St. Severianus, Bishop of Scythopolis, Martyr
A.D. 452, or 453.
IN the reign of Marcian and St. Pulcheria, the council of Chalcedon which condemned the Eutychian heresy, was received by St. Euthymius, and by a great part of the monks of Palestine. But Theodosius, an ignorant Eutychian monk, and a man of a most tyrannical temper, under the protection of the empress Endoxia, widow of Theodosius the Younger, who lived at Jerusalem, perverted many among the monks themselves, and having obliged Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, to withdraw, unjustly possessed himself of that important see, and in a cruel persecution which he raised, filled Jerusalem with blood, as the emperor Marcian assures us: then, at the head of a band of soldiers, he carried desolation over the country. Many however had the courage to stand their ground. No one resisted him with greater zeal and resolution than Severianus, bishop of Scythopolis, and his recompense was the crown of martyrdom; for the furious soldiers seized his person, dragged him out of the city, and massacred him in the latter part of the year 452, or in the beginning of the year 453. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 21st of February. 1
Palestine, the country which for above one thousand four hundred years had been God’s chosen inheritance under the Old Law, when other nations were covered with the abominations of idolatory, had been sanctified by the presence, labours, and sufferings of our divine Redeemer, and had given birth to his church, and to so many saints, became often the theatre of enormous scandals, and has now, for many ages, been enslaved to the most impious and gross superstition. So many flourishing churches in the East, which were planted by the labours of the chiefest among the apostles, watered with the blood of innumerable glorious martyrs, illustrated with the bright light of the Ignatiuses, the Polycarps, the Basils, the Ephrems, and the Chrysostoms, blessed by the example and supported by the prayers of legions of eminent saints, are fallen a prey to almost universal vice and infidelity. With what floods of tears can we sufficiently bewail so grievous a misfortune, and implore the divine mercy in behalf of so many souls! How ought we to be alarmed at the consideration of so many dreadful examples of God’s inscrutable judgments, and tremble for ourselves! Let him who stands beware lest he fall. Hold fast what thou hast, says the oracle of the Holy Ghost to every one of us, lest another bear away thy crown.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume II: February.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.