THE PRIESTLY

April 26

From the Prologue

Licinius, brother-in-law of Constantine to whose sister he was married, pretended to be a Christian before the great emperor. When he received authority from the emperor, to govern the entire east, he, at first secretly, and later openly, began to persecute Christians and to strengthen idolatry. His wife grieved much about this, but was unable to dissuade her husband from this shamefulness. Giving himself over to idolatry, Licinius also succumbed to infinite passions without restraint but, most of all to infidelity toward his wife. During the assault of these unclean passions, Licinius wanted to defile the virgin Glaphyra who was in the service of the Empress. Glaphyra complained to the empress and the empress secretly sent her away from the imperial court of Nicomedia to the Province of Pontus. The virgin Glaphyra arrived at the town of Amasea and there was cordially received by Bishop Basil and other Christians. Glaphyra was elated that God had saved her virginity and, concerning this, she wrote to the empress. The empress also rejoiced and forwarded money to the church in Amasea. However, a letter of Glaphyra which was directed to the empress, fell into the hands of the emperor's eunuch who showed it to Emperor Licinius. The emperor, learning where Glaphyra was staying, immediately ordered that she and the bishop be brought back to Nicomedia. In the meantime, Glaphyra died and the soldiers brought Basil back to Nicomedia, alone and bound. Following tortures and imprisonment this blessed man was beheaded and tossed into the sea in the year 322 A.D. Through a vision of an angel of God his clergy found his body near the town of Sinope. They removed his body with the aid of a fisherman's net and translated it to Amasea where they honorably buried it in the church which he, by his efforts, had built. The Emperor Constantine raised up an army against Licinius, defeated, captured him and banished him into exile to Gaul where he ended his god-hating life.





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