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Saints Epipodius and Alexander

Saint Epipodius was born in Lyon and was a confirmed celibate bachelor. He had undertaken this vow of chastity so that he could fully dedicated his life and works to the promotion of Christianity during a time in which the Roman Empire was pressing with it's full weight to stamp out the quickly rising Faith. His best friend from childhood, Saint Alexander, was of Greek origin and the two frequently worked together in caring for Christians in Lyon.

In 177 AD, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Roman persecution of Christians in Gaul reached a terrible new height. The persecution began with Christians being forbidden from participating in the marketplace, forum and baths as well as being banned from visiting an public place. Not content with simply mocking the Christians, the Governor allowed violence to erupt. Christian homes were vandalized and known Christians arrested. In total there were 48 martyred including Bishop Pothinus (the first Bishop of Lugdunum), Saint Ponticus (a 15 year old Christian boy) and Saint Blandina (who was hung on a stake and left as food for wild beasts. When the animals refused to hurt her she was cast in a net and thrown in front of a wild bull).

Saints Epipodius and Alexander left the city following this persecution and took refuge nearby with a Christian widow. A servant betrayed the pair to the Roman authorities and soon the two were arrested. Both were tortured terribly and condemned to death. After a particularly terrible torture on the rack, Saint Epipodius was beheaded. Saint Alexander was beaten profusely by guards and crucified outside the town.

At nightfall, Christians still in the town recovered the two bodies and buried them on a hill nearby. Today their feast day is April 22nd and Saint Epipodius is the Patron Saint of Bachelors, victims of betrayal and victims of torture. The earliest mention of their martyrdom can be found in a homily of Saint Eucherius.

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