Comments to: David Woods
Last Updated: February 1999

Ss. Fidelis, Exantus, and Carpophorus

The Passion of Ss. Fidelis, Exantus, and Carpophorus (BHL 2922)

1. When the sacrilegious emperor Maximiamus was residing at Milan, he ordered an army of his soldiers to return from battle with the Gauls into the province [of Italy]. Then saint Fidelis, together with his fellow soldiers Exantus and Carpophorus, who, although engaged in earthly military service from the earliest age, were distinguishing themselves in the service of the heavenly palace, came together in agreement and travelled to the territory of Comus. And when they had arrived at a place called Sylvula which was not far from the city of Comus, about one mile more or less, Carpophorus and Exantus halted there and hid themselves in Sylvula itself. But saint Fidelis continued all the way to Lake Como. And finding a boat there, he boarded it, and crossed the lake.

2. When Maximianus heard this, that Carpophorus, Fidelis and Exantus were Christians, and that they had slipped away in flight, he ordered his most trustworthy soldiers to follow after them. He instructed them to kill them by various means when had been able to find them. Then those in pursuit, hastening with all speed, reached Sylvula where Carpophorus and Exantus were in hiding, because Christ the Lord had decided to consecrate them as martyrs there. And when they had been found there, the persecutors beheaded and killed them.

3. The pursuit party then reached the territory of Comus, and finding a boat, they pressed on after saint Fidelis. And when they reached the village of Summolacunaus, they found saint Fidelis, and addressed him, saying, "Either sacrifice to the gods and return to the emperor with us, or be done done to death by various means." Saint Fidelis replied to them, "This is the place where Christ has ordered me to rest. I do not fear at all those punishments which you intend to inflict upon me since I have served Christ the Lord devotedly since my childhood. For even when engaged in earthly military service, I did not serve an earthly empire, but remained oboedient to my heavenly king. And I did this in order to recall the pagans serving idols from their error to the way of truth."

4. His pursuers then roared, beat him with their clubs and said, "Unless you sacrifice to the gods today and renounce the superstition which you practice, you will be done to death by various means." But saint Fidelis addressed them, saying, "If you believe in my Lord Jesus Christ not only will you not suffer those penalties with which you threaten me, but you will even attain eternal glory with me."

5. Then, shaking, one of the persecutors said to his other colleagues, "What are we to do ? If we let our fellow soldier go, we will suffer common condemnnation by the emperor; and if we kill him, we are guilty of our brother's blood." And after this, the man who had spoken took himself off secretly and made a grave in which to hide the body of saint Fidelis. And, returning to saint Fidelis again, he felt sorry for him, and said to him, "Brother Fidelis, take thought for your life and sacrifice to the gods so that we do not turn out to be guilty of your blood." But saint Fidelis replied, "If you wanted to agree with me, and your choice were true, you would believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and choose to die for the name of Christ, since this is the choice which leads to eternal life. But do not coax me to desert him whom I have always devotedly served."

6. And when he had said this, the persecutors inflicted severe punishments upon him. But saint Fidelis steadfastly declared, "The punishments which you inflict do not pain, but refresh me." The murderers then bound saint Fidelis and led him to a place called Turriculus where a pine-tree had grown near a village of sailors, and there they chopped off his head. And when he had been beheaded, there occurred a hurricane and a great flash of light so that the persecutors themselves might recognise it now also, that the God Christ had indeed taken up the soul of his martyr.

7. After these events, in order that the power of God might be more fully revealed, one of the persecutors was seized by an unclean spirit and began to shout, "Saint Fidelis, free me and when I have been freed I will bury your corpse with great reverence." And while he was shouting this at the corpse of the most blessed martyr, he touched it, and he was freed from the demon as soon as he did so.

8. And when the persecutors had seen this, they fled to a boat in fear and trembling. And boarding the boat, they returned with all haste to their leader Maximianus. And when they reported what they had seen, the sacrilegious emperor Maximianus ordered them never to tell anyone the wonders which God had revealed through his most faithful martyr.

9. Saint Fidelis was beheaded under the emperor Maximianus on the 5th day before the kalends of November (28 October) during the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ whose is the honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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Since 17 September 1999
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Copyright © 1999, David Woods. This file may be copied for the purpose of private research only.