Comments to: David Woods
Last Updated: January 1999

Ss. Luxurius, Camerinus, and Cisellus

The Passion of Ss. Luxurius, Camerinus and Cisellus (BHL 5092)

1. In their time the emperors Diocletian and Maximian were aroused by the devil to great savagery against the Christians, to tear down their churches, and burn their books. They afflicted with varied punishments many who believed in Christianity. They hoped that by their cruelty they would be able to overcome those whom the Lord in his mercy called to the palm of victory. Thus when idolators were not so mad as to rage against Christians in their own lands, the emperors sent judges throughout the whole world with their instructions to persecute Christians, so that they might be converted to the worship of their gods, or be killed by various penalties. At that time they sent a certain governor, Delphius, to Sardinia in order to fufil in that province which had been entrusted to him their instructions. When he was searching various areas to see if he could find any Christians who could agree with him, it happened that Luxurius a staunchly pagan apparitor was called to the Lord, and his soul was filled with divine inspiration.

2. He used keep a psalter on him since he wanted to read it; and when he read rapidly through the series of psalms he came to the 85th psalm where the prophet David says, "All the nations which you have made will come and worship in your presence, Lord, and will honour your name since you are great and achieve miracles; you alone are God." When he read this psalm carefully Luxurius' mind was opened, and he hastened to become a Christian. When he was marked by the sign of the cross of Christ he was made a catechumen. He then entered a church and heard people singing the psalm, "Repay your servant; I will live and I will guard your words." Upon hearing this he was strenghthened in his faith in Christ, rejoiced in his heart and praised him. Therefore he began to curse the vain and worthless statues, and keep watch for the day of judgement as the days went by, and devote his mind ceaselessly to the scriptures. Within a short time he had memorised the psalter and some of the prophets.

3. Having read through sacred scripture in part, he examined the moral teaching, and with total longing he received holy baptism. Thereafter he committed the Apostle and the holy gospels to memory. His soul had been brought alive, and although he was attending negligently to his earthly military career, and was secretly a Christian, he was unwilling to bring the matter out into the open. When Luxurius had achieved Christian innocence, that opponent and enemy of innocent minds insinuated to the governor through his attendants that the apparitor Luxurius held contempt for his authority, and wished to follow the superstition of the Christians. Upon hearing this the governor was moved to anger, and he ordered the other apparitores to present Luxurius bound to him so that he might have someone against whom to unleash his malice.

4. On seeing him he addressed him thus, "What madness has led you astray from the good conduct of your life ? I held you in the highest regard, and I had thought of giving you a place of honour among my highest officials. Yet in contempt of the emperors and to the detriment of the gods you secretly considered removing yourself from my authority." Luxurius said in reply to him, "If I had been engaged in the error of idolatory still, I would never have attained real honour. But I believe that I will now attain special honour through the living God Jesus Christ." The governor said to him, "Is he whom you mention better, then, than our emperors or the immortal gods ?" Luxurius replied, "My Lord Jesus Christ is the king of Heaven. He suffered, died, and rose again, and will endure for eternity. However your gods never even existed." The governor said, "If you want to escape the power of my sword, sacrifice to the gods." And Luxurius replied, "I have learned to offer the sacrifice of righteousness, that is to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to worship the worthless demons, since those who take their side will perish for eternity with them." The governor announced, "Let Luxurius be returned to his cell bound by most weighty chains, and consider to himself what is the practical thing for him."

5. When he had been freed again there were brought with him two neophyte youths, Cisillus and Camerinus. Then the governor, to whom the soldiers had brought them, asked the soldiers what they had learned about them. They said to him, "We heard that they are Christians." And because they were not old enough to be questioned by interrogation, he ordered that they be kept in the care of his office. After some days he ordered that Luxurius be presented again to his tribunal. When he was present he spoke thus to him in a grim voice, "How long will you distress yourself amidst these torments ? Think about your safety. Deny your God, and sacrifice to the Gods." Luxurius responded, "I cannot deny my God Jesus Christ, he whom the Christian soul confesses, just as I also do." The governor said, "Worship the power of the gods that your life might be conceded to you." Luxurius said, "How can I revere and adore constructions of wood, gold or silver which cannot move their eyelids to see me, or open their mouths to speak to me ?"

6. The governor was moved to anger by these words, and ordered that Luxurius be be whipped by four groups of four soldiers. However the servant of God remained steadfast in his faith as if someone other than he was being ordered to be continuously beaten. Then the emperor ordered that he be beaten with clubs. Steadfast and brave God's chosen one sung the praises of the Lord amidst the blows of the clubs so that you might have thought that his body did not feel the torture. However when the most wicked governor saw that Luxurius could not be overcome by these most savage punishments, but that his patience was surpassed by that of Luxurius, he passed sentence on 20 August against Luxurius and the youths Cisillus and Camerinus. He ordered that the youths be put to the sword outside of the city of Calaritas, and that their lifeless bodies be dumped. While that evil man was considering the disposal of the bodies of the martyrs Jesus Christ received unto himself the precious trust of their innocence; for by night Christians took away the bodies and buried them where there stands now the church of the confessor saint Lucifer.

7. He ordered that Luxurius be taken away somewhere also, and beheaded in an uninhabited area, in order to prevent the Christians from collecting his corpse and making a martyr for themselves. Accordingly [the soldiers] brought him to the territory of Forum-Traiensis, and beheaded him there outside the town. And although these most wicked men thought that saint Luxurius could be destroyed in a desert, Christ revealed to him a paradise there on account of his name. So great a multitude of Christians from different places gathered at his shrine that no- one could count them. With hymns and various torches they buried him, smothered in sweet smelling ointments, in a crypt outside the town. If those who have faith in his passion, according as necessary, call upon him also, there will follow wonderful favours. Let them give thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ who crowned for himself such a distinguished martyr. His is honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Back to Top of the Page

Select Bibliography

Primary Texts

Secondary Literature

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