April 9

From the Prologue

Eupsychius was of noble birth and was well instructed in pious beliefs. During the reign of Julian the Apostate and when St. Basil the Great governed the Church of God in Caesarea, Eupsychius entered into marriage with a prominent maiden. However, it was not given to him to live even one day in marriage. For at the time of his wedding, it so happened that there was a pagan feast with sacrificial offerings to the idol Fortune. Eupsychius, with his companions, entered the temple and smashed all the idols and even demolished the temple itself. Hearing of this, Julian became greatly enraged and ordered the culprits beheaded; that many Christians be inducted into the army; that an enormous tribute be imposed upon all Christians; that, at the expense of the Christians, the temple of Fortune be rebuilt again and, that the city be deprived of its honorary name `Caesarea' given it by Caesar Claudius and to be called by its former name, Maza. At first, Eupsychius was tied to a tree, brutally tortured and later was beheaded in the year 362 A.D. Shortly after that, the wicked Emperor Julian visited this city (Maza) on his way to Persia against whom he was waging war. St. Basil the Great went out to meet him and carried three loaves of barley bread as a sign of respect and hospitality. The emperor ordered that a handful of hay be given to the saint as a reciprocal gift. St. Basil said to the emperor: "You make jest of us O Emperor. We offer you bread by which we feed ourselves and you, in turn, give us food for livestock which you, by your authority cannot change into food for men." To that the emperor replied: "Know that I will feed you this hay when I return from Persia." However, the wicked apostate did not return from Persia, for he died a deserving and unnatural death.

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