Friday, October 17, 2008

Know Your Saints: Symphorian

One of the earliest saints to be widely recognized, Symphorian was martyred in 178 and already venerated in the early years of the empire of the Franks. His cult was especially popular in Tours and he is today the patron saint of Autin.

Symphorian was the son of a Roman senator named Faustus under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, during the time in which Christianity was still illegal in the Roman Empire. As a young man studying in Autun, Symphorian was brought before the governor Heraclitus for refusing to worship the goddess Cybele. He supposedly responded by asking for tools to destroy the statue of Cybele and was arrested, but as he was the son of a senator, Symphorian was given the chance to recant.

Symphorian refused to recant, even after being offered bribes to do so. On 22 August, 178, he was executed by beheading. His feast day is celebrated on 22 August, along with the feast of Saint Timothy.

1 comment:

The Pagan Temple said...

They recently discovered an old temple to Cybele that would bring tears to Symphorian's eyes, in Bulgaria. It was from a century or more after his time. If it was a coin you would say it was in mint condition. It's been put on the auction block, but some people are trying to save it as a Bulgarian national heritage site.

I think I have to side with Symphorian on this one. Priests of Cybele were known to castrate themselves in the course of fertility rites. I'm all for freedom of religion but some things are a little too freaky even for me.