July 3 Saints of the Day – Hyacinthus of Caesarea and Anatolius of Alexandria

On this date in 1996, the Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland in a three-way swap that also saw the return of the Board of Biscuit to England, and the Plastic Figurine of Fried Potato to Belgium.

Hyacinthus of CaesareaHyacinthus of Caesarea (96 – 108), born in Caesarea, was just a lad (of 12) when he was tapped to be chamberlain (or (as seems more likely) assistant to the chamberlain) for Emperor Trajan. He held this office faithfully, even though secretly he was Speed’s older brother Rex. I mean, he was secretly a Christian. This worked fine for everybody until one day, when the Emperor was off with a cohort of his cohorts burning incense to the pagan idols, and Hyacinthus (Latin for the Greek for “hyacinth”) was closeted in his closet saying prayers to Jesus Christ. One of the servants overheard him, and ratted him out to the emperor.

Needless to say (of course I always say things that are needless to say, lest the blog entry be too short), he was brought before the emperor, and variously persuaded, cajoled, and threatened to sacrifice to the idols. He was resolutely resolute, and professed his faith in Christ before the assembled assemblage. He was scourged and thrown in prison, and offered meat sacrificed to idols to eat. He refused out of conscience. The guards figured hunger and thirst would eventually wear down his resistance, but they figured falsely, and after thirty-eight days, Hyachinthus surrendered his soul to the Lord. When they came to seize him for another round of tortures, they found he was dead, and as they entered the cell they saw two angels; one covered Hyacinthus with his cloak, and the other placed a crown upon his head.

His intact body was later posted to Caesarea, but somehow ended up in the Cistercian Abbey of Fürstenfeld in Bavaria, where it remains, despite the abbey having been decommissioned in 1803. It is now a cultural center and civic hall, but Hyacinthus’ tomb is still accessible to visitors and pilgrims.

Anatolius of AlexandriaAnatolius of Alexandria (d. 283) is also called Anatolius of Laodicea, and now you know where he was born and died (in that order) (actually most people do it in that order). He ran the Aristotelian School in Alexandria, where he taught (and was boffo at) arithmetic, geometry, physics, rhetoric, dialectic, and astronomy. Jerome speaks glowingly of him, which says something or other. Fragments of ten of his books on arithmetic have come down to us, although what proportion those fragments are of the whole, the sources do not say. Would have been nice to make a pie chart.

He was never conceited or arrogant, and despite his considerable intolerance for ignorance (he considered it a sin for Christians to be ignorant), he never blamed the poor for being ignorant (or poor), but patiently taught (and fed) them. Indeed he managed to prevent a number of people from starving to death by his diplomacy. When the city was in a state of rebellion and besieged by the Roman army, he snuck (yes, I said “snuck,” get over it) off to the Romans and arranged for the greater part of the women, children, elderly, sick people, and so forth to be excused out the back door. For good or for ill, this allowed the rebels to hold out a bit longer, and when the city was finally taken, he found himself outside the good graces of either side.

Lest Alexandria sin against mathematics (etc.), he headed off for Caesarea in Palestine, where he was made assistant to the overworked bishop, who dumped many of his duties on — erm, I should say, who entrusted many of his duties to — Anatolius . Later the two were summoned to a council in Antioch, but as they passed through Laodicea they were dry-gulched by the inhabitants, who were in want of a bishop and weren’t above stooping to kidnapping to obtain one. There being no “big [darn] heroes” to rescue them (do you think Joss Whedon knows this story?), that is where Anatolius stayed to the end of his days.

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

July 3 (Wikipedia)
Martyr Hyacinthus of Caesarea, in Cappadocia (OCA) – Main source
Hyacinth of Caesarea (Wikipedia)
Fürstenfeld Abbey (Wikipedia)
Anatolius of Alexandria B (RM) (St. Patrick DC) — Main source
Anatolius of Laodicea (Wikipedia)
Saint Anatolius of Alexandria (SQPN)


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

2 comments on “July 3 Saints of the Day – Hyacinthus of Caesarea and Anatolius of Alexandria

  1. Random Firefly reference, ahoy!

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