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Saint Agapius

Saint Agapius or Ἀγάπιος in Classical Greek has his story recorded by the historian Eusebius of Caesarea in the Martyrs of Palestine. During the Diocletian persecutions in 304 AD, he was arrested for refusing to recant his Christian faith. Several times he was brought in chains to the Judges who sat in the Arena games but they were hopeful that Saint Agapius would eventually recant and so they kept staying the execution. Things came finally to a head when Emperor Maximinus presided over a series of games in which Saint Agapius was brought into again. The Emperor offered a full pardon in front of the crowd on the sole condition that he just recant his faith. When he refused, the Emperor sentenced him to be mauled to death by a bear in the games.

It was noted by Eusebius that not only did Saint Agapius refuse the pardon, he also cheerfully went to his sentence. He laughed as he rushed towards the bear, showing no fear or anger towards the creature and Emperor. Though very heavily wounded, he did not die from the bear's attacks. The Roman soldiers then tied heavy stones to his feat and had him drowned in the Mediterranean sea the next morning.

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