mentions his tomb on the Lavican way, and he was honoured with an office in the sacramentary of Pope Gelasius. Sigebert, in his chronicle on the year 764, Rabanus Maurus in his Martyrology, and others, relate that St. Chrodegang obtained from Rome, of Pope Paul, the relics of St. Gorgonius, and enriched with that treasure his great monastery of Gorze, situated two leagues from Metz. Among the poems of Pope Damasus is an epitaph on St. Gorgonius.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. V, Edition 1910;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
St. Gorgonius, pray for us.